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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best cycle.,
This cycle of Schubert symphonies and three overtures remains the finest in the catalogue. There may well be better performances of individual works - Beecham's fifth and Furtwangler's ninth for example - but, overall, Kertesz's direction has never been surpassed and rarely equalled. He treats the early symphonies with both affection and respect. His phrasing is perfectly judged and his tempi are well chosen. His readings have a strong rhythmic momentum; the music never drags and, as a result, never outstays its welcome.
The Unfinished and Great C Major both receive fine performances which, because of their lack of annoying mannerisms, continue to give great satisfaction after more than forty years. The three overtures, not so well known as the symphonies, are thoroughly enjoyable - especially when as well played and conducted as thye are here.
The Vienna Philharmonic, both in ensemble and solo, are at their very finest and Decca's recording in the warm Sofiensaal acoustic is at its late analogue best.
The notes by Geoffrey Crankshaw are both interesting and informative. The remastering is first class and the packaging both sturdy and compact.
Istvan Kertesz is, these days, a very underestimated conductor and this set is a fine memorial to his art. Highly recommended.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Schubert set.,
I already have a few versions of the set of Schubert symphonies including cycles conducted by Abbado, Harnoncourt and Davis which provide consistently good readings of the symphonies. This set, conducted by Istvan Kertezs, is really excellent and deservedly takes its place among the very best. The recording quality is good whereas the performances are outstanding. The tempos are just right. In fact, I enjoyed this set tremendously. Abbado's cycle is still my first choice though. But I wholeheartedly recommend this set as a good alternative.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant set,
This is a really brilliant set of the symphonies by Kertesz and the Vienna Philharmonic. The Great C major is superb and so are the early and often underrated symphonies. Great value.
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic set with performances that sound freshly inspired,
All of these performances are distinguised and Kertesz's pacing and imaginative attention bring out the special orchestral colourings in these works, particularly in terms of woodwind details that I have not always noted so obviously. These are finely scaled, dramatic readings, especially fresh in the earlier symphonies. particular highlights for me: I find the vividness of interpretation and lightness of direction in symphonies 1,2 and 3 together with the dramatically direct 4th especially memorable. The 8th is a vey good performance and the 9th is one to include with the best.
The sound throughout is ideally suited with clean definition and fine balance. The Abbado set has absolutely glorious sounds and as enlightening interpretations, with significant textual scholarship amendments to take into account, cannot be dismissed and neither can Colin Davis in Dresden or Bohm in Berlin as all bring valuable insights into these scores but one tends to feel that this Decca set has been pushed into the shadows, yet it provides readings that are both beautiful and full of character and makes another rewarding cycle of these symphonies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recordings and superb value for money,
These recordings of Schubert's symphonies are absolutely superb. In addition to the symphonies, there are also some overtures thrown in for good measure (of equally high quality), and in all there are hours of excellent music here for a very modest sum!
4.0 out of 5 stars New discovery in my old age!,
Following Face Book and seeing an input on classical music I listened to a Schubert recital and was hooked. Amazon soon delivered my selection and my life has been enriched. Thank you.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good buy,
A great set of CDs. I can't tell that they were not digitally recorded.
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