The disc, well recorded in 1987, is a very good performance of both the symphony and the overture. The symphony makes use of corrections made by studying the manuscript scores specially for this set of recordings. Only the first three symphonies had previously been checked in this way. In reality the differences are relatively small and concern various accenting marks and a few inserted bars. The most interesting potentially is the time signature for the slow movement which Schubert had marked as 2/2 time rather than the printed 4/4 time. This implies a faster pace with two bats per bar rather than four. However, these days, this movement is generally kept on the move at a proper andante pace so perhaps more of a reminder for conductors to keep moving!
This performance certainly does keep moving without being excessive. The string playing of the orchestra is a delight with much delicate filigree work in the last movement particularly. The chamber orchestra proportions allows the trumpet and trombone contributions to cut through satisfyingly rather than being heavy and domineering. The outer movements have plenty of 'bounce' and the scherzo is incisive. The slow movement flows well in duple time as mentioned above.
The whole performance is very rewarding as is the overture. The overture started life for another work, but was later recycled with a new name as we know it today. In this performance it shares the same performing characteristics of the symphony.
I would suggest that this very fine disc is deserving of serious consideration from all potential purchasers therefore.
on 12 September 2003
This is a 'must have' for every music lover. It is Abbado's gift to have you enthralled in every aspect of the music, even in bits you think you may not like very much.
Although not as fast as Giulini's '70s recording, it is a definite winner against today's editions.
Consider buying the cycle, which works out cheaper if you are buying more than five of the Schubert CDs, and if you are a Schubert fan, then this, along with Abbado's Schubert five, is a must have!