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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Schubert symphonies, 9 Dec 2013
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B. Fields (Leics, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Schubert: Complete Symphonies (MP3 Download)
Robust performance with plenty of drive. Good sound revealing the layers of instrumentation. So cheap for complete set and hours of listening. Schubert is a master of melody.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much to discover., 29 Nov 2013
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Schubert's unfinished and the Great are well known and performed often. However, his other symphonies deserve a good listen. I particularly like his 5th. Getting this collection enabled me to reconnect with his earlier works. The performance is excellent: Herbert Blomstedt is always an interesting conductor and the "Dresdeners" without compare. I can think of nothing to say against this set.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good as It gets, 11 Mar 2014
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There are plenty of ways to D.I.T. - Do-It-Tough - in the world. One could be a die-hard fan of Adam Sandler; or inadvertently marry Liza Minelli during a bender in Vegas; or earn a crust as George W Bush's ghost-writer or - worst of all - man the drive-thru of the McDonalds in downtown Islamabad. Would you like an RPG with that Big Mac?

Similarly, I have always regarded Schubert's Symphonies - with the exceptions of the first two movements of the Fifth, the Unfinished and the Ninth - as a genuine D.I.T. zone; I would say the same of the early string quartets. How anyone can endure them, let alone revel in their vacuity, is beyond me. In contrast, I can think of 80 symphonies by Haydn that are preferable. It is a non-contest, for instance, between Symphony No. 52 in C Minor - a Sturm und Drang thunderstorm - and the justifiably named Tragic . . . . Even Colonel Cornpone and Porkchops avoid D 417 like the pox.

That being said, this is a sensational cycle which does much to minimise the "energy as invention" in the earlier symphonies and slugs it out with the heavy weights in the masterpieces. It was recorded under the German Democratic Republic. The Staatskapelle Dresden is in stellar form: one could listen to it all day. The strings are lustrous; the woodwind are sylvan and there's plenty of grunt from the guys down the back. Its headcount is not overly pruned for the earlier symphonies. Be the challenge great or small, it consistently "bets the house". For instance, the performances of the Unfinished and the Ninth do not eclipse Kna - who does - but they're still first class in their own right. The darkness and desolation of D 759 in particular are pitilessly fathomed. The finale of the Ninth is eaten alive with gusto. Throughout, Blomstedt phrases flexibly, imaginatively and affectionately. The recording is excellent.

Even if you are bored (like yours truly) by much of this music, this is gun stuff. It easily displaces Karajan's Panzer-amic traversal of these symphonies or the pipsqueak alternatives from Marriner and Abbado. Carpe diem!
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Schubert: Complete Symphonies
Schubert: Complete Symphonies by Staatskapelle Dresden & Herbert Blomstedt
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