10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Great C Major to Die for!,
This review is from: Schubert: Symphony No.9 / Wagner: Siegfried Idyll (Audio CD)
This is one of my top favourites and surely the finest modern recording of this symphony. It prefigures Bruckner in many ways, evoking the mountains and woods of Austria in sunny mood most of the time. But there is often an underlying sadness, even anguish in the slow movement.The transitions are not always easy to bring off and the work eluded, by their own admission, conductors such as Toscanini and Karajan. One wouldn't want to be without Furtwängler's historic version but the present recording benefits from Decca's finest sound in the ideal acoustic of the Sofiensaal, Vienna, and the Vienna Philharmonic play with their ripest, richest and also most delicate tone.
Sir Georg's performance has all the excitement one would expect of him but it is also a deeply warm and committed performance. He manages the many transitions of tempo better than most rivals and brings out many details due to his careful balancing of the orchestra: there is a particularly magical moment in the slow movement when a violin pizzicato accompaniment runs across the orchestra, for all the world like drops of rain against a rainbow background.
There is a considerable bonus in the form of Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll", a heartfelt performance all the more cherishable because it is given in the original version for small orchestra, as played to Cosima on her birthday.
Very highly recommended: snap it up in case it should go out of the catalogue!