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Schubert: Complete Symphonies (4cd) Box set

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  • Conductor: Jos van Immerseel
  • Composer: Schubert
  • Audio CD (26 Nov. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Zig-Zag Territoires
  • ASIN: B008XQ4MS4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,665 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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12
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Disc 4
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Product Description

Product Description

After discs devoted to Ravel and Poulenc (ZZT 060901 & ZZT 110403 - critical and popular successes, the latter measured in sales), Jos van Immerseel returns to French music, tackling Debussy and his most famous orchestral works. This he does brilliantly well, of course, relying on historic instruments with the aim of blending a singular vision of these scores with a highly rigorous approach.

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These discs, very well recorded at 'live' concerts in 1996-7, redefine the way we must think about this set of Schubert symphonies. The results of combining thorough research of original evidence with practical experience of playing the music adds up to a radical restoration of Schubert's original intentions. These performances have been able to make use of a preview of the new Schubert 'original' edition that is about to replace the earlier edition previously prepared and 'corrected' by Brahms.

There is a 21 page in depth 'essay' by Immerseel into what has gone into the preparation of these performances. This extends well beyond finding and using instruments of the period. The most important starting point has been the understanding that all performances up to this point have been using very much a Brahms interpretation of Schubert as edited by him after Schubert's death and 'correcting hundreds of 'errors' as Brahms saw fit (The Brahms-Breitkopt text). The scores consequently have been robbed of their drama and liveliness to a very damaging degree. In effect they have been 'Brahmsified' ever since until now.

Essentially Brahms drastically reduced the dynamics which he did not approve of by applying three major changes. Firstly he reduced all the very loud fff markings by a third to just ff. He also reduced all the very quiet ppp markings by a third by raising them to pp. Finally he introduced crescendo and diminuendo markings leading to and from these volume instructions to graduate their effect. The combination of these three 'corrections' has been to remove vast amounts of the sudden dramatic effects that Schubert had written into the original manuscripts.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8d0005dc) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cdd8a08) out of 5 stars Schubert REVEALED! 25 Nov. 2012
By Gregory E. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First, these are not new recordings, but a (second?) re-issue of von Immerseel's wondrous 1997 recordings made after he had performed them with Anima Eterna Brugge during '96-'97 touring Europe.

As near as I can decipher, these first appeared on Channel Classics (?), and then brought out again, through two separate editions, by Sony and then allowed to go out of print (sadly, of course).

Now, ZigZag Territories records (who gave us the fabulous Beethoven symphony cycle by Immerseel and AEB a couple of years ago) returns these great recordings to the catalogue, and it is about time!

Schubert "has been with me" since I first became interested in classical music back in the mid-'60's, through a great many interpreters and orchestras over the years. There have been a few special cycles of the complete symphonies that have special merit with me, chief amongst which is the Philips Marriner ASMF set, for what Marriner offered in the way of all the fragments, etc., that were basically (and still are) unknown. Also, Abbado's lovely cycle and that of Gunter Wand (currently oop, but probably will re-surface through Sony/BMG as Wand's other sets have of late). Bohm, also, has been a staple through the years.

However, NONE of these others offer Schubert to us as he wrote and orchestrated, for the instruments of his time. The booklet with this set offers much information regarding the "sad story" that Schubert's work was to be put through, from not having been published during his time, through the "re-interpretation" that those works were subjected to by Brahms and others as "guesstimates" as to what the composer "really" wanted! Sometimes this sort of thing just sets me back on my heals, as also in the case of Rimsky-Korsakov just arbitrarily "re-writing and re-orchestrating" Mussorgsky's works!

Immerseel and his forces here place the size and composition of the musical forces back to what was available during Schubert's day, and play in many cases on custom re-created instruments, et al, and this truly is revolutionary to Schubert's work, placing it truly back into the perspective wherein he created it. Also, although not specified clearly, the venue used to record these works in with Immerseel and forces, was carefully chosen to be correctly sized for these forces in order to re-create the sound-field of Schubert's time. When a conductor, or engineers also, take the very special time and effort to so carefully try to present and preserve information like this for us to enjoy, I am always thankful and appreciative for their efforts. This set is just one of those very special, truly "must-have" items. Cleanly and clearly focused playing, very well captured in these recordings, great documentation of a kind not often presented make this an absolute must-have collection of Schubert's Symphonic output. Immerseel and AEB have truly given us a collection and interpretation of great worth.

No matter how many Schubert sets you may have, this one surely MUST be present in one's collection as it is the only one that truly can come close to what Schubert composed and presented in his day. Other sets are magnificent (I have a great many of them...see my guide section), and are also necessary for various reasons, but this one is certainly the most special and promising of authenticity.

You're urged, if you like Schubert, to add this set to your collection now while it is available once again. It has been in and out of the catalogue and may disappear again, who knows?

~operabruin
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cc88ee8) out of 5 stars Schubert re-visited, re-evaluated and performed with zest 1 May 2013
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These discs, very well recorded at 'live' concerts in 1996-7, redefine the way we must think about this set of Schubert symphonies. The results of combining thorough research of original evidence with practical experience of playing the music adds up to a radical restoration of Schubert's original intentions. These performances have been able to make use of a preview of the new Schubert 'original' edition that is about to replace the earlier edition previously prepared and 'corrected' by Brahms.

There is a 21 page in depth 'essay' by Immerseel into what has gone into the preparation of these performances. This extends well beyond finding and using instruments of the period. The most important starting point has been the understanding that all performances up to this point have been using very much a Brahms interpretation of Schubert as edited by him after Schubert's death and 'correcting hundreds of 'errors' as Brahms saw fit (The Brahms-Breitkopt text). The scores consequently have been robbed of their drama and liveliness to a very damaging degree. In effect they have been 'Brahmsified' ever since until now.

Essentially Brahms drastically reduced the dynamics which he did not approve of by applying three major changes. Firstly he reduced all the very loud fff markings by a third to just ff. He also reduced all the very quiet ppp markings by a third by raising them to pp. Finally he introduced crescendo and diminuendo markings leading to and from these volume instructions to graduate their effect. The combination of these three 'corrections' has been to remove vast amounts of the sudden dramatic effects that Schubert had written into the original manuscripts. Schubert actually wanted dramatic and sudden changes in the from of very loud interjections balanced by sudden drops of dynamics. Immerseel has restored all of these original instructions in these performances.

In addition to these very crucial considerations there have been extensive investigations into types of instruments, sizes of orchestra, matters of tempo markings, considerations of pitch (orchestras were tuned higher in Schubert's day to an un-standardised 'A')and so on with all of these matters being related to verifiable source material and evidence.

There than followed extensive experiments into putting these findings into actual practice before 'live' performances were delivered.

That extensive practical experience led to this set by Immerseel and suddenly all seems correct. The symphonies are now truly dramatic with incisive dynamics instead of careful graduations. All the usual clarification of instrumental lines and internal balances typical of 'period' instruments also apply. Speeds are generally forward moving but not excessively. The real gain is the removal of Brahms' influence and the substitution of Schubert's original dynamics. Symphonies 1,2 and 3 are very altered in dramatic bite. Numbers 4-6 less so comparatively. Number eight is full of dramatic power and there are substantial adjustments in number nine with a properly fluid first two movements in particular. It must be remembered, and sadly it often isn't. that many of these symphonies were written by Schubert when he was still a very young man and that youthful energy infuses these performances as it surely must.

This is a very significant and exciting set and well beyond the scope of an academic enquiry. It would not be too much to state that a true understanding of what Schubert wrote starts from now when we can clearly hear how much Brahms had previously compromised Schubert with his 'corrections.' Basically Brahms simply did not understand Schubert.

This set of discs deserves to be considered for purchase by anyone who thinks they know the Schubert symphonies and who may have found the early ones lacking in character. This set will come as an ear-opener. Incidentally, there is no evidence of audience noise in any of the recordings.

...........................................

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ce9f234) out of 5 stars One of My Top Two 14 Mar. 2014
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'd refer you to the two reviews that precede mine for detailed comment regarding the attempt in these renditions to return to Schubert's original markings. This set is actually a reissue of a Schubert symphonic cycle that originally appeared on the Sony label, and it has assumed a place alongside the set conducted by Roy Goodman as my favorite complete run of Schubert symphonies. These are tart, dynamic performances that are athletic rather than drawing room interpretations, though they still possess a suave flair. Recommended.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c9b8474) out of 5 stars F. P. Schubert: A Reassessment… 8 Sept. 2014
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
~~~

F. P. Schubert: A Reassessment…

Talented critics writing for The New Yorker--Adam Gopnik and Alex Ross--both have noted that Schubert’s character remains something of an enigmatic mystery. The reasons being that there is not a great deal of historical documentation on Schubert’s relatively brief life lived in the shadows of Haydn and Beethoven--well, even in the contemporaneous shadows of Rossini and Paganini, not to mention other lesser composers and musicians who were perhaps more canny businessmen in the bourgeois marketplace.

During his lifetime Schubert had published approximately 100 individual works, thusly achieving something of a notoriety in the major European publishing cities of Leipzig, London, and of course, Vienna.

After his premature death (aetat 31) there was nothing left but the music, and there was a small rush to print further of his works while details of his biography were virtually suppressed in a tacit conspiracy of silence because he had died of a venereal disease (viz., syphilis).

In the second half of the XIXth Century admiring composers (such as Brahms) undertook to edit remaining MSs for publication, and thus began the Schubert ‘renaissance’; but this too was not without its complications vis-à-vis dates of composition and corresponding archaeology of artistic development. (Deutsch’s numerical listing--Schubert: Thematic Catalogue of all his Works in Chronological Order--was first published as recently as 1951.)

This question of man vs. artist is the subject of Sullivan’s groundbreaking study of <ASIN: 0394701003>Beethoven’s Spiritual Development--which Reed attempts to pursue regarding Schubert’s artistic development in <ASIN: 0571098428>Schubert: The Final Years--which brings us back to the position as asserted by Gopnik and Ross: namely, that Schubert remains unexplained.

It is this question we address here with a view towards reorienting an appreciation of Schubert’s art via a better understanding of his biographical data.

~~~

Besides the aforementioned 1972 study by Reed, there are currently three major critical biographies of Schubert: those of <ASIN: 0198164947>Reed, <ASIN: 0198165234>McKay, and <ASIN: 0520210654>Newbould--all published in the late-XXth Century. What follows is a synthesis.

The crucial biographical point is that Schubert contracted syphilis (aetat 25) ca. November, 1822; and while there have been suggestions that the arc of his artistic development can be divided into three periods (like Beethoven’s), a sober reassessment may most accurately see rather two periods: pre-1823 and post-1823--the reason being the syphilis: the psychoanalytical-chronological effects on Schubert and his art both before and after contraction of the deadly bacteriological infection.

Moreover, this is not merely a question of Schubert’s emotional states pre- and post-1823: no, for Reed suggests that Schubert, conscious and perfectly aware of a probable early-death, intentionally developed a strategy post-1823 for his art vis-à-vis, the expansion of rhythm, harmony, and time-scale far beyond any heretofore composer--even Beethoven.

(It may bear mentioning here that is an unquestionable fact that Schubert was one of the most fluently natural music-writers who ever lived: music did literally flow from his mind via his pen onto the page with immense celerity and with an accuracy which had little need for later revision. He undoubtedly possessed perfect pitch and a photographic memory.)

(Also, was Schubert homosexual? Probably not--despite Solomon’s far-fetched assertions which don’t stand up to critical analysis; no, Schubert’s sexual aberrations probably involved the immature man’s penchant for under-aged or pubescent females.)

With these considerations, there follows two points to note: (1) the compositions with pre-1823 Deutsch listing numbers (e.g., 100 thru 799) deserve enthusiastic consideration for their brilliance of ebullience and tenderness of healthy sentiment; and (2) the post-1823 compositions (D. 800 thru 950) may largely be viewed as avant-garde experimental art which Schubert produced for posterity.

This bifurcation puts a different perspective on Schubert’s art, which is largely represented now by the post-1823 works, while the pre-1823 works are erroneously viewed as ‘juvenilia’ and not given the appreciation which is their due as fine art.

From this point we would simply like to list some masterpieces of the pre-1823 period: enjoy!

~~~

<ASIN: 1901341003>Lieder:

1) <ASIN: B000002ZF6>Andenken, D. 99
2) <ASIN: B000002S1Y>Nähe des Geliebten, D. 162
3) <ASIN: B000002ZF1>An den Mond, D. 193
4) <ASIN: B000002ZEV>Meers Stille, D. 216
5) <ASIN: B000AYQCIK>Erster Verlust, D. 226
6) <ASIN: B000002ZF4>Harfenspieler, D. 325
7) <ASIN: B000001GYH>Wiegenlied, D. 498
8) <ASIN: B000002ZEW>Fahrt zum Hades, D. 526
9) <ASIN: B000028AWF>Der Schiffer, D. 536
10) <ASIN: B00803EXHK>Trost im Liebe, D. 546
11) <ASIN: B00000E560>An die Musik, D. 547
12) <ASIN: B00000E4S6>Die Forelle, D. 550
13) <ASIN: B001BLP64W>Auf der Donau, D. 553
14) <ASIN: B000SNUKCW>Abschied von einem Freunde, D. 578
15) <ASIN: B000002ZFF>Erlafsee, D. 586
16) <ASIN: B0000059EH>Der Fluß, D. 693
17) <ASIN: B000002ZFD>Suleika I, D. 720
18) <ASIN: B001UL40AY>Selige Welt, D. 743
19) <ASIN: B000002ZFM>Der Musensohn, D. 764
20) <ASIN: B000002ZEZ>Wehmut, D. 772
21) <ASIN: B000002ZF5>Auf dem Waßer zu singen, D. 774
22) <ASIN: B000002ZFK>Der Einsame, D. 800
23) <ASIN: B000002ZF0>Abendstern, D. 806
24) <ASIN: B002MUQAH8>Auflösung, D. 807
25) <ASIN: B00000JGX9>Gebet, D. 815

Piano:

26) <ASIN: B006CAXOC8>Sonata in a, D. 537
27) <ASIN: B000BVEKKE>Sonata in Ab, D. 557
28) <ASIN: B00J587KHO>Sonata in e, D. 566
29) <ASIN: B0001N9ZDE>Sonata in Db, D. 567
30) <ASIN: B005BLYSQK>Sonata in f#, D. 571
31) <ASIN: B00004SA8A>Sonata in B, D. 575
32) <ASIN: B00JGE6EM4>Rondo in D, D. 608
33) <ASIN: B000002BZF>Sonata Bb, D. 617
34) <ASIN: B002OC9ZZI>Variations in e, D. 624
35) <ASIN: B00000DHTQ>Marches Militaires, D. 733
36) <ASIN: B0085AXUOK>12 Deutsche, D. 790

Symphonies:

37) <ASIN: B008XQ4MS4>Symphony in c, D. 417
38) <ASIN: B0002XV2YS>Symphony in Bb, D. 485
39) <ASIN: B003W16T9K>Symphony in C, D. 589
40) <ASIN: B00DY9X29A>Symphony in b, D. 759

Stage Works:

41) <ASIN: B00000596L>Lazarus, D. 689
42) <ASIN: B0000035QE>Alfonso und Estrella, D. 732
43) <ASIN: B00005KBJM>Fierabras, D. 796
44) <ASIN: B000001GEP>Rosamunde, D. 797

~~~
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