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I don't know how far you wish to go, Mark, but the J. Nott with the Bamberger S.O. is a stunning performance, in a superb and very detailed recording (SACD), on Tudor. His cycle is the best recorded and his performances are very reliable and exciting. Don't be discouraged by the orchestra and his underrated or less known name. His discography has some extraordinary CDs (Mahler, Bruckner, Stravinsky) and no flops.
Partsong, check this from Amazon/US: http://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Symphony-No-Haydn-88/dp/B000001GQR/ref=sr... (There are several other options at Amz/Maketplace including shops from Europe)
This is the historic recording of the great to have. Buy, buy, buy!
Thanks for that 78rpm. I've just ordered it at a tender price of £7.50 from Amazon UK!
Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...
The Kleiber/VPO and Harnoncourt/Concertgebouw have duly arrived. Furtwangler's 9th alas has not yet arrived.
The comparison of different versions of the Unfinished is throwing up some very interesting differences in terms of timings of the 1st movement, which in itself is of course an indication about different tempi taken by conductors:
Cantelli/Philharmonia 10.51Karajan/BPO 11.28Kleiber/VPO 13.56Harnoncourt/Concertgebouw 14.56
Now that's a heck of a difference - 4 minutes between the Cantelli and Harnoncourt in the first movement of a symphony!
The Kleiber/VPO is a very fine performance - great refinement in the VPO's playing (1979 DG). A touch fast in one or two places - though its overall timing would suggest not - eg towards the end of the exposition 1st movement. I have yet to listen to the Harnoncourt.
What I'm really looking for is a performance that brings out that brooding intensity in this piece without being too fast or overblown in terms of loud/soft contrasts. I know I'm being pernickety - the Karajan is very strong but I just feel that his contrasts are a bit OTT. The Drama is in the music if you know what I mean.
On the Gramophone website here there are critics' choices to a number of composers now including as I'm sure you all know Beethoven and Bruckner. It'll be interesting to see when the Schubert one comes out which is the choice on the Unfinished.
So my search for the best Unfinished goes on! And then there are other Schubert symphonies to explore (the Kleiber is coupled with the third instead of the more usual fifth, which is the case with Bohm and Harnoncourt).
Mark, there is an exposition repeat in the Schubert 8th. Whether that is taken or not accounts I think for the big differences in timing that you noted!
I still find Böhm as fine as anyone in this lovely music - just the right balance between power and beauty!
Hi Chris! Thanks for that. Yeh it could be. I'll have to listen again!
Evening gents! I haven't listened to the unfinished for a while and the only recording I own is Sinopoli and the Philharmonia. I will listen to it again soon and try some other versions.
I went and heard the ninth in C Major tonight at a concert played by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and it reminded me of what I once read about Schubert's "heavenly length" (although I think that referred to a piano sonata). Not one superfluous note despite it lasting a good hour. It was spellbinding throughout. If he had lived a full life he would surely have returned to the unfinished and made it into something equally "great" and then gone on to write goodness knows how many symphonies, giving us so many more works of genius. I've ordered the re-construction of his tenth played by Mackerras and it will interesting to see what to make of it. Of all the great composers who died young I believe we were robbed of the most in Schubert.
Anyway Mark, when you find your favourite unfinished let us know!
Mark, I'm not sure if there are some repeats noted in some "lengthy" performances, but, there are quite a few recordings where the first movement goes up to the 15 minute mark (Abbado, Nott) apart from the one you mentioned, while in some others the slow movement reaches almost the mark of 14 minutes.
For me, the issue is how convincing the performance can be regardless of the pace. Both Abbado and Nott are absolutely convincing and thrilling in their accounts and in brilliant recordings.
By the way, Mark, the Karajan I meant is the second one on EMI (there is also an older one with Philharmonia on EMI of 1955) and not the old one on DG. You may try this one as well. It's less stormy than the first one, more polished and well recorded. It might fit in your perception of the work.
Encouraged by your latest posts, I spent some time testerday evening with the Schubert 8th. (or is it 7th?).
I listened to Klemperer right through, a dark, powerful performance, and then the first movement with Krips/VPO, slow and lyrical, and finally Böhm, who seems to me to get the balance just right! Of those three, Böhm omits the exposition repeat, the others take it.
Timings are interesting. Including those I have and consolidating with those you gave:
Knappertsbusch/ Bavarian 11'00"
Klemperer/Philharmonia 13'38" (so 10'23" without repeat)
Krips/Vienna PO 15'03"
Kubelik/Vienna PO 15'00"
As a guide, from Klemperer the unrepeated exposition lasts 3'15"
The outcome, which may surprise some, is that the two conductors renowned as 'slow-coaches' Klemperer and Knappertsbusch, turn in the fastest performances! If you are after brooding intensity perhaps you should try Klemperer.
Of course, timings are not everything, but an interesting little exercise!
Chris thankyou so much for doing that. You've saved me a little job today, though I don't have as many recordings of the unfinished as you do!
The Klemperer sounds like it might be right up my alley...
I suppose really it's a question of whether the tempi chosen by a conductor feel right. The Sinopoli one (and I can't find the record I must have lent it to someone at some point) struck me as too slow - it emphasised the lyricism rather than the tension.
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