Schubert Symphonies

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Schubert Symphonies

  • Symphony No. 3
  • Symphony No. 8, 'Unfinished'

On the evidence of this record Carlos Kleiber is nothing like so good a conductor of Schubert as he is of Beethoven. The Unfinished goes well enough, if you do not mind both movements being taken pretty swiftly; it certainly allows him to emphasize the dramatic aspect of parts of the first movement. But the lyrical side of the music suffers, especially the slow movement, and one gets the impression of a temperament too restless to be ideal in Schubert. Sir Georg Solti, also with the VPO and coupled with Schubert's Fifth on the Decca disc, is greatly to be preferred.
But the really surprising things from Kleiber happen in the Third Symphony. In his 1979 review RO puts them concisely; and as I entirely agree I shall merely quote him. ''Most controversial of all is Kleiber's extraordinary rapid reading of the Third Symphony's Allegretto and his up-grading of the Menuetto vivace into a rip-roaring Scherzo''. Quite—which is why I cannot regard him as a natural Schubertian.'

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