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From the Bach Guild
on June 4, 2013
The Big Schubert Box marks our 15th Big Box.
This Schubert collection shows the love of Vienna that runs through the Bach Guild as a label, and as a business. The Bach Guild made its first recordings in Vienna, where musicians could be had for food (quite literally), and Americans were there with some money to capture a musical scene that was propelled by the access to new scholarship that was limited by world wars.
This box actually comes as something of a surprise - the strong amount of Schubert in the Bach Guild catalog snuck up on us. 14 hours of Schubert, and we didn't know we had it. And we've not included works recorded twice (Trout Quintet, Wanderer Fantasy) or short encores.
You'll find a tremendous focus on the orchestral works and the solo piano works in this collection. There's just a spare amount of chamber music - perhaps reflecting the marketplace more than the A&R direction of the label. And just a nice tasty recital of Schubert songs. Just enough to make us wish for more, but, `tis not to be.
So here are the highlights and some additional information that we can provide you:
1. This collection includes two rarely recorded symphonic works, and they provide debate, as well as offer you some new and hard to find recorded experiences. Symphony No. 7 was essentially completed by Schubert in sketch form, but he only orchestrated a portion of it. Three versions exist of a fully orchestrated version, the version in this box is the Felix Weingartner version. Our detective work shows there is perhaps only one other recording of this version currently available, and this release marks the first time this recording has been available in fifty years.
2. The other mysterious Schubert symphony included in this collection is the orchestration of the Grand Duo sonata by Joseph Joachim. The original release on LP of this performance referred to this work as the "Gastein" symphony, but more recent scholarship has shown the ephemeral "Gastein" to be simply Schubert's 9th symphony and not some other "Planet X" type work floating just out of view. Again - we could only find one other recording of this work, and again, this title has been out of print since the early 1960s.
3. As for the other goodies that see the light of day after decades of dormancy, we are offering some digital debuts: Bruce Hungerford performing Schubert's Sonata No. 20, and Lili Kraus's performances of the Piano Sonata D.960 and the "Wanderer" Fantasy, Sir Charles Mackerras' fine performances of Symphonies No. 5 & 6, the complete incidental music from Rosamunde with Netania Devrath, an hour long live Schubert recital from Elly Ameling and finally, Peter Serkin and Alexander Schneider's complete recordings of the Sonatinas and Rondo Brillante. None of these recordings has been available for digital download and most of them have been out of print on any format for over a decade.
4. In the "not seen in half a century" category, there are performances of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with Vienna State Opera Orchestra, as well as a lovely performance of the "Trout" Quintet with Denis Matthews and the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet.
5. We're also pleased to mention that this box contains absolutely no duplicated material from any other Big Box that we've released - 14 hours of original material.
6. And a discovery we're sad that we can't release here but we will at some point - in the research for this recording, we discovered 20 minutes of Bruce Hungerford performing light piano works of Schubert, a healthy dose of dances, eccossaises and landler. However, the performer either had a "gimmick" where he performed all 12 works without stopping, or someone edited these works so they could make it on the end of some album at some point. We're going to have to break all of these works apart, and that will take time. But we hope to have a Bruce Hungerford set to announce at some point - and now we know it will contain an LP side of Schubert, never before released.
We've tried to address the issue some of you have had with tracks being shortened and then appearing in the first two seconds of the following track. We believe we have solved that problem, and the tracks in this collection should be in complete compliance.
As always, we appreciate your comments. Look for a new line launch soon - because not everything fits in a Big Box, sometimes you just have to put something in your Pocket...