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Schubert: Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 Import

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Audio CD, Import, July 10, 2012
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1. I. Adagio Maestoso - Allegro Con Brio
2. II. Allegretto
3. III. Menuetto. Vivace - Trio
4. IV. Presto Vivace
5. I. Adagio Molto - Allegro Vivace
6. II. Andante
7. III. Menuetto. Allegro Vivace
8. IV. Allegro

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: RCA Victor Europe
  • ASIN: B0083OTQMI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #626,384 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Decades have passed since the only source for early Schubert symphonies was the redoubtable - or was he incorrigible? - sir Thomas Beecham. By today's standards, Beecham's style was historically ill-informed, but as a musician he imparted a sense of buoyancy and affection to his Schubert. Zinman is closer to authentic style, as it is generally accepted by musicologists, but he's musically neutral. If you want Schubert to be "correct" but without charm or joy, this is a perfect pairing of the Third and fourth. The forces drawn from the Zurich Tonhalle feature a fairly scrawny string body (never mind that Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven were overjoyed when they got large forces to perform their symphonies), but as one reviewer notes, zinman isn't a "vibrato fascist," so these sound like fairly traditional readings, only somewhat undernourished.

As an interpreter, Zinman has always taken the escape route of priding himself on giving no interpretation. That rationale satisfies his fans; it leaves me cold. He puts one foot ahead of the other in these two symphonies, causing no ripples because nothing is happening. The only virtues in these readings are negative: they aren't stodgy, plodding, or weighty. But it's been a long time since that was enough, if it ever was. For musical interest, I'd recommend the complete cycle from Harnoncourt, which is full of inflection and drama. For joy and ebullience, Beecham still holds his ground as the quintessential Schubertian of the old school. If period practice is wanted but without too much bloodless dogma, there's Jonathan Nott and his Bamberg forces, who are livelier than Zinman and his inexpressive Zurich musicians.
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Schubert: Symphonies Nos 3 & 4
This item: Schubert: Symphonies Nos 3 & 4
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