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Schubert: Symphony No. 8 Unfinished / No. 9 The Great (Essential Classics)

Franz Schubert , George Szell , Cleveland Orchestra Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 6 Songs, 1992 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1992 --  
Audio Cassette, 1992 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 8 in B minor, "Unfinished": I. Allegro moderato11:17Album Only
listen  2. II. Andante11:44Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D 944, "The Great": I. Andante - Allegro ma non troppo13:29Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D 944, "The Great": II. Andante con moto13:36Album Only
listen  5. Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D 944, "The Great": III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace - Trio 9:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. IV. Finale. Allegro vivace10:32Album Only

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: George Szell
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (November 17, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B0000027XR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,288 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Schubert's two greatest orchestral works on one CD at budget price--if the performances were indifferent this would be no bargain at all, but they are superb. In fact, these versions may have been equaled, but they have never been surpassed. George Szell understood intuitively how to balance Romantic passion with intellectual discipline. In difficult pieces like the Schubert Ninth, he rose to the challenge like an Olympic athlete after a new world record. The recordings he made in his prime with his own Cleveland Orchestra comprise one of the most satisfying legacies in the history of classical music on disc. Within even this impressive legacy, these performances stand high. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Either Symphony...Look NO Further January 15, 2000
By "kek5"
Format:Audio CD
I guess I'll have to disagree with everyone on one point or another. I simply love Szell's versions of both symphonies and despite owning other efforts, this is the disc I always come back to. Szell's 4th movement of the 9th is just beyond belief. If you aren't up dancing in less than a minute check your pulse...chances are you're dead and just don't know it. And quite frankly, as much as I enjoy Furtwangler's work in Beethoven, I do NOT recommend his version of the 9th...more emphasis on length than heaven, and it does not make me dance. At less than a ten-spot, this Szell disc cannot be beat.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best October 1, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
There's not much I can say that other reviewers haven't covered in spades, but I do want to call attention to David Hurwitz's line about balancing passion with discipline. This is particularly true in the "Unfinished" symphony, which always runs the risk of being bogged down with sap by well-meaning but overly Romantic conductors. Szell's "Unfinished" is appropriately spooky and atmospheric, tender and lyrical, and furious by turns, but its hallmark is that it keeps moving, never allowing the momentum to flag. It's similar to Carlos Kleiber's famous recording, but I think Szell's is even better: Kleiber brings an intensity that almost overwhelms the work's atmosphere, whereas Szell balances his momentum with a keen ear for the mood of each movement, resulting in a performance that perfectly captures the completely unique sound of this symphony. The same is true in the "Great" symphony, wherein Szell and the Clevelanders somehow combine incisive rhythmic attacks and metronome-perfect precision with the singing quality unique to Schubert's music. Listen in particular to the sharply accented opening of the Scherzo (with the strings digging away at their instruments!), and then contrast it with the lilting, bucolic Trio, in which Szell calls attention to the beautiful scenery without bogging down the whole works in Romantic admiration. A truly thoughtful, well-considered performance that isn't afraid to be intellectual *or* powerful, and does indeed miraculously combine the two. A seemingly impossible feat? Yes, but this is Szell and Cleveland - impossible was the order of the day. The hell-for-leather last few measures of the "Great", with that last note that blasts out of the speakers, cement the greatness of the rest of this disc. This disc would be a bargain at ten times the price, but for the price it's offered at, you should feel no hesitation at clicking that "Buy" button right now. As far as I know, this CD's out of print, so don't wait until it's gone.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Great C Major" rates an A ; "Unfinished", a B . January 31, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Though there are a number of very fine recorded performances of the Schubert Ninth, it's this one by George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra I return to most frequently. I gather that others either love or hate Szell in this, his first stereo version, originally recorded for Columbia on the Epic label. Many also feel the 1952 DGG Furtwangler is the greatest "C Major" ever put on disc. I do not. Despite the reverence many have for Furtwangler I do not particularly care for what I hear as a tendency at times to draw out slower passages. By comparison, I prefer Szell's relative tautness of line and somewhat more mobile pace during slower segments. I also find his choices of inflections and his manner of displaying radiance and grandeur more appealing in contrast to Furtwangler's approach. After listening frequently to Szell's interpretation for many years, I have come full circle, from fondness to disfavor to admiration. In sum, I am able to "smell the flowers", enjoy the driving energy, as well as revel in the superb articulation of the Cleveland Orchestra all at once. One of Szell's finest accounts ever and surely one of the greatest "Greats". For somewhat of a different though very satisfying interpretation, try the Bernstein/New York Philharmonic reading. Different in yet another way is the powerful, richly textured version with Hermann Abendroth and the Leipzig Radio Orchestra in monophonic sound only.

As for the "Unfinished", it is a fine performance on technical grounds. Emotionally, I perceive it as just a bit unyielding. More importantly, it just doesn't move me. There's one version of this symphony that has long stood as my absolute favorite---Bruno Walter's with the New York Philharmonic. It's literally poetry in motion, and it's very special. Though not the equal of Walter, Leonard Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic provide an extremely well characterized alternative.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling Schubert January 6, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I recently purchased the CD reissue of this recording for Szell's reading of the Unfinished. I remember being impressed with it in its original coupling with the Mendelssohn Italian Symphony on vinyl disc. Szell's recordings of both the Eighth and the Ninth Symphonies are superb. I played two other vinyl disc recordings of the Unfinished before playing Szell to select a recording for inclusion on a tape of Schubert's music. I listened to Karajan, then Giulini. I found the Giulini superior to the Karajan, but the Szell vastly superior to both. Listen to the Unfinished on bookshelf speakers. Szell gives everything in interpreting this music, restraint in the piano passages, thunder in the fortissimos, perfect pacing and warmth throughout. I have been a rabid collector of classical recordings since the early 70's, and I regard this recording along with Solti's complete Carmen opera and Ormandy's Pathetique on Sony as representing the very pinnacle of the recorded romantic repertoire.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars music
I love the music in this. it is very soothing to listen to. if i have a over stressful day i put this in and listen to it. if you like classical music you will enjoy this.
Published 17 months ago by mamaw4
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic of its kind - with a big but
The silly game with numbering Schubert's symphonies has recently reached its peak with the reversal of No. 7 & 8. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jurgen Lawrenz
4.0 out of 5 stars The Old Wine Is Better
Two of the world's great symphonies (or, rather, one-and-a-half) are so incredibly appealing that I don't think it's possible to produce a bad recording of them. Read more
Published 21 months ago by J. S. Lang
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Pairing, but Consider Nuance
I have briefly reviewed elsewhere the recording of these symphonies by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, renditions that are my number one choice for modern large scale... Read more
Published on October 8, 2012 by J. R. Trtek
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate Schubert 9th
One of the early stero era recordings by george Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra was of Franz Schubert's famous 8th and 9th symphonies. Read more
Published on June 16, 2012 by Alexandre Dufresne
5.0 out of 5 stars Crisp, virtuosic and thrilling
I've lost count of the number of Sony "Essential Classics" bargain discs I have but I know they are nearly all really special performances and this one is no exception. Read more
Published on August 24, 2011 by Ralph Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Best and most terrifying "Unfinished" ever
The "Unfinished" is not only one of the masterpieces of George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, but it is the best performance of it ever recorded, period. Read more
Published on May 31, 2011 by Firebrand
4.0 out of 5 stars The 9th(C Major) is at the top of the stack.
Szell and the Clevelanders have captured the essence and spirit of this sprawling masterpiece and perform it with degree of perfection that is dazzling. The sound is OK. Read more
Published on February 3, 2010 by Bobby Corno
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong case for Szell's excellence
I agree with a previous reviewer who says that he started out admiring Szell, went through a priod of being disappointed by him, and then returned to a newfound admiration. Read more
Published on January 20, 2009 by Santa Fe Listener
5.0 out of 5 stars La mas grande
George Szell al igual que Eugene Ormandy son dos grandes directores desplazados por la fama de Bernstein, Karajan y otros, pero que sin duda son de lo mejor. Read more
Published on November 25, 2004 by felipe
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