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Philippe Herreweghe - Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C, "The Great"

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Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C, "The Great"

Franz Schubert

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One of the great benefits of performing Classical and Romantic works in period style is the transformation that lean textures, agile rhythms, and fleet tempos can bring to an overly familiar work. Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major, "The Great," is a much-loved classic that almost everybody knows in modern guise, with full orchestral sections, rich colors, and stately pacing. So the idea that a worthwhile performance could be transparent and quite brisk, with reduced forces and a more focused ensemble sound, may seem a bit far-fetched. But Philippe Herreweghe and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic have performed the symphony this way for PentaTone Classics, and the hybrid multichannel SACD is an ear-opener. The tempos may be a bit faster than is comfortable (for instance, Herreweghe takes the first movement at Allegro molto vivace, rather than Allegro ma non troppo), and the orchestra seems pared down, with something of the quality of a chamber orchestra, with the woodwinds predominating. But because of the differences of pacing and clearer instrumental timbres, this is a tremendously exciting rendition, and there's no denying the almost palpable energy of the orchestra. One may quibble with historically informed performance practices, but the results are what matter most, and Herreweghe gets the most out of the music through his methods. No one can complain about Schubert's drawn out repetitions or expanded time scale, because these go by quickly at the fast clip, and the full force of Schubert's expressions are felt in the orchestra's immediacy and clarity. This might not be the version of "The Great" that hide-bound traditionalists would accept, but it is one of the most thrilling recordings of this masterpiece available and not to be missed.
© TiVo

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Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C, "The Great"

Philippe Herreweghe

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Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great" (Franz Schubert)

1
Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great": I. Andante - Allegro ma non troppo
00:14:36

Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor - Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor

2011 PentaTone

2
Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great": II. Andante con moto
00:13:13

Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor - Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor

2011 PentaTone

3
Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great": III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
00:14:14

Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor - Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor

2011 PentaTone

4
Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great": IV. Allegro vivace
00:15:53

Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor - Philippe Herreweghe, Conductor

2011 PentaTone

Album Description

One of the great benefits of performing Classical and Romantic works in period style is the transformation that lean textures, agile rhythms, and fleet tempos can bring to an overly familiar work. Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major, "The Great," is a much-loved classic that almost everybody knows in modern guise, with full orchestral sections, rich colors, and stately pacing. So the idea that a worthwhile performance could be transparent and quite brisk, with reduced forces and a more focused ensemble sound, may seem a bit far-fetched. But Philippe Herreweghe and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic have performed the symphony this way for PentaTone Classics, and the hybrid multichannel SACD is an ear-opener. The tempos may be a bit faster than is comfortable (for instance, Herreweghe takes the first movement at Allegro molto vivace, rather than Allegro ma non troppo), and the orchestra seems pared down, with something of the quality of a chamber orchestra, with the woodwinds predominating. But because of the differences of pacing and clearer instrumental timbres, this is a tremendously exciting rendition, and there's no denying the almost palpable energy of the orchestra. One may quibble with historically informed performance practices, but the results are what matter most, and Herreweghe gets the most out of the music through his methods. No one can complain about Schubert's drawn out repetitions or expanded time scale, because these go by quickly at the fast clip, and the full force of Schubert's expressions are felt in the orchestra's immediacy and clarity. This might not be the version of "The Great" that hide-bound traditionalists would accept, but it is one of the most thrilling recordings of this masterpiece available and not to be missed.
© TiVo

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