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Herbert Blomstedt|Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 "Unfinished" & 9 "The Great"

Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 "Unfinished" & 9 "The Great"

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Herbert Blomstedt

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At ninety-five years old, Herbert Blomstedt still seems to be in his prime. Just last year, in November 2021, he recorded Schubert’s last two symphonies at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. For his “debut” under the Deutsche Grammophon label, the Swedish conductor had originally chosen to rehearse and record both works in public, but the coronavirus epidemic had other ideas. The rehearsals and subsequent recording eventually took place behind closed doors.

Blomstedt knows this prestigious German orchestra well, having conducted it from 1998 to 2005. In fact, he remains its conductor emeritus. This new recording serves as a life lesson as well as a music lesson, putting a whole new spin on Schubert’s melancholy. A luminous message of hope takes hold from the very first measures of “Unfinished” Symphony, which features a supple and lively tempo and is completely free of the morosity that most composers tend to imbue into this work.

A sense of eternal youth dominates the entire performance of the great Symphony in C major, whose repetitions and lengthy developments are overlooked thanks to the weightless, lively tempos. Every section of the ensemble brings incredible life to the piece, especially the solo oboe in the wonderful Andante con Moto (which seems to take the form of a simple ländler under the artistic eye of this talented conductor). A bouncy Scherzo leads into an explosive Allegro vivace that oozes pure joy. The Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra are truly at their best here, capturing every nuance and reaching every sudden crescendo Schubert intended. The harmonies are dazzling, the brass section is nothing if not divine and the string section possesses the uncanny ability to alternate between soft, silky sounds and unbridled power. Schubert would be proud of this work. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 8 "Unfinished" & 9 "The Great"

Herbert Blomstedt

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Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 "Unfinished" (Franz Schubert)

1
I. Allegro moderato
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
00:14:48

Franz Schubert, Composer - René Möller, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gewandhausorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Eike Boehm, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Toni Schlesinger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bernhard Guettler, Producer, Mixer, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

2
II. Andante con moto
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
00:11:06

Franz Schubert, Composer - René Möller, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gewandhausorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Eike Boehm, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Toni Schlesinger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bernhard Guettler, Producer, Mixer, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

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

3
I. Andante - Allegro ma non troppo
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
00:15:20

Franz Schubert, Composer - René Möller, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gewandhausorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Eike Boehm, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Toni Schlesinger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bernhard Guettler, Producer, Mixer, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

4
II. Andante con moto
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
00:14:37

Franz Schubert, Composer - René Möller, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gewandhausorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Eike Boehm, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Toni Schlesinger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bernhard Guettler, Producer, Mixer, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

5
III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
00:15:10

Franz Schubert, Composer - René Möller, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gewandhausorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Eike Boehm, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Toni Schlesinger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bernhard Guettler, Producer, Mixer, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

6
IV. Allegro vivace
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
00:16:22

Franz Schubert, Composer - René Möller, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Herbert Blomstedt, Conductor, MainArtist - Gewandhausorchester, Orchestra, MainArtist - Eike Boehm, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Toni Schlesinger, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bernhard Guettler, Producer, Mixer, Editor, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Album review

At ninety-five years old, Herbert Blomstedt still seems to be in his prime. Just last year, in November 2021, he recorded Schubert’s last two symphonies at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. For his “debut” under the Deutsche Grammophon label, the Swedish conductor had originally chosen to rehearse and record both works in public, but the coronavirus epidemic had other ideas. The rehearsals and subsequent recording eventually took place behind closed doors.

Blomstedt knows this prestigious German orchestra well, having conducted it from 1998 to 2005. In fact, he remains its conductor emeritus. This new recording serves as a life lesson as well as a music lesson, putting a whole new spin on Schubert’s melancholy. A luminous message of hope takes hold from the very first measures of “Unfinished” Symphony, which features a supple and lively tempo and is completely free of the morosity that most composers tend to imbue into this work.

A sense of eternal youth dominates the entire performance of the great Symphony in C major, whose repetitions and lengthy developments are overlooked thanks to the weightless, lively tempos. Every section of the ensemble brings incredible life to the piece, especially the solo oboe in the wonderful Andante con Moto (which seems to take the form of a simple ländler under the artistic eye of this talented conductor). A bouncy Scherzo leads into an explosive Allegro vivace that oozes pure joy. The Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra are truly at their best here, capturing every nuance and reaching every sudden crescendo Schubert intended. The harmonies are dazzling, the brass section is nothing if not divine and the string section possesses the uncanny ability to alternate between soft, silky sounds and unbridled power. Schubert would be proud of this work. © François Hudry/Qobuz

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