Anonymous Schubert from Gardner and Birmingham

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 4

Sound Quality: 8

It doesn’t get any duller than this first release in what promises to be a worthless new series of Schubert symphonies. Oh joy. These are fast, clipped, coldly competent performances offering little beyond rhythmic accuracy and a certain unyielding energy. The outer movements of the Third Symphony, where Edward Gardner adopts a sort of generic, “historically informed” approach to tempo and articulation, are especially metronomic, but then so is the first movement of the “Unfinished”, which has seldom sounded less emotionally involved. Symphony No. 5 comes off best if only because this is music that basically plays itself. It takes a determined effort to spoil it, something Gardner certainly does not intend, but also does nothing to prevent. In short, there is no way listening to this disc that you could possibly detect any noteworthy point of view or sympathy for the music. What then is the point? An instant cut-out, as we used to say in the days when record stores still existed.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: "Unfinished": Jochum/Boston (DG)

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