Schubert Syms Wand RCA TEN C

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

Having recently suffered through Adrian Boult’s hideous live 1969 Schubert Ninth on BBC Classics, what a relief it is to turn to this reissue of Günter Wand’s 1991 NDR recording, among the finest versions of the work to appear since George Szell’s Sony recording way back in the early ’60s. Wand, like Boult, was about 80 when he taped this performance, but unlike Boult he knows how to conduct the symphony. Crisp rhythms, organic tempo relationships (in the first two movements especially), superb execution from all orchestral departments, clarity of line, and suppleness of phrasing characterize this magnificent performance. Fritz Reiner’s “Unfinished” offers gratifyingly similar virtues though obviously less alluring sonics, while Wand’s appealingly proportioned and effortlessly musical Cologne radio recordings of Symphonies 4 and 5, along with the Rosamunde music complete a very distinguished set. No need to mince words here: this is a good investment for Wand’s Ninth Symphony alone. Everything else is a bonus. The ratings reflect this fact.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Symphony No. 9: This One, Munch (RCA), Szell (Sony), Krips (Decca)

FRANZ SCHUBERT - Symphonies Nos. 4 "Tragic", 5, 8 "Unfinished", & 9 "The Great"; Rosamunde Suite

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