La Scena Musicale

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Franz Schubert: Symphony No 8 in C major “The Great”

Bamberger Symphoniker/Jonathan Nott
Tudor 7144 (Hybrid SACD – 61 min 47 s)
**** $$$$

Until the relatively recent but belated arrival of the Zurich-based Tudor label, we had been denied a Schubert symphony cycle in super audio. Now the omission has been handsomely rectified. This disc (in the revised numerology in which the ‘Unfinished’ is designated No 7) caps a cycle of the highest merit and in state-of-the art sound. The other symphonies have been coupled as 1, 3 and 7 (7141); 2 and 4 (7142); and 5 and 6 (7143). Recorded between 2004 and 2008, these are performances to rival the effervescent finesse of the 1980s cycle from Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (DG). In this account of the ‘Great’ C major, Jonathan Nott treads a lighter and more flexible path than we may be accustomed to. This pays off in the wider dynamic of the super audio sound stage. If you overlooked RB’s enthusiastic reviews of Nott in Mahler and Janáček (LSM 14.9, June), this is a rewarding introduction to an up-and-coming British conductor and a highly responsive orchestra.

- Stephen Habington

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