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(1797 - 1828)  
CD1 [74.03]
Symphony No 8 in B Minor*. D759 "Unfinished" [23.00]
Symphony No 9 in C Major* D 944 "The Great" [51.03]
CD2 [71.45]
Quintet in A Major **. D667 "The Trout" [39.11]
Moment Musicaux***. D780. [27.57]
Military march for Piano Duet****. D733 no 1. [ 4.18]
Berlin Philharmonic / Karl Böhm *
Members of the Amadeus Quartet (augmented)**
Norbert Brainin (vn), Peter Schidlof (viola)
Martin Lovett (cello), Emil Gilels (piano), Rainer Zepperitz (d/bass)
Wilhelm Kempff (pno)***
Paul Badura-Skoda, Jörg Demus(pianos)****
Recorded 1966 (Symphony No 8);1963 Symphony No 9);
1976 (Trout);1968 (Moments musicaux);1965 (March) ADD
DG Panorama 469 196-2 [145.48]

Following the pattern in the rest of the Panorama series devoted to individual composers, in the Schubert double disc set DG includes performances in full of major works - here the Unfinished, the 9th Symphony and the Trout. The recordings chosen are all originally analogue ranging from 1963 up to 1976 and big names are prominent.

The two Symphonies chosen to fill the first CD are the two best known of the cycle - here with Karl Böhm and the Berlin Philharmonic. The two are versions that are each perfectly easy to live with - neither would go to the top of any pile of choices but both can be safely recommended as library versions. The Unfinished is relaxed, warm and genial, with some lovely phrasing. Böhm takes a similar view with his reading of the Great C Major. He does not go looking for the dark undercurrents that others seek and his approach may be too easy going for some who prefer a more driven, rhythmically tighter approach. Even so he builds a strong sense of tension helped by the BPO in excellent form. The recording is clearly not new with its touch of toppiness but is perfectly acceptable.

Any non-vocal selection of Schubert's music is very likely to include part of the Trout Quintet. Here we have not just the die forelle variations but the complete work in a mid-seventies recording with three quarters of the Amadeus with added double-bassist and Emil Gilels at the piano. Recordings of the piece abound and this is a perfectly reasonable addition to those currently available. It is not the warmest of versions, the Finale, for instance seems lacking in charm and throughout one is aware of a slightly over serious approach to this delightful work. The constant challenge the engineers have with a chamber ensemble and piano is met and beaten in a well-balanced recording.

The six parts of Moments musicaux, here in the version by Wilhelm Kempff, are immaculately played. There is no exaggeration, no excessive lingering, just the classical approach we would expect from the soloist. The best known of the set, the perky No 3 in F Minor, is an especial delight.

An excellent double disc with plenty of variety and much that will please - especially at bargain price.


Harry Downey

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