Schubert - The Symphonies | ICA Classics ICAC5160

Schubert - The Symphonies


Usually available for despatch within 5-8 working days

Label: ICA Classics

Cat No: ICAC5160

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 4

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 30th October 2020

Gramophone Editor's Choice



This release celebrates the partnership of the distinguished conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016) directing the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) in a memorable cycle of the complete Schubert Symphonies at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria during July 1988.

Harnoncourt was a notable and perhaps controversial Schubertian who, with his favourite orchestra, set about examining everything afresh. The players he worked with in 1988 talk about the way he changed their perceptions, of discovering Schubert’s work for themselves, ignoring the accretions of previous performance tradition. Harnoncourt wanted Schubert’s music to be on the edge, to rebuild it, testing and evaluating the contribution of each instrument and for the players to take as many risks as they wanted.

Dane Roberts, the COE’s double bass player, recounted: ‘Harnoncourt’s strong roots in both Vienna and Graz influenced and enabled his musical insights and vision. He presented to us dimensions of these masterpieces we had not considered or did not know (or at least recognise)’.

Sally Pendlebury, cello, recalled: ‘The Schubert Symphonies was my first ever project with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. To say it completely changed my musical life would in no way be an overstatement’.

The Schubert Symphonies are all ‘live’ performances, beautifully recorded by the ORF (Austrian Radio), creating an extra degree of spontaneity and atmosphere compared to studio recordings. The feeling of being at the Styriarte Festival in Graz is tangible.

These recordings have never before been published.

The 4-CD set is luxuriously packaged in a clamshell boxwith individual wallets containing full details of tracks, dates and venues, together with a 24-page booklet complete with rare photographs, an essay from Simon Mundy interspersed with anecdotes and memories from COE players from the July 1988 concerts.

Technical supervision has been carried out by Paul Baily (Re: Sound & Abbey Road) with the aid of Christian Eisenberger, a COE player, to create the exact sound of the concerts.

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