Herbert Blomstedt

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9

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In this 1996 Berlin Classics budget release, Herbert Blomstedt and the Dresden Staatskapelle present Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major, "Great," with enough passion, clarity, brilliance, vigor, and elegance to merit Schumann's famous description of the work; indeed, if this is a symphony of "heavenly lengths," as he considered it, then this blissful rendition reflects it through gorgeously long-breathed phrases, meticulous repetitions of rhythms, and astonishing control of the composer's vast symphonic form. Blomstedt's far-sighted vision of the work's trajectory never falters, and his communication with the orchestra is focused from the galloping first movement through the plangent Andante, the bumptious Scherzo, and the joyous Finale. Even though the reproduction is ADD and originally dates from 1984, the sound is absolutely terrific, and it is arguably warmer and richer as an analog recording than as a digital recording from that time might have sounded. So when it is judged for its many excellent qualities, this disc really deserves serious attention and earns high marks, despite its age.

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