There is certainly no shortage of recordings of Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 ("Unfinished"), one of the most popular works in the entire classical repertoire. It's a pleasure to be able to report that this one, by musicians who are hardly famous, offers something distinctive and is worth the time even of those who own several other recordings. Conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing, leading the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, presents a mightily detailed reading of the first movement, one that brings out the work's dimensions especially effectively and leads to the supposition that Schubert did not finish it simply because there was no available solution to the problems it posed within the musical language of its time. Lang-Lessing takes plenty of time in the opening material in the low strings, letting the players add some noise to the melodic lines. Out of that deliberate opening grows a tracery of inner lines over the course of the exposition's first subject group, carrying meaning even when it is simply composed of figuration. The whole forms a striking contrast with the melodic second subject, and the space defined by the two movements together is vast even as the interpretation is straightforward and in no way overwrought. The Tasmanian players also execute sheer elegant melody quite well in the selections from the Rosamunde incidental music, D. 797, and the overture ot the incidental music from the melodrama Die Zauberharfe, D. 644, which later resurfaced as the overture to Rosamunde and is better known as the Rosamunde overture. The recording was made on two separate occasions at the Federation Concert Hall in Hobart, Tasmania, a not-oversized venue entirely suited to the music-making involved. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Symphony No. 8, D 759 "Unfinished"|
|Die Zauberharfe, D 644|
|Rosamunde, D 797|