Claudio Abbado / Orchestra Mozart

Schubert: The "Great" C major Symphony

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Schubert: The "Great" C major Symphony Review

by Blair Sanderson

This 2015 Deutsche Grammophon release of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major, "The Great," is actually the product of four concert performances from September 2011, two at the Bologna Auditorium Manzoni and two at the Bolzano Auditorium, so it is a live recording that has been skillfully edited. Bearing in mind Claudio Abbado's strong working relationship with Orchestra Mozart, this is likely the interpretation he had in mind, barring any mishaps in the performances that have been omitted. That said, it is a fairly safe and uncontroversial reading that doesn't differ much from most mainstream recordings, and the playing -- such as we hear -- is secure and polished, if not especially inspired or deeply felt. Because this is one of the last documents of Abbado's conducting career and a record of his rapport with an orchestra he founded, there is much to value from a historical perspective. However, because there are no sparks of electricity or special expressive moments, this recording of "The Great" will interest most of Abbado's fans but fewer Schubertians.

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