WORKS: Symphony in D, D615; Symphony in D, D708a; Symphony No. 10 (realised & orchestrated by Brian Newbould)
PERFORMER: Scottish CO/Charles Mackerras
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67000
Superb academic fodder, Schubert’s unfinished symphonic torsoes offer intriguing listening on this collection of Brian Newbould’s realisations. Here are no revelations to subvert the status of the official ‘unfinished’ as the pointer to a Romantic future, nor the ‘Great C major’ as the progenitor of the Brahms-Bruckner symphonic axis. However, there are several interesting ‘might-have-beens’, including a three-movement symphony – dating from 1828 and, therefore, Schubert’s final weeks – that shows quicksilver polish and wit. Bold, brassy intrusions in the slow movement and first movement (the latter’s main theme an ancestral relation of The Mikado), announce a new kind of surprise tactic in Schubert’s still-emerging armoury of style.
Fragments surviving in piano score of two earlier symphonies in D are more soundbites than full symphonic identities. Newbould’s deft orchestrations of these are complemented by superbly luminous playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Charles Mackerras. Sadly, even scholars cannot work miracles, and the conclusion of the lovely Andante con moto of the Symphony in D of 1820-1 will remain forever unknown to us, even if Newbould’s completion of the scherzo offers an exciting new Schubertian musical moment to treasure by way of compensation. Nicholas Williams