Schubert: Symphony No. 3 in D; Symphony No. 5 in B flat; Symphony No. 6 in C

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: EMI Great Recordings of the Century
WORKS: Symphony No. 3 in D; Symphony No. 5 in B flat; Symphony No. 6 in C
PERFORMER: RPO/Thomas Beecham
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 66984 2 ADD Reissue (1956, 1960)
Beecham’s Schubert is fun. He lives each moment to the full. The woodwind dance playfully and the strings sweep forward with immaculately placed accents and elegantly shaped phrases. Whereas modern authentic performances of Schubert achieve lightness through leaner orchestration and the use of period instruments, Beecham’s almost featherweight textures come from his skilful manipulation of a large symphony orchestra, with the advantage that when required he can draw on a depth and richness of sound denied to smaller ensembles. The whole experience is not, perhaps, as revealing as the best modern practice, but it does show that in music as in politics there is a ‘third way’ between the fullness of tradition and the sparseness of modernity. Christopher Lambton

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