Symphony No. 9 ‘The Great’
Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Maxim Emelyanychev
Linn CKD 619 54:30 mins
Maxim Emelyanychev inspires the excellent Scottish Chamber Orchestra to give the most thrilling account of Schubert’s last symphony (known as No. 7, alternatively No. 8, alternatively No. 9) that I have heard in many years. The amount of noise this ‘chamber’ orchestra can make is amazing, and so is the propulsion of which they are capable under inspired direction. This symphony is primarily, and surprisingly for Schubert, a work predominantly rhythmic rather than melodic, with even the slow movement becoming a terrifying stampede before an awestruck silence. And as for the last movement, one can only compare it to a Bruckner scherzo, in which there is nothing jovial and a lot that is savage. It’s not possible to listen to any of Schubert’s finest works and not feel that his early death is the greatest of all artistic losses, a feeling especially reinforced by this great performance.