WORKS: Symphony No. 2 in B flat; Symphony No. 6 in C (Little)
PERFORMER: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-97510-2 DDD (1993)
By returning to Schubert’s original manuscripts, Harnoncourt has succeeded in uncovering the striking originality of the composer’s symphonic output, with its extreme dynamics and imaginative orchestration. Listen to the Second Symphony’s youthfully energetic first movement; its dramatic opposition of woodwind and strings in the second movement variations; its violent contrasts in the Scherzo, and its bold, vigorous finale.
Moreover, Harnoncourt’s revelatory account of the Sixth Symphony vividly evokes Schubert’s charming blend of Classical influences and visionary use of tone-colour, making this work’s curious unpopularity difficult to understand. Teldec’s separate reissues of Harnoncourt’s outstanding Schubert cycle will be widely welcomed. Nicholas Rast