Schubert/Mendelssohn

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert/Mendelssohn
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: Symphony No. 8 (Unfinished); Symphony No. 4 (Italian)
PERFORMER: Philharmonia Orchestra/ Giuseppe Sinopoli
CATALOGUE NO: 445 514-2 DDD (1984)
This is quite the slowest first movement to the Unfinished Symphony I have ever heard. Not that minutes are everything, but Sinopoli’s performance is somnolent and totally lacks any tension, the Allegro moderato having no allegro but simply an excess of moderato. Fortunately the tempo of the other surviving movement of this great work is more familiar and there are outstanding solos from principal clarinet and oboe. Mendelssohn’s Italian seems closer to the Venetian conductor’s heart, and very enjoyable too, until the third movement, where once again he sees the word ‘moderato’ and everything grinds to a mind-numbing plod. Christopher Fifield

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