Conductor Fritz Busch = MOZART: Serenade in D Major, K. 250 “Haffner”; SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, D. 485 – Peter Rybar, violin/Winterthur Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Busch
Guild GHCD 2352, 70:26 [Distr. by Albany] ****:
The energetic Fritz Busch enjoys a major addition to his relatively small recorded legacy (originally issued via Concert Hall Society) with these August-September 1949 readings of Mozart and Schubert in the Winterthur venue Busch (1890-1951) had frequented since 1923. Leader Peter Rybar (1913-2002) called Busch “the greatest of all Mozart conductors,” testimony already well certified through the Glyndebourne opera series Busch led in the 1930s. The remasters from Peter Reynolds prove quite convincing and aurally stirring.
Brisk tempos–and no repeats–notwithstanding, the Mozart 1776 eight-movement Haffner Serenade benefits from a clarity and generous pulse that move the music forward in opulent, affectionate terms. At the Andante, Peter Rybar enters with what must serve as a concerto for violin and orchestra, a sweet collaboration that basks in Viennese figures both dulcet and animated. The cadenza alone in the Andante proves worthy of any Mozartean kudos, its haunted improvisatory character equally informed by a driven sense of architecture. The true concertante nature of the writing comes forth in the familiar Rondo: Allegro (via Fritz Kreisler’s famed transcription), which moves at a thrillingly scintillating pace, the solo and the corps of strings using the tip of the bow to inject a flurry of beneficent irony. Operatic riffs and martial ambitions saturate the Menuetto galante, a lush orchestral court dance redolent with anticipations of Richard Strauss. A fiery melodic Andante ensues with strong colors in the woodwinds and horns. The cross rhythms of the trio section contain enough elements of sturm und drang to inspire a host of more “romantic” composers. The third Menuetto achieves a haughty symphonic girth, well suggestive of the audacious harmonic swagger of the late symphonies. Its middle section boasts a choir of winds that bring celestial comfort. A bit of fulsome repose–in the Adagio–leads to the final Allegro assai whose “Turkish” offbeats and low winds echo with the wicked irreverence of “The Abduction from the Seraglio,” a joyous fructifying Mozart at every turn.
The Schubert B-flat Major Symphony evinces the same happy urgency of expression, no dawdling and no false sentiment. Rather, energy and an elan vital mark the first movement, a classical arch from beginning to end. The core of the symphony, its elegiac Andante con moto receives a limpid molded reading, melancholy and nostalgic, the underlying pulse rather implacable below the sighs and anguish of the chord progressions, many of which adumbrate the chromatics of the Unfinished Symphony. The dark intensity extends to the syncopated Menuetto: Allegro molto, Mozartean and Romantic at once. The deep colors of the cellos and violas casts a real shadow on the proceedings which the trio section cannot fully alleviate, as Schubert here inspires the rustic pessimism in Mahler. Busch hurtles forward in the finale, the energies accelerated with a tragic abandon we do not often associate with this otherwise lyric moment. Despite its lack of “trumpets and drums,” the work has evoked a nobly moody grandeur that lingers well after the last chord has dissipated.