Rafael Kubelik conducts Schubert Third & Ninth Symphonies

by | May 31, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944; Symphony No. 3 in
D, D. 200 – Rafael Kubelik conducts Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
-Audite Multichannel SACD 92.542, 70:56 (Distrib. Albany)****:

These two performances of Schubert symphony staples feature the great
Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) and his responsive Bavarian Radio Symphony,
here taped 27 March 1969 (Ninth) and 24 February 1977 (Third). 
The booklet lists the C Major as No. 8, disallowing the usual count
which makes room for the invisible Gastein Symphony. Besides the
absolutely revivified sound via multichannel DSD of these glowing
performances is the astonishing warmth and roundedness of the phrasing,
from the opening horn motif of The Great Symphony, to the infectious
woodwind parts in the Menuetto of the D Major.

Schubert’s tendency to have two distinct rhythms or pulses working
together in the C Major produces some marvelous, contrapuntal effects;
and the basses and cellos answered by the clarinet, flute and brass,
introduce delicate timbres that linger well beyond the usual
reverberations of a sound system. Kubelik builds to dynamically
controlled climaxes; my only quibble that he neither retards nor
crescendos for the coda’s peroration after the mesmerizing and
galloping riffs. I guess Mengelberg spoiled me in this moment. While
Furtwaengler remains my idol in the Andante movement, there are
striking moments in Kubelik’s account, especially the warmth of the
strings after the oboe’s opening motive.

The D Major Symphony from 1977 has an earthy geniality and fluency,
perhaps not so blithe in the Menuetto as was that of Carlos Kleiber,
but effective nonetheless. The surround sound effects capture
Schubert’s weaving instrumentation gloriously, with antiphonal winds
enjoying the comely breadth and generous intonation of the Bavarian
players. With the volume high, these renditions make for a redoubtable
Schubert of much lyric grandeur.

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