Classic Schubert Performances Revisited

These are recordings of inimitable grace and probing depth.

Composer: Schubert
Repertoire: Symphonies Nos 8, ‘Unfinished’ & No.9, ‘The Great’
Artists: Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral
Label: RCA 88697 04603 2

For once, the record sleeve blurb gets it spot on, describing these recordings as having ‘inimitable grace and probing depth’. Indeed they do, reflecting the personal warmth of the great Charles Munch (1891-1968). If he finds no sinister undertones in the ‘Unfinished’, the famous second subject of the first movement has rarely been sung to such comforting effect. ‘The Great’ unfolds inexorably yet at tempi that are, surprisingly, a shade brisker than Toscanini’s. These recordings were made in 1955 and 1958; in Living Stereo’s Hybrid SACD sound you’d hardly know it.