Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
September 2014
BBIS

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Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

On the final disc of a complete cycle, Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra offer us their readings of Franz Schubert’s first two symphonies. Written between 1813 and 1815, by a composer still in his teens, both works exemplify the influences of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven on the young man – something which was long regarded as a weakness: until well into the twentieth century (with just a few exceptions) their existence was of interest primarily to archivists. They nevertheless contain abundant proof of Schubert’s melodic genius – for instance in the Andante of Symphony No.1 – and other trademarks of the composer are already in evidence: his beloved ‘Wanderer’ rhythm in the finale of the Second Symphony, and throughout his confident and individual handling of form and harmony. The previous three discs in the cycle have met with critical acclaim and distinctions, with many reviewers welcoming the fresh approach towards the undisputed masterpieces (the ‘Unfinished’ and the ‘Great C major’) as well as to the less familiar earlier works. The present disc include two fillers, of which one is the rarely heard Funeral March from the unfinished opera Adrast from 1819-20, Schubert’s second attempt in the genre. Far better known is the closing work, the well-loved ‘Rosamunde Overture’. Composed around the same time as Adrast, it was actually part of the music to the melodrama Die Zauberharfe, but has later become associated with the incidental music to Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern, which Schubert would write some three years later.

Praise for Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2
“Thomas Dausgaard, whose period-inflected Schubert is more than convincing… changes the landscape. I hadn’t realized that the early orchestral works of the teen-age Schubert have their own special beauty… Dausgaard corrects this mistake with ebullient, joyous readings that lack the slightest Pecksniffian rectitude. We aren’t being schooled in musicology, but entertained by some delightful, infectious music filled with Schubert’s melodic rapture… What Dausgaard’s very musical readings reveal, in superb sound with exemplary playing is that the same qualities were just as beautiful in their early stages… Dausgaard’s cycle of Schumann symphonies is the best among current versions for chamber orchestra in period style. Dausgaard’s Schubert symphony cycle could become a first choice among any available.” – Huntley Dent, Fanfare
“Some might have dismissed these symphonies as imitations of the teenage Schubert’s Classical heroes, but in Dausgaard’s hands they emerge as elegant, lively scores already bearing the stamp of the composer’s sophisticated harmonic and melodic imagination.” – BBC Music Magazine ****
“The definition and dynamism that Thomas Dausgaard and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra have been bringing to their cycle of Schubert symphonies are qualities that are radiantly replicated in these performances of the First and Second…Dausgaard and his orchestra fully attune themselves to this teenage Schubertian world.” – Gramophone Magazine
Tracklisting
Franz Schubert Symphony No. 1 in D Major, D82 1. I. Adagio – Allegro vivace 10:52 2. II. Andante 6:43 3. III. Menuetto, Allegretto 4:06 4. IV. Allegro vivace 5:56 5. Funeral March 4:34 Symphony No. 2 in B flat Major, D 125 6. I. Largo – Allegro vivace 14:12 7. II. Andante 8:26 8. III. Menuetto. Allegro vivace 3:00 9. IV. Presto vivace 8:23 10. Die Zauberharfe “Rosamunde Overture” 10:23