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.