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31.12.18

A Survey of Schubert Symphony Cycles


An Index of ionarts Discographies





Here's the latest in the ionarts discographies: the Schubert Symphonies as per popular demand (i.e. Twitter vote).

The Numbering

As far as the numbering is concerned, I am sticking with the traditional “One through Six, Eight (for the Unfinished) and Nine” (for the “Great” C Major) that stems from the Brahms Edition. It has since become common practice, certainly in German-speaking countries and among musicologically woke folk, to adopt the revised numbering. (Which, in any case, has really been around since the 1978 Deutsch catalog revision but only more widely adapted only since the Neue Schubert-Ausgabe [Bärenreiter] has published the scores and critical commentary for these symphonies, which concluded in 2003/07.)

Although that means these adapters are technically correct, it still strikes me as a little eager, even pretentious. Even if it isn’t, I prefer the numbering I grew up with. Partly for exactly that reason: nostalgia and sweet familiarity. But also because I love the lacuna that is the Seventh: It makes us pause. It makes us look for something. It reminds us that there is plenty missing among Schubert’s symphonies – the Fragments that are D.729, for one, that might justifiably constitute an incomplete Symphony No.7 –and just as many opportunities to reconstruct, recompose, patch, and whatnot. These are surprisingly fabulous works to hear (even the Gran Duo D.812, once thought to be a missing symphony, and subsequently orchestrated by Joseph Joachim but also by René Leibowitz (!), Felix Weingartner, and Raymond Leppard. The more pragmatic reason is that that's the only way to attain consistency across all cycles.

Ongoing Updates

I will add new cycles as they get published. There are a couple in the making – among them Philippe Jordan's which is expected to come out on the Vienna Symphony's own label and Jan Willem de Vriend's on Challenge.
I may also include a section for incomplete cycles such as Roger Norrington's (4-9), Alexander Dmitriev's (Melodiya) and Dennis Russell Davies (2-9, 2 & 8 not yet published) and collections that probably were never intended to be cycles but reach a minimum of four symphonies. That would include conductors like Eugen Jochum, Rafael Kubelik, Josef Krips, Karl Ristenpart et al.

These discographies take an awful lot of time to research and then a lot more to put into html-presentable shape. No matter how much time I spend on them, they are never quite complete or mistake free. This one won’t be, either, and as such every one of these posts is also a plea to generously inclined readers with more information and knowledge of the subject than I have to lend a helping hand correcting my mistakes or filling data-lacunae. I am explicitly grateful for any such pointers, hinters, and corrections and apologize for any bloomers. Unlike some of the earliest discographies, this one does intend to be comprehensive. So I am especially grateful if sets that I have missed are pointed out to me. With several hundred links in this document, there are, despite my best efforts, bound to be some that are broken or lead to the wrong place; I am glad about every correction that comes my way about those, too.


Edit 01/28/2019: Looks like the wonderful Heinz Holliger – oboist, composer and Haydn-conductor extraordinaire – has set upon performing and recording a new cycle with the Basel Chamber Orchestra. A Ninth / Great C-Major has already been released late last year. Promising, if nothing else, since I’ve not heard it yet.

Enjoy and please comment either below or on Twitter.







The Early Incomplete Cycles


Eduard von Beinum
(1946 – 1957)

Concertgebouw Orchestra
Philips, mono
Eduard von Beinum got to record Symphonies Three (1955), Four (1952), Five (1946), Six (1957), and Eight (1957) for Philips and Decca. MusicWeb review here.


available at Amazon
Symphonies 3-8

Decca Eloquence
Release: 2018
2CDs

US | UK | DE

available at Amazon
Symphonies 3, 6, 8
"Dutch Masters v.38"
Philips
Release: 1999
1CD

US | UK | DE


Lorin Maazel
(1959 – 1962)

Berlin Philharmonic
DG, mono

The next attempt at a complete Schubert cycle came from Berlin with the young, firebrand Lorin Maazel who managed to put down all but two - the earliest and last - of the Schubert Symphonies. (The missing Great C major Symhony (then still considered the "Seventh") makes me wonder if the powers that be at DG thought this to be the complement to Furtwängler's 1951 recording of the latter with the same orchestra.) It was, as it will turn out, the first shot in a (surprisingly?) long tradition of recording Schubert for the Berliners.


available at Amazon
Symphonies 2-4

DG Eloquence
Release: 2002
1CD

US | UK | DE

available at Amazon
Symphonies 5-8

DG Eloquence
Release: 2002
1CD

US | UK | DE

available at Amazon
Symphonies 2 & 3

DG LPM 18 790
Release: ancient
LP


Karl Münchinger
(1959 – 1969)

Vienna Philharmonic (+ Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart)
Decca, stereo

Next, it was Karl Münchinger to have a go at a first cycle. He also ended up the First and Ninth short of the goal with the Vienna Phil - but added the Great C major later with the (still extant!) pick-up orchestra "Klassische
Philharmonie Stuttgart" later, leaving him just one symphony short of a complete cycle. By then, in 1969, it wouldn't have been the first such cycle anymore, though, but the fourth or fifth. It includes a bit of miscellaneous Schubert. (For details see mouseover on the cover.)
MusicWeb review here.


available at Amazon
Symphonies 2-9
+ other works
Decca/Eloquence
Release: 2017
4CDs

US | UK | DE

available at Amazon
Symphonies 4 & 5

RCA
Release: ancient
LP

available at Amazon
Symphonies 8 & 2

RCA
Release: ancient
LP

The 60s


Denis Vaughan
(1964)

Alessandro Scarlatti Orchestra Naples
RCA

Who the heck is Denis Vaughan? Well, the first conductor of a complete recorded Schubert cycle, that's who he is. The conductor of the only such cycle with an Italian orchestra. The Australian conductor played under and worked with Thomas Beecham and eventually settled in Italy before returning to London via Munich, where he was on the music staff of the Bavarian State Opera for eight years, and Adelaide (as its opera director). Amazingly, he died only last year, in 2017. Fascinating person, as it turns out: He was also instrumental in establishing the UK National Lottery the proceeds of which support access to culture (and sport) for young people. (Incidentally a brilliant move: Having realized that outright subsidies for culture are, on average, a tax on the poor for the rich, he decided to make it a voluntary tax on the poor for the rich (a.k.a. state lottery). "Everyone wins", was the idea, but he was furious on realizing that the commercially run Lottery kept upward of £85m/year in profits.) Anyway. It would seem, from the notes, that Vaughan went to the Schubert manuscripts for these recordings, rather than relying on Brahms' editions... decades before that became the norm.


available at Amazon
The Symphonies

RCA Victor
Release: 1965
5LPs


US

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

RCA Victor
Release: 1965
5LPs


UK | DE


Wolfgang Sawallisch
(1966 – 1967)

Dresden Staatskapelle
Eterna/Philips
This cycle must have been one of those classical East-West projects: West-German Sawallisch conducting the East-German Dresden Staatskapelle in a recording venture shared between VEB Schallplatten for the latter side and Philips for the former. Vaughan notwithstanding, that makes is the first 'major' Schubert Symphony cycle. (Sawallisch also recorded the three popular Schubert Symphonies (5, 8, 9) in the late 50s, also for Philips, but with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.) This cycle was never issued on CD as a boxset, only as two Philips DUOs and as part of the catch-all "The Art of Sawallisch" and "Sawallisch - The Great Decca Recordings" (import) boxes. Whereas the 1972 Sawallisch Schumann recordings with the same orchestra on EMI became the measuring stick for that repertoire, these never seem to have taken hold quite as much, even with the head start they got.

available at Amazon
Symphonies 1-4
(+ Overtures)
Philips
Release: 1995
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies 5-9

Philips
Release: 1995
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Art of Sawallisch

Decca
Release: 2014
13CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Great Decca Recordings

Decca Japan
Release: 2013
25CDs


US | UK | DE


Yehudi Menuhin
(1966 – 1968)

Menuhin / Bath Festival Orchestra
EMI
The first of two recordings of the complete Schubert Symphonies by Menuhin (not best known for conducting, after all). Apparently, these were ahead of their time, in terms of crispness. But then, what really came before them?! Menuhin went on to become the first (and one of only two) conductors to record this cycle twice. This set is also included in the EMI's 50 CD "Schubert - The Collector's Edition".

available at Amazon
Symphonies 1-6

EMI ff
Release: 1999
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies 8 & 9
4 Overtures
EMI ff
Release: 1999
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
(+ Ovts / Rosamunde)
EMI France
Release: 2002
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
(+ Ovts / Rosamunde)
EMI France
Release: 2008
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Peter Maag
(1969)

Philharmonica Hungarica
Turnabout Vox
Peter Maag's cycle for Turnabout, slow and repeat-shy, from what I have read.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+
Vox/Membran
Release: 2006
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+
Vox Turnabout
Release: 19??
5LPs

US | UK | DE


István Kertész
(1963 – 1971)

Vienna Philharmonic
Decca
Whenever there was only one cycle of Schubert's symphonies on the shelves at the D.C. Tower Records (not under my watch was there ever only one!), it was this one. Classic recordings, apparently, from Vienna with the fine István Kertész who died all too early.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Decca
Release: 1992
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Decca Japan
Release: YEAR
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Decca
Release: ancient
5?LPs
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Decca
Release: ancient
5LPs?


Karl Böhm
(1963 – 1971)

Berlin Philharmonic
DG
While Decca was working on their Schubert cycle in Vienna with Kertész, Deutsche Grammophon were recording the same works with Austrian Karl Böhm in Berlin. If Kertész was the most prominent set in the early CD age, this was, at least upon publication in the Collector's Edition (which is now a great bargain), the other go-to account. The Schubert is also included in the catch-all Böhm - The Symphonies Box. ClassicsToday review here (& here).

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

DG Collectors Ed.
Release: 2001
4SACDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

DG
Release: 1987
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

DG Japan
Release: 2018
3SACDs

US | UK | DE

The 70s


Herbert von Karajan
(1975 – 1978)

Berlin Philharmonic EMI
Karajan's Schubert never was the go-to set you might have thought it would have been, given his stature and the fact that these recordings were made at the height of his fame (around the time of his third - second with the BPh - Beethoven cycle.) And that despite this set even having been among the Musical Heritage Society releases. That's almost heartening in a way, because Karajan's Schubert, except for the 8th and 9th, isn't that good. See also the ionarts review: Karajan's Uneasy Schubert. In addition to the sets shown below, you can also still find the original 1990 CD release on EMI here.

available at Amazon
Symphonies 1-4
+Rosam. ballet music
EMI
Release: 2005
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies 5-9
Rosamunde Ovt.
EMI
Release: 2005
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies et al.
Haydn-Mozart-Schubert
Warner
Release: 2014
8CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

EMI France
Release: 2011
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Zubin Mehta
(1976 – 1978)

Israel Philharmonic
Decca
Now this is a set with a major conductor on a major label that had disappeared entirely from the radar and does not seem to have made the jump onto CD until recently: Zubin Mehta's with the Israel Phil. (Recorded at Mann Auditorium, produced by Ray Minshull for whatever that's worth.) Schubert must have been unthankful territory to record for quite a while. Then again, it is hard to imagine that this is particularly good, even though the 70s were certainly Mehta's 'hot phase'. Comments about this set (or any other) gladly received below or via Twitter.

available at Amazon
Sys. 1-4, 8

Decca Eloquence
Release: 2014
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Sys. 5, 6, 9
Rosamunde excerpts
Decca Eloquence
Release: 2014
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies
Big 70s Box
Decca Italy?
Release: 2016
23CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Decca
Release: ancient
LPs

US | UK | DE


Herbert Blomstedt
(1978 – 1981)

Staatskapelle Dresden
VEB Schallplatten
One of the - perhaps the ClassicsToday reference recording. Reviewed by David Hurwitz in its Berlin Classics iteration here. Two MusicWeb reviews here and here. And indeed it is a good 'standard interpretation', slightly old fashioned, no-nonsense classic. (Although I prefer Wand and Suitner in that category.)

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Berlin Classics
Release: 2010
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Brilliant
Release: 2013
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Edel Classics
Release: 2008
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Deutsche Schallplatten
Release: ancient
5LPs?

The 80s



Günter Wand
(1977 – 1984)

Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
EMI-DHM / RCA
My entry point into Günter Wand’s Schubert was his last recording, the Fifth with the NDR SO (coupled with a slooow Bruckner 4th; see ionarts review here, along with his stupendous Berlin Ninth (be sure not to pick up a CDR but a used original release!). Neither are included in his Schubert Symphony Cyle, which is made up of his Cologne recordings. But all of Wand’s Schubert – of the Cologne RSO, NDRSO or Berlin Phil variety – is excellent and being led from the later performances to the earlier cycle brings no disappointment. (Here’s ClassicsToday comparing the three Ninth; here reviewing the NDR Eighth and Ninth; here Berlin Ninth.) For me, this is the cycle to color-balance my standard (non-HIP) Schubert expectations.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde excerpts
RCA
Release: 2017
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde excerpts
RCA
Release: 2003
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde excerpts
RCA
Release: 1989
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde excerpts
RCA
Release: ancient
?LPs


Neville Marriner
(1981 – 1984)

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Philips
Intuitive response is a funny thing: When Sir Neville Marriner’s Schubert came out in that gray Philips slim-box, I didn’t trust it; thought it somehow unreal. It so didn’t look like anything any Philips or Marriner recording had ever looked. And “10 Symphonies”? First I stayed away due to suspicion (and the price that was a bit out of reach) – then because of my general perception of Marriner as a purveyor of mild, if high quality, boredom. Eventually I overcame my prejudice and got the set, not the least because I wanted the various reconstructions and completions of Schubert’s symphonic sketches that make this the decidedly most complete of all the Schubert Symphony Cycles. It turns out, this is very much an above-average cycle; some performances are excellent and none are dour. The Andante of the “Tenth“ Symphony (D936a) is a massive, grandiose, incredibly and very particularly moving – more consoling than outright sad – slow movement. With and because of those extensive extras, this is a favorite and recommended cycle; if it didn’t have them it would probably just miss the cut. (Gramophone review; New York Times article.) On vinyl it can be found here.

available at Amazon
The 10 Symphonies
+ Completions
Philips (slim box)
Release: 2003
6CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The 10 Symphonies

Philips
Release: 1984
6CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The 10 Symphonies
(oop)
Decca Eloquence
Release: 2013
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The 10 Symphonies

Newton Classics
Release: 2011
XCDs

US | UK | DE


Othmar Suitner
(1983 – 1986)

Staatskapelle Berlin
Denon (VEB?)
Yet another cycle, along Wand’s and Blomstedt’s (and arguably Boehm and Kertesz), that might qualify for an old-school standard cycle high on musicality and with zero shenanigans. Having been a GDR cycle with a ‘GDR conductor’ in the marvelous Othmar Suitner, this set, much like its musical director, has always been very much underrated and underrepresented. [Ed. Now that a kind soul sent me a copy from Japan, it has shot to my top-tier of Schubert cycles.]

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Denon
Release: 2005
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Denon
Release: ????
5CDs


Claudio Abbado
(1973 – 1987)

Chamber Orchesta of Europe
DG
These performances, except for Nos. 3 and 4, which were done at the Watford Town Hall and Valencia's Palacio de la musica respectively, were recorded at the Vienna Konzerthaus in concerts that took place in the 1986/87 season. Claimst to be the first recording based on the autograph manuscripts, although Vaughan also suggested that's what he did. Uncritical review on MusicWeb here. The "Abbado/Schubert" box from 2015 contains all the symphonies, two masses, the Rosamunde incidental music and (this possibly making the difference) the superb disc with orchestrated Schubert Lieder reviewed here on Forbes: The 13 Best Recordings of Claudio Abbado: A Remembrance

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ D.812 "Symphony"
DG
Release: 2010
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Complete Schubert
+++
DG
Release: 2015
8CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Schubert
+ D.812 "Symphony"
DG
Release: 2000
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Edition 1

DG
Release: 2016
39CDs

US | UK | DE


Horst Stein
(1985 – 1986)

Bamberg Symphony
RCA / Eurodisc
Horst Stein’s Schubert cycle with the Bamberg Symphony, recorded live and originally released on Ariola/Eurodisc, was among the discoveries of putting this survey together. Not “discovery” in the sense of unexpected excellence—I haven’t had an opportunity to listen to it—but discovery that it exists at all. It is all but out of print although the Japanese RCA version might still be available here and there. The links on Amazon are often funky; showing the Stein set one moment and then Brüggen’s (or some other) the next: be prepared for trial and error if you are trying to find this.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

RCA Japan
Release: ????
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Eurodisc
Release: ????
4CDs

UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Eurodisc
Release: 1986?
5LPs


UK | DE


Daniel Barenboim
(1985 – 1988)

Berlin Philharmonic
CBS/Sony
Yet another set that one would have thought might be more famous than it is. Instead, it's fairly obscure, despite the major ingredients. (The "Essentials" box splits symphonies in order to get this cycle down to 4 discs. Yikes.)

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde bits
Sony
Release: 2010
5CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Sony Essentials
Release: 2003
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde bits
CBS
Release: 1989
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Roy Goodman
(1988 – 1990)

Hanover Band
Nimbus
This was the first HIP set of the Schubert symphonies - and would remain so for another six years – one reason (along with a generous English reviewing press that likes their own) why it became quite popular and ubiquitous, despite the small label (Nimbus) behind it. Ironically, Roy Goodman was never quite proud of this set, because Nimbus refused to let the creative team have control over the edits (wasting, in Goodman's words, three complete takes of the Ninth by going with the one that contained the "worst possible Horn opening"). Refreshing, such honesty, but "refreshing" is also what this set of Schubert Symphonies was when it came out – and it retains many fans to this day. (Whether for the former reason or other aesthetic questions, Brilliant has released a set of the complete Symphonies where it mixes the first four symphonies of Goodman's with the last four of Sandor Vegh's. You will find it listed below.)

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Nimbus
Release: 1990/92
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies/Lieder
Chamber/Piano Works
Nimbus
Release: 1997
12CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Brilliant
Release: 2000/2/8
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Riccardo Muti
(1987 – 1991)

Vienna Philharmonic
EMI
The dullest. Dull dull dull. I am more than a little surprised that David Hurwitz finds this set "first rate"; it certainly is a "CD from Hell" for my money. Perhaps beacuse I have suffered through too much Schubert with Muti live more recently? No matter, if you do not believe me, believe the maestro himself. Here he is, telling you (via the audience for when he got his Musical America Musician of the Year Award – which, if you have wondered, is bestowed annually upon "the most famous music-professionals that we can just somehow still get to come and pick up their otherwise meaningless awards in person and thereby transfer some of their fame back onto us") how to conduct Schubert. Oh, I know, it is charming Muti at his best before a fawning audience – playing the crowd as a fiddle by hitting the self-deprecating note (a bit rich, when you're the grand honoree), but along the lines of "there is a bit of a joke in every joke", it contains his actual approach to Schubert. Don't say he didn't warn you. (I also know a member of the VPO who remembers recording this set who thinks them equally dreadful, which might be considered telling.) Shortly upon release, these recordings were hidden away, like so many Muti-releases (including some good ones), on the EMI Red Line and Seraphim budget labels.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Rosamunde bits
EMI
Release: 2005
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+?
Brilliant
Release: 2005
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ ?
EMI
Release: ????
4CDs
available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ ?
EMI Greece?
Release: ????
4CDs

The 90s



Nikolaus Harnoncourt I
(1992)

Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
Teldec
Harnoncourt delivers a splendid cycle of general (if Harnoncourt-typical liberally interpreted) HIP-inflection and a modern/traditional orchestra. A (long-winded, vacuous and obsequious) MusicWeb review can be found here… which happens to be correct as a broken clock, in this case. This is a very good set and v. close to getting the 'ol ionarts recommendation.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Teldec
Release: 1993
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Warner
Release: 2005
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Michael Halász
(1988 – 1994)

Failoni Orchestra & Slovak Philharmonic
Naxos
Symphonies 1-6 are performed with the Hungarian Failoni Chamber Orchestra; 8 and 9 with the Slovak Philharmonic. The releases can easily be had individually: vol.1, vol.2, vol.3, vol.4, vol.5,

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Grand Duo, orch.
Naxos
Release: 2001
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Frans Brüggen
(1990 – 1996)

Orchestra of the 18th Century
Philips
Frans Brüggen is not a straight-forward HIPster. His Beethoven, for example, has tempos that are closer to Barenboim’s than Gardiner or the like. His Schubert isn’t brutally driven, either, but it certainly has spark and pizzazz. From the lovingly shaped very early symphonies, a "Tragic" that isn't boring, via a truly great Fifth to excellent versions of the two mature ("Unfinished" and "Great") symphonies, the whole cycle is tremendous top-to-bottom, sunny, sparkling, yet seriously great , First-to-Ninth. It used to be hard to find used copies for a reasonable prize but now the search is easy, as Decca has re-released the set in its bare-bones cheapo “Collector’s Edition” a few years back. See also: Forbes, Best of 2015 (Re-Releases). MusicWeb review here.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Decca
Release: 2015
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Philips
Release: 2006
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Philips
Release: 1997
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Dutch Masters v.59
Release: 2000?
4CDs


Marcello Viotti
(1992 – 1996)

RSO Saarbrücken
Claves
Viottia was a fine, underrated conductor. (His son, meanwhile, appears to become an overrated conductor, fast.) But this is another cycle I knew (and still know) nothing about, except for when and where (Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken) it was recorded. I don't know if it was any good, but makes you think of the power of the major labels in the 80s and 90s where they could hog all the publicity and unless you were an avid reader of the Schwann or R.E.D. catalogues, you couldn't know what else might have been produced.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+ Overtures
Claves
Release 1996
5CDs

Release: 2000
US | UK | DE


Colin Davis
(1994 – 1996)

Staatskapelle Dresden
RCA
Classic big-band Schubert from Dresden. MusicWeb review here.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Sony/RCA Masters
Release: 2015
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

RCA CC
Release: 2004
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

RCA/BMG
Release: 1996
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Tamás Vásáry
(1995 – 1996)

Budapest Symphony Orchestra
Hungaroton
Live recordings. May also have appeared on Carlton Records.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Hungaroton
Release: 199?
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Wilhelm Keitel
(1905 – 1997)

Putbus Festival Orchestra Minsk
Arte Nova
At the fringes of the obscure; Wilhelm Keitel has since moved on from classical music. Arte Nova also had a Schubert cycle with various orchestras and conductors in their catalogue (never boxed, I believe), with Ross Pople (1,2 + 3,4), Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach (5,6) and Martin Sieghardt (8,9), which I have not included here, since it is in no meaningful way a cycle. The set is listed under two ASIN codes; the alternate links are included.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Arte Nova
Release: 1998
4CDs

US | UK | DE

US | UK | DE


Jos van Immerseel
(1996 – 1997)

Anima Eterna Brugge
Sony/Vivarte
When this cycle first came out on Sony, I did not really notice it. It wasn't until the re-release on the Zig-Zag (now Alpha) lable, that it popped onto my radar - thanks to a dear musician acquaintance. Even then it took a while until I realized that it was a re-release. I had simply thought it was contemporary to Marc Minkowski's set, sharing a lot of the same aesthetic with the Frenchman's set from a full 15 years later. But unlike Minkowski's Schubert, which is oddly disappointing (and does not live up to his live Haydn set that he also recorded at Vienna's Konzerthaus), Immerseel's Schubert is alive and sparkling and full of wit and panache. The musical smile is perhaps a little less subtle than that in the Brüggen recordings; the wistfulnesss a smidgen less pronounced. But the vitality is infectuous. An easy recommendation, even as said acquaintance reminded me that we both agreed that the strings sound a little wan in all of these symphonies apart from the 9th.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

ZigZag
Release: 2012
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Sony
Release: 2003
4CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Sony France
Release: 2002
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Yehudi Menuhin
(1997)

Sinfonia Varsovia
Warner/Apex
With this set Menuhin became the first conductor to record the Schubert symphonies twice (Harnoncourt would follow him in 2016). The set was also released on a Polish label but saw distribution in the West on Apex. He must have realy loved Schubert. I have not heard the recordings but heard wildly different opinions about it. The set comes with an interview with Menuhin.

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The Symphonies
+
Apex
Release: 2004
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Hans Graf
(1997 – 1998)

Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
Kontrapunkt
Hans Graf with Schubert from Denmark.

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The Symphonies
+ 4 Overtures
Kontrapunkt
Release: 2002
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Alain Lombard
(1997 – 1998)

Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Forlane
A French-Swiss Schubert cycle. Splits the Third over two discs. ಠ_ಠ

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The Symphonies

Forlane
Release: 2000
4CDs

US | UK | DE

The 2000s



Lorin Maazel
(2001)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
BR Klassik
Lorin Maazel liked to do complete symphony cycles in his time in with the BRSO... there was the Bruckner, here is his Schubert. The Beethoven has never been (re-)released. Maazel manages to get all the symphonies onto three discs, without splitting any.

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The Symphonies

BR Klassik
Release: YEAR
3CDs

US | UK | DE


Hans Zender
(1996 – 2004)

SWF Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden/Freiburg
Hänssler
Interesting. Hans Zender is better (or at least as well) known as a composer (including his must-have 'composed interpretation' of the Winterreise) than a conductor, but here he leads the SWRSO in the Schubert Symphonies. I tend to like composers conducting classical composers; the affinity Heinz Holliger has for Haydn, for example, is stupendous. I'm certainly curious about this cycle... but I know nothing about it yet.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Hänssler
Release: YEAR
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Nikolaus Harnoncourt II
(2003 – 2006)

Berlin Philharmonic
BPh
Harnoncourt's second cycle is also a record-setting fourth for the Berlin Philharmonic and the first on Blu-ray (which does not, however, improve on the sound of the CDs). By now it also exists on SACD and on Vinyl. The initially released Blu-ray/CD set contains all the Berlin recordings of Harnoncourt's, namely Masses 5 & 6 (with Christian Gerhaher!) and Alfons & Estrella (with Gerhaher and Dorothea Röschmann
has the obnoxious coffee-table format that fits in no shelf of human devising. MWeb review here. On initial listening I found this set to be a distinct disappointment; certainly less interesting than his earlier one, but it merits revisiting and perhaps re-considering.

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The Symphonies

BPh
Release: 2017
5SACDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Schubert Recs
+
BPh
Release: 2015
8CDs/1Blu-ray

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

BPh
Release: 2016
8LPs

US | UK | DE


Jonathan Nott
(2003 – 2006)

Bamberg Symphony
Tudor
This was the first set to appear on SACDs and was accompanied by a "Dialog" and a (sensational) "Epilog" disc that explores Schubert in the works of modern composers. Both discs should be had. (Mousover for details.) The smaller set retains the SACD format of the symphonies but strips those two discs... but fits onto normal shelves. A MusicWeb review here. Two volumes were reviewed on ClassicsToday.

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The Symphonies
+ Epi- & Dialog
Tudor
Release: YEAR
4SACDs, 2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Tudor
Release: 2014
4SACDs

US | UK | DE

The Teens



David Zinman
(2011 – 2012)

Tonhalle Zürich
RCA
David Zinman's Zurich Schubert includes the works for violin and orchestra. (See mouseover.) Those works (arguably the most interesting aspect of this cycle) can be had individually on the disc with the Unfinished Symphony.

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The Symphonies
+
RCA
Release: 2013
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Antonello Manacorda
(2011 – 2015)

Chamber Academy Potsdam
Sony
Another set out of nowhere; a major label vanity production. Then again, most productions these days are vanity productions in some aspect, making that term ever more meaningless and/or carrying less significance. I have come across some rather positive response to the cycle which is given further interest by including the Newbould Andante of the Tenth Symphony.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies
+
Sony
Release: 2015
5CDs

US | UK | DE


Marc Minkowski
(2012)

Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble
Naïve
I had had such high hopes for this set, ready to be Wowed, after that team's Haydn. Alas, it's a big disappointment; an also-ran among cycles... surprisingly listless and joyless.

available at Amazon
The Symphonies

Naïve
Release: 2012
4CDs

US | UK | DE


Thomas Dausgaard
(2006 – 2013)

Swedish Chamber Orchestra
BIS
The volume with symphonies Three through Five was on my Forbes & ionarts "Best of 2014" list. (Ionarts review here: Dip Your Ears, No. 219 (Racy Schubert from Dausgaard and Heras-Casado).) Judging on those three interpretation, this might well be my go-to Schubert cycle of the future, but I have not heard any of the other three volumes. Hasn't been boxed yet.

available at Amazon
Symphonies 1 & 2
+
BIS
Release: 2014
1SACD

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies 3-5

BIS
Release: 2014
1SACD

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphony No.6
+ Rosamunde music
BIS
Release: 2013
1SACD

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies 8 & 9

BIS
Release: 2010
1SACD

US | UK | DE


Philippe Herreweghe
(2010 – 2016)

Royal Flemish Philharmonic (+ Antwerp Symphony Orchestra)
Pentatone & Phi
This set of the 8 Schubert Symphonies is split across five discs of four releases on two labels. Philippe Herreweghe started it with a few recordings on Pentatone (a relationship that also included a Beethoven symphony cycle with the same orchestra – but one that never quite clicked) and finished it on his own "Phi" record label. The Pentatone issues are SACD releases.

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Symphonies 1, 3, 4
Royal Flemish Phil
Phi
Release: 2016
2CDs

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symhonies 2 & 5
Antwerp SO
Phi
Release: 2018
1CD

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphonies 6 & 8
Royal Flemish Phil
Pentatone
Release: 2014
1SACD

US | UK | DE
available at Amazon
Symphony 9
Royal Flemish Phil
Pentatone
Release: YEAR
1SACD

US | UK | DE


2 comments:

Alex and Justine said...

I would add that as a pendant to 'Harnoncourt I' there is a terrific live CD he did on Teldec with the BPO of Schubert's and Schumann's Fourth symphonies, which are both better than his studio Concertgebouw recordings.

jfl said...

Thanks for the comment. I'll definitely check the disc out, when I come across it! jfl