Schubert: Symphonies – No 1 in D major, D 82; No 2 in B flat major, D 125; Adrast, D137 (Funeral March); Rosamunde Overture (Die Zauberharfe), D 644

Reviewed on Tue 10 Feb, 2015

Schubert symphonies have of late been doing rather well on the silver platter, what with Marc Minkowski (Naïve), Hans Zender (Hänssler), Lorin Maazel (BRSO) and David Zinman (RCA) – and Thomas Dausgaard with his Swedish Chamber Orchestra are fully on the same level. One of the ‘pluses’ about this release is the superbly balanced sound, warm yet transparent: everything is audible, yet you’re never in doubt as to the kind of tonal blend that Schubert had in mind. The First Symphony’s opening Allegro vivace (with repeat) has immense vitality, with keen accents – specifically in the development section – and an acute response to Schubert’s more aching modulations. Neither symphony’s Menuetto is rushed, and in the Second Symphony, the big first-movement exposition repeat is played, a real boon given that the arguments are strong enough to withstand the repetition. There are two fill-ups: the funeral march from Adrast, Schubert’s second attempt at a serious opera, and the overture Die Zauberharfe, later reused for Rosamunde. Again, the conducting, playing and recorded sound guarantee a maximum yield of musical pleasure. Strongly recommended.
–Rob Cowan