Schubert, any recommendations?

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Irish_Graham
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Schubert, any recommendations?

Post by Irish_Graham » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:58 am

Havent taken the time to look into this guy's music too much, only piece Ive heard is his trout quintet, anyone have some time to give me a little advise and background of his music?

I think hes another German composer who maybe lived under the shadow of his illustrious countrymen so the casual/new(ish) to classical music person such as myself would have heard a host of Beethoven and Bach before getting onto the lesser known Schubert.

What are his main works and peices? Ive heard he had some quality symphonies and that he didnt get a chance to finish his 8th, but what else should I look for?

My favourite pieces tend to be piano concertos, Beethoven's 5th being the ultimate piece of music in my humble view, so did Schubert have any?

Thanks.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:32 am

No piano concertos. Some boffo piano sonatas.

Personally I prefer his string quartets and songs and piano music to his symphonies, operas, incidental music, and masses.

Here's a nice little bio on him.
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Revliskciuq
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Post by Revliskciuq » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:41 am

Piano Trio in E-flat major; it's exceptional.
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Gary
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Post by Gary » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:28 am

I'm sure you've heard the "Ode to Joy" from the choral (final) movement to Beethoven's 9th Symphony, and since Schubert was Beethoven's contemporary, why not try the former's 9th (Great) C Major Symphony?

Here are some fairly recent recordings (all with Riccardo Muti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra).

9th

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... =classical

1st & 8th (Unfinished)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... =classical

Complete symphonies

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... =classical
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Post by Gary » Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:50 am

He also wrote some beautiful songs:

Ave Maria

Liebesbotschaft

Wohin?

Der Tod und das Madchen (Death and the Maiden)

And here are the complete impromptus he wrote for the piano.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... =classical
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val
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Re: Schubert, any recommendations?

Post by val » Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:57 am

Schubert didn't compose any concertos.

But try some of his greatest masterpieces, the more personals:

The Winterreise, a cycle of Lieder.
The 9th Symphony (in special the first two movements)
The String Quintet in C
The piano Trio opus 100
The piano Sonata in A D. 859

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:40 am

Schubert's piano music is wonderful. Here are some pieces that haven't been mentioned yet:

Piano Sonata in B flat, D. 960
Wanderer Fantasie, D. 760

Alfred Brendel made an outstanding CD with both of these great works for Philips in 1989.

Piano Sonata in A, D. 664- not considered one of the greatest of his sonatas but it has to be one of the most charming.

All of the symphonies are worth knowing. The 5th is especially delightful. There are lots of good recordings available but I'd like to recommend a box set by Colin Davis and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Gramophone magazine recommended this set in its Schubert special edition a few years ago and it really is wonderful. The orchestra plays brilliantly, the interpretations always sound fresh and interesting, the sound engineering is excellent. It's been reissued in the inexpensive "Complete Collections" series from RCA/BMG.

The Octet, D. 803 for 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, clarinet, bassoon, and horn is a melodius and cheerful work. There is a very good recording from Naxos featuring the Schubert Ensemble, Budapest.
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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:30 am

Corlyss_D wrote:No piano concertos.
True, but Franz Liszt made a boffo transcription of Schubert's Wanderer-Fantasie and produced a version for piano and orchestra, which is very faithful to the original and uses a Schubertian orchestra. It's virtually the piano concerto which Schubert never wrote.

Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields have recorded the complete symphonies of Schubert, including complete realizations of Nos. 7, 8 and 10 (plus the unnumbered fragments) by Brian Newbould. This is a fascinating set done with great care and shows Schubert's development as a symphonist from first to last. The reconstructed works are very rewarding discoveries.

Schubert began at least 13 symphonies but completed only 7. His first 6 symphonies were composed between the ages of 16 and 21 with assured facility, but then he went through some stylistic changes. During the next 3 years Schubert began 2 more symphonies but completed little more than the main themes of each movement. Then in 1821 he sketched what became known as his Symphony No. 7 in E Minor/Major. It is in full score through the introduction and the first theme of the exposition, but he must have been working at great speed because thereafter he wrote only 1 or 2 major instrumental lines (sometimes a few more) all the way to the end of the 4-movement symphony. Unfortunately Schubert never filled in the remaining staves, but the overall structure of the work is complete. It bridges a big change of style between the early 6 symphonies and his later works. The next year Schubert complete the first 2 movements of his Symphony No. 8 in B Minor "Unfinished", but left most of the scherzo as a piano sketch with only the first 20 bars in full score. The finale is missing, but it is believed that Schubert used it as an entr'acte in his incidental music to Rosamunde.

During the last 10 years of his life Schubert managed to complete only 1 symphony, Symphony No. 9 in C Major "The Great", and it shows just how far he had progressed since his 6 early symphonies. About a month before his death in November 1828, Schubert sketched a 10th symphony, and these sketches show yet another advance that looks both forward to Mahler and backward to Bach. The incredible slow movement is bleak yet hauntingly beautiful. It is different from the Schubert we know, but he could have been about to evolve again.

Should well-meaning scholars attempt to realize composers' incomplete sketches? If they are handled with great care and respect for what appear to be the composers' intentions, and I know what has been added, I would say yes. Besides, 2nd-hand Schubert is still better than some other composers at 1st-hand. :lol:

Dave

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Post by dirkronk » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:13 pm

Schubert has all this delightful music to offer!

Top of mind for me would be:
Sym. 8 and 9 (often put on 1 CD together)--Who you like in the 9th depends a lot on whether you like fast tempos, to keep you moving through all the repetition in the first two movements, or more leisurely, to savor those same repeats. I prefer fast, especially as demonstrated by Munch/Boston on their early but impressive stereo RCA. Szell's Cleveland version on Columbia (Sony) is also a good choice, though in spite of my great admiration for Szell I have to put Munch in the #1 slot, at least among stereo-era versions. If you want the leisurely option, try Krips on Decca/London--early stereo but really fine sonics. Historic? That's another story--Furtwangler is great, either in the live wartime or the DGG early 1950s version, and so is Mengelberg, who has a live version (Philips) and an earlier one on Capitol-Telefunken (which, oddly enough, I prefer). Oh, and Toscanini's 9th with Philadelphia from the early 1940s is something special.

String quintet D956: I have two performances that I really like--the Hollywood SQ (now on Testament CD, IIRC) and Casals' Prades version (on CBS/Sony)--both mono, but don't let that deter you.

Trout: Yeah, I know you have this one, but you might want to check out the live Curzon/Amadeus SQ version on BBC (in tandem w/ Brahms piano quintet), which is pretty amazing. Of course, there are really a LOT of good Trouts out there, but this one impressed me most recently.

Sonatas: There's a lot of really good Schubert stuff for piano. I feel safe in recommending specific performers in almost any of these pieces: Schnabel (more impressive here than in his LvB, imo), Richter, Kempff, and Lupu. And specifically in the D959, a nod to Eschenbach--and in the D960, my sentimental favorite (I concede that others may offer different felicities) is Haskil.

The Wanderer Fantasy--Richter is my first choice overall, though I also still like the young Brendel on Vox, but the version by Elly Ney from the recordings in her old age is unique...if you get a chance to hear it, do so.

Lieder: Pick your favorite singer and get her/him doing some of these wonderful songs. For me, the recording of the young Elly Ameling accompanied by Demus (I have it on Harmonia Mundi vinyl, but it's been reissued by many other labels) still offers astonishing beauty and sweetness.

There are lots of others. It'll be interesting to see recs from other folks.

Enjoy the journey and the music that provides the soundtrack!

Dirk
Last edited by dirkronk on Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:37 pm

I neglected to mention the Octet for Winds, one of my favorite pieces.
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Cyril Ignatius
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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:15 pm

Many excellent suggestions above.

Here are some of my favorites:
Symphonies 8 and 9 with Bohm on the DG label.
Winterreisse with Dietrich Fischer Deskau
Maid of the Mill with Wolfgang Holzmair
Sonota D 960 with Mitzuko Uchida (what an inspired composition!)


Schubert was an Austrian, Viennese at that, an ancestor had migrated in from Bohemia. Vienna, and Austria more generally was the foremost center of musical inspiration from perhaps the late 1700s into the first couple decades of the 20th century. And to many, Schubert is one of the composers most intimately associated with the city of Vienna.

One other thing: Schubert wrote some charming dance melodies for the dance halls and night establishments of Vienna. Willi Boskovsky recorded a few of these.
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Post by Richard » Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:21 pm

I would definitely suggest the Schubert String Quintet in C, D 956. In my opinion, it's the finest thing Schubert ever penned.

A very good recording, to recommend, is the Emerson String Quartet with Rostropovich, on DGG, 31792.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:51 pm

Cyril Ignatius wrote:Winterreisse with Dietrich Fischer Deskau
Maid of the Mill with Wolfgang Holzmair
Sonota D 960 with Mitzuko Uchida (what an inspired composition!)
Yum. I get a warm glow just thinking of these 3 alone.
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Irish_Graham
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Post by Irish_Graham » Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:07 am

Thanks folks, great replies and info, looking into some of these recommendations already.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:39 pm

Revliskciuq wrote:Piano Trio in E-flat major; it's exceptional.
val wrote:The piano Trio opus 100
Ah yes. The Schubert trios. The two longest theory exercises ever written. Actually, they are both very beautiful, but darn it if ol' Franz doesn't play that second theme of the last movement of Op. 100 in every key! Twice!! But Schubert's themes are well worth hearing again and again and again and again and again and again :D

Dave

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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:45 pm

Well, the quintet always gets a nod (Hollywood qtet or Amadeus with Pleeth) no one seems to have mentioned the last few quartets (most of his early quartets are quite lovely too) of Schubert. Death and the Maiden, Rosamnude and the Quartettsatz are surely among his better-known pieces, and the 15th one of the greatest ever penned.

I confess I lean towards the Viennese Amadeus qtet for these pieces, although I also like the Busch qtet.

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:51 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:I neglected to mention the Octet for Winds, one of my favorite pieces.
Schubert is easily categorziable for the sake of knowing what to love within limited categories, unlike say Bach, who literally wrote many hundreds of masterpieces. Of course, it goes withtout saying that Schubert (not Mozart) was the greatest loss to music due to early death, dying of syphillis at 31.

Speaking only for myslf, I feel just a little bit guilty that it is so easy to single out fewer than 20 masterpieces if we do not count the songs. But Brahms felt the same way, so I suppose I should not feel guilty

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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:53 pm

Many hundreds of masterpieces? Hyperbole squared or what? Bach simply does not have hundreds of pieces as great as Schubert's greatest even if you are going to count cantatas.

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Post by val » Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:29 am

Well, the quintet always gets a nod (Hollywood qtet or Amadeus with Pleeth) no one seems to have mentioned the last few quartets (most of his early quartets are quite lovely too) of Schubert. Death and the Maiden, Rosamnude and the Quartettsatz are surely among his better-known pieces, and the 15th one of the greatest ever penned.

Yes, the last Quartets are, in my opinion, the greatest composed, since Beethoven, in the XIX century. But the absolute masterpiece is, in my opinion, the Quartet n. 15 in G, a work that, with the Trio opus 100 and the Quintet in C is one of the supreme chamber music masterpieces of Schubert.

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