Schubert: Symphony No. 3 & 8 (Unfinished); Wiener Philharmoniker; Carlos Kleiber; DG 180g Vinyl Reissue

More magic music making from this team. You’ll find my first DG reissue review of Brahms Fourth Symphony above. This superb Schubert release from Carlos Kleiber and the Wiener Philharmoniker is the second, and I’m scheduled to review the other two DG released of the great conductor on vinyl, Beethoven 5 & 7

This is the tale of two worlds, one the bright, happy Schubert of the coffee houses and Saturday morning gossip. The other, the dour, brooding Schubert, musically ominous, yet featuring incredible imagination producing an unfinished masterpiece.  

Whether sunny or cloudy, Kleiber brings great energy and imagination to both performances. You won’t hear better playing anywhere — even the vaunted Sinopoli DG Philharmonia can’t compete. The balance of the sections, the articulation of the unique Puchner oboes and Viennese Horns (single F horns with piston valves), and the sound of the wonderful clarinets and trombones (Kleiber’s direction of them in the Unfinished’s syncopations is marvellous) is echt Vienna/Schubert. Hard to replicate echt anything on a rainy winter morning session in a London studio! 

Carlos Kleiber. Photo by S. Lauterwasser/DG

Carlos Kleiber. Photo by S. Lauterwasser/DG

From the famous opening string ostinato of the Unfinished (copied incessantly by film composers after ‘borrowed’ for the initial Bourne film), Kleiber maintains absolute rhythmic control. The finale of the boisterous 3rd Symphony is another example. So playful yet exciting in its perfection. Triplet heaven.

The recording quality is typical of DG’s house sound of this era, yet the vinyl is so silent and the instrumental timbre so vivid, it’s an easy recommendation for your dollars. 

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)

Symphony No. 3 in D, D. 200
1. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio
2. Allegretto
3. Menuetto (Vivace)
4. Presto. Vivace
Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 - "Unfinished"
1. Allegro moderato
2. Andante con moto