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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Franz Schubert - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 8 (Carlos Kleiber)


Composer: Franz Schubert
  1. Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200: 1. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200: 2. Allegretto
  3. Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200: 3. Menuetto. Vivace
  4. Symphony No. 3 in D major, D. 200: 4. Presto vivace
  5. Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 - "Unfinished": 1. Allegro moderato
  6. Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 - "Unfinished": 2. Andante con moto

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Carlos Kleiber, conductor
Date: 1978
Label: Deutsche Grammophon



More distinguished Schubert arrives courtesy of the Vienna Philharmonic under Carlos Kleiber and a fine 1978 coupling of the Third and Eighth Symphonies. These are lean, intense readings, beautifully played (the Third's sprightly Allegretto breezes past at just 245) though a paltry playing time of 46'14" will not please bargain-hunters. I'd far rather Kleiber's quicksilver Schubert than Karajan's heavyweight, uninflected Mendelssohn (although I felt better disposed towards these lustrous 1971 BPO recordings when they first appeared on CD).

-- Robert Cowan, Gramophone [4/1997]


Carlos Kleiber's recordings are rare events, almost invariably worth the wait. This performance of the Unfinished is typical: direct, unfussy, superbly played, and unflaggingly intense. It certainly doesn't hurt to have the Vienna Philharmonic as an eager participant in the process, contributing their customary warmth and inbred sense of style. The delightful Third Symphony gets taken out for a charming workout, with the second movement zipping along at a controversially fast speed. At midprice, this reissue offers excellent value, and it's particularly nice to have the Unfinished featured as the major work. As Kleiber shows, it deserves the attention.

-- David Hurwitz

More reviews:


Franz Schubert (31 January 1797 – 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer who was extremely prolific during his short lifetime. His output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. Today, Schubert is ranked among the greatest composers of the late Classical era and early Romantic era and is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century. His music is characterized by pleasing tunes while still has "a great wealth of technical finesse".


Carlos Kleiber (3 July 1930 – 13 July 2004), the son of the eminent Austrian conductor Erich Kleiber, was a German-born Austrian conductor who is widely regarded as being among the greatest conductors of the 20th century. During his freelance career, Kleiber restricted his conducting appearances to a select number of occasions. Kleiber kept out of the public eye, and apparently gave an interview only once in his lifetime. He made only a few of recordings and most of them are highly regarded. His performances were meticulously rehearsed, but often seemed spontaneous and inspired.


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