Herbert Blomstedt & Gewandhausorchester Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9
Herbert Blomstedt chose the repertoire for his keenly awaited Deutsche Grammophon debut recording without hesitation. Joining forces with the majestic Gewandhausorchester, the Swedish conductor decided on a programme comprising two symphonic masterworks: Schubert’s Symphonies Nos. 8 “Unfinished” and 9 “Great”.
The conductor recorded the Schubert symphony cycle with the Dresden Staatskapelle in the 1980s but was keen to revisit these two works in particular, and with an orchestra whose connection to Schubert is part of a living tradition stretching back almost to the composer’s lifetime. The Gewandhausorchester gave the posthumous premiere of the Ninth Symphony in 1839 under the direction of Felix Mendelssohn, and helped cement its place at the heart of the repertoire.
In addition to relying on the enormous experience and wisdom he has gained as the world’s longest-serving conductor, Blomstedt was able to draw on the scholarship of the New Schubert Edition for his latest recording. He notes how the original score of the Eighth Symphony, written in the summer of 1822, includes two arresting dissonances in the opening movement that were “smoothed out” by Brahms in what served as the work’s standard performing edition for well over a century. These and other significant details have been reinstated in the new critical edition; likewise, Schubert’s autograph score of the Ninth Symphony, composed between 1825 and 1828, includes numerous corrections and revisions that have been brought into the new edition.
Schubert· Symphonies, recorded last November at the Gewandhaus, reflects the mutual affection between Herbert Blomstedt and his Leipzig musicians. Their relationship developed during his time as Gewandhauskapellmeister and has been reinforced since by his regular returns as the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate. The conductor suggests that the players’ deep feeling for the meaning behind everything they play has been conditioned by their weekly Bach performances at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche. “It is this experience that makes the Gewandhausorchester the ideal ensemble for the profound masterpieces of later periods,” he reflects. “It was wonderful to explore these two very different but equally great Schubert symphonies with them.”
1. Schubert: I. Allegro moderato [Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 "Unfinished"]
2. Schubert: II. Andante con moto [Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 "Unfinished"]
3. Schubert: I. Andante - Allegro ma non troppo [Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great"]
4. Schubert: II. Andante con moto [Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great"]
5. Schubert: III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace [Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great"]
6. Schubert: IV. Allegro vivace [Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944 "Great"]