Symphony No. 6 was composed by a 20-year-old Schubert who wished to pay tribute to one of his heroes at the time: Rossini. This is the second disc in an on-going cycle of Schubert’s symphonies with the SCO and Thomas Dausgaard, described by BBC Music Magazine described as ‘an excitingly combative, and ultimately very plausible new look at Schubert.’
Karajan was a chord guy, and his DG Sibelius recordings arguably find him and the Berlin Philharmonic at their creamy-textured, soft-edged, tensionless but gorgeous peak. These EMI remakes, on the other hand, lack the same degree of discipline, nor are they so well (or at least consistently) recorded, but they also do selectively greater justice to the composer’s craggier textures and tendency to favor winds over strings as the bearers of significant thematic material…
The march movement in this film is one of the highlights of the entire Telemondial series, as brilliant in its editing as is the 1st movement of Beethoven's Fifth, or the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Ninth.
Karajan's reading of the Sixth, the darkest symphony of Mahler, is a revelation… the combination of polish, rhythmic point and flexibility make for a reading that has both concentration over the broadest span and consistent fantasy and imagination over detail. ..The recording is one of the very finest ever given to Karajan in Berlin, with ample range and richness…. a Mahler recording which sets new standards.
… magnificently prepared and executed; the orchestral playing is wonderfully beautiful, and the conductor's balancing of his vast forces is magisterially subtle… the controlled power of this account of the Sixth is enormous. Without that, the gorgeousness of the detail might have seemed cosmetic; but the strength of the framework is enough to carry it brilliantly. ..The Andante moderato, in particular, has a grandly sustained radiance that has probably never been matched.
Records and Recording (1978)
None of Liszt's ingenuous Beethoven symphony transcriptions had been recorded when Glenn Gould charted virgin territory in 1967 with the Fifth. Not only does Gould take Liszt's prodigious technical demands in stride, he also turns in what may be his best Beethoven playing on record. The pianist brings a kind of rhythmic acuity to the outer movements that makes many orchestral versions seem tame in comparison, even those with faster tempos. Gould's genius for sustaining tension at slow tempos is fully revealed in the second movement, in which each phrase is timed to a T. The first movement of the Pastorale flows more assuredly and accurately than in Gould's CBC Radio performance of the entire transcription. It's a pity Gould abandoned his plans to record the entire cycle.
López-Cobos is an excellent conductor with a wide repertory, best known for late-Romantic and the more colorful early 20th century literature. López-Cobos first led the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1970, and would serve as general musical director for that company from 1981 to 1990. López-Cobos was named principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic and served there from 1981 to 1986. In 1986, López-Cobos was named principal conductor and music director of the Cincinnati Symphony. With Cincinnati he would embark on an extensive recording schedule with Telarc, resulting in recordings of works by Respighi, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Falla, Bizet, Franck, and Dukas…