This DVD contains three symphonies — Beethoven’s First, and Schubert’s Sixth and Eighth (the ‘Unfinished’). All three performances are directed by Sir Georg Solti, and the Chicago Symphony sounds fabulous! The Beethoven symphony was filmed at a London Proms concert, and Solti leads a terrific interpretation of one of my favorite symphonies. The audience in England’s Royal Albert Hall is quite boisterous in greeting Solti when he comes onstage and certainly appreciative at the end of the symphony. The camera work and sound are excellent.
The two Schubert symphonies were recorded at Orchestra Hall, Chicago, and much the same could be said for both the video and sound, although there is perhaps more sonic warmth in the Chicago performances. Like in the Beethoven First the writing in the Schubert Sixth, the so-called ‘Little Symphony in C’, seems to especially feature the winds of the orchestra and it must be said that the playing of the wind instruments is really outstanding!
But just as marvelous are the strings, whose playing ranges from whispering pianissimo sounds to the deep, lush, warm string tones.
Above all, there’s the musical guidance of Solti: always looking for the balance, phrasing, beauty, and lyrical sounds that all three of these masterpieces offer to the listener.
There is also a brief bonus on this DVD: Eight minutes of Solti talking about the two Schubert symphonies.
Click below to listen to a sample of this DVD: