Schubert’s Wonderful Fifth

The symphony #5 by Franz Schubert has been one of my favorite works by this composer for many years. I find myself listening so closely, that I quickly become disappointed if an interpretation does not measure up to what I expect.


My “gold standard” for this masterpiece is the performance by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Georg Solti. The reason that I am stuck on this particular performance is how the performers do the second movement titled Andante con motto.

Solti does this like a piece of chamber music. There is singing everywhere: In the flutes, in the strings, in the cello. And the players do a Tenuto here, or a diminuendo there, or a sight Riterdando. Each player is listening to someone else, and the results are astounding.

I will illustrate for you:

Here is Solti:

Next, let’s explore Riccardo Muti.

Finally, here is Lorin Maazel:

Music interpretation is a highly personal thing. Please tell me your own preference…

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