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Two of Schubert’s lesser-known symphonies get the championship they deserve in René Jacob’s supremely stylistically informed performances; incredibly detailed booklet notes complement the all-round care here. This is period instrument performance at the very highest standard, and a fine launch to Jacobs’ complete cycle.

Schubert’s First Symphony, composed when the composer was only 16, is, in Jacobs’ performance, alive and bright. Jacobs finds surprising depths in the slow movement within the confines of its siciliano character, and finds huge drama in the finale, which positively blazes with commitment.

The Sixth has always received fewer performances than it deserves, despite the support of Beecham and Abbado. Jacobs’ reading of the first movement is vibrant; it opens with the drama of one of Schubert’s stand-alone Overtures. The pointed wind phrasing would surely please Beecham himself, although the Andante is not quite as suave as Abbado. The finale is charming but needs a touch more vim.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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