Volume 1 of this set was immensely enjoyable (see
); but nowhere near as much as the present volume. The
rough chronological order, so that whilst those in the first
disc were undoubtedly enjoyable, it has to be admitted that none
could be described showing the composer at the top of his art.
When we come to the present disc, however, we find not only several
pieces which are deservedly very familiar and often played, in
particular the two Overtures in the Italian Style
that usually known as “Rosamunde” (D644), but above
all the immensely impressive Overture to “Fierabras”.
Whilst the opera to which it belongs may be a lost cause it is
extraordinary that the Overture is not played more often. It
has all the characteristics and quality of Schubert’s later
Symphonies and Piano Sonatas. The present performance combines
urgency and sensitivity and if you do not have a recording already
the disc would probably be worth having for it alone.
The first three Overtures on the disc are all relatively lightweight
but utterly delightful. Although the two “in the Italian
Style” do make use of some of the manner of Rossini Overtures
who was very popular in Vienna at the time, they now seem even
more “in the early Schubert Symphony style”, with
delightfully fresh melodies, copious use of solo wind instruments,
and a prevailing cheerfulness of manner. The two “Rosamunde” Overtures
are too well known to need comment, but like all the rest they
are played here with great panache. Amazingly despite certain
superficial similarities between all the various Overtures I
found that the disc was one which it was a great pleasure to
play through as a whole.
The recording is clear without being too close, and the booklet
notes are helpful and well laid out. To have all of Schubert’s
Overtures on disc may seem a luxury, but with performances like
this you can only wonder why it has not been done before.