One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphony No. 5 in B flat, D485 [29:32]
Symphony No. 6 in C, D589 [33:19]
Symphony No. 7 (No. 8) in B minor, “Unfinished”, D759 [24:47]
Symphony No. 8 (No. 9) in C, “Great”, D944 [51:32]
Camerata Academica des Mozarteums Salzburg/Sandor Végh
rec. dates and venues not provided
PHOENIX EDITION 437 [62:51 + 76:19]

Experience Classicsonline

Sandor Végh is not the likeliest of artists to receive the star treatment, with his odd facial expression, multitude of chins, disheveled hair, and habit of conducting with his spectacles, but his name here is printed larger than Schubert’s, and his photograph graces the cover. Végh is not the star here because someone thinks he is photogenic: rather, this release is a testament to the importance of his artistic legacy. The longtime violinist from the Végh Quartet put over five decades of service into the world of classical music before his death in 1997, and these performances of the four last Schubert symphonies are a testament to his elegant, ego-free work with the Camerata Academica des Mozarteums Salzburg, which he led for nearly two decades.

The Symphony No. 5 gets off to a rocky start, the violins not perfect in their intonation when they make their entrance; from there, however, it is mostly smooth sailing, in a genial and perfectly paced performance that is a testament to Végh’s sensitivity as a Schubertian. He will be let down by his violins again, however, in the finale, when they occasionally develop an unpleasantly scratchy tone.

The Sixth fares better: with a substantially larger orchestra - Schubert’s Fifth doesn’t call for clarinets, trumpets or timpani - and the strings in better form, this performance is substantially more enjoyable. The slow movement’s central episode is brought off with great humor and wit, descriptions which also apply to the very satisfying last two movements. The finale, in particular, comes across as a never-ending flow of jovial ideas.

The “Unfinished” is, to my mind, the highlight of the set. Played here with integrity, solid good sense, and, at the first movement’s climax, lots of drama, this “Unfinished” confirms the common remark that its nickname is inaccurate. As I listened to the stately elegance with which the slow movement sways to its close, I could not help but think that this, not the Brahms First, is “Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony”: a work mirroring, in ways, the structure of Beethoven’s piano sonatas opp. 90, 109 and 111, in that it begins in turbulence and heroic striving and ends in repose, in the gentle arms of a broad, meditative slow movement. Surely this is the closest orchestral cousin of those magnificent late Beethoven works, especially in the hands of performers as attuned as these are to both the fire of the first movement and the ageless beauty of the second. Ultimately the “Beethoven’s Tenth” title is, at least historically, folly, because the “Unfinished” was written before Beethoven’s Ninth!

The “Great” C major symphony is given a suitably great performance; one of the most magical moments is the very beginning, with a tastefully hushed horn solo and very natural entrances of all the other instruments. The introduction is a bit slower than normal, the rest of the movement a little faster, but there is certainly no loss of flow or naturalness. Though the slow movement is much slower than is the norm - Végh takes 16 minutes, compared to the nearly exactly 14 minutes of Harnoncourt and both Mackerras recordings - it never loses tension or becomes boring. Its beautiful second subject blooms with restrained elegance, as a fragile flower. The final two movements dance by with terrific rhythm, and the finale is blessed with superb oboe and flute playing - as is the entire 2CD set, in fact.

Throughout the recording of this last symphony the bass is rather more prevalent than it has been in the other three, much to my delight. It is possible, in the first movement’s introduction, to hear the double-bass pizzicatos all the way through, one of several delights of the clear recorded sound here. Audio quality in the other symphonies is variable, as these appear to be from different sessions or different concerts, but it is never less than very good and no listener will be disappointed in the sound.

The liner-notes are disappointing, however; although there is a good essay on the music, we are given no information about the provenance of the recordings, even what year(s) they were made. And, although the ‘wallet’ package is much nicer than the typical plastic jewel box, it is not particularly appetizing to open the set up and see three identical portraits of the jowled Végh staring back.

All in all, I cannot imagine this set leaping off the shelves in the hands of beginning Schubertians, owing to the distinctly unflattering cover photo of Végh, glasses in hand; I also do not think these two discs will be fully satisfying to Végh’s devoted followers, since the booklet notes offer no information whatsoever about the provenance of the performances: were they live? When were they made? Where? On the other hand, if the target audience is a crowd of discerning collectors looking for solid, sympathetic readings of these symphonies with wit and grace, this two-disc set hits home.

Brian Reinhart



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.