Very rarely does one come across a complete symphony collection from any composer where the entire set can be said to be definitive without caveat.
I have heard Abbado, Harnoncourt, Muti in full sets and many, many individual performances from Beecham to the original instrument brigade and this release trumps them all. If you love Schubert, do not hesitate. You will hear counterpoint, individual parts and other details you have not heard before. The transparency is astonishing.And the phrasing and rhythm are mind-blowing.
The early classical symphonies are taken at a pretty good clip, but without slurring and exhibiting playing of incredible skill. I particularly enjoyed #2, apparently devilishly difficult to play, and always a favorite of mine. Not until the "Unfinished" does Minkowski slow it down. In fact the first movement is slower than average, and much slower than Carlos Kleiber, a previous top contender. But what a performance! The Great C Major also starts at a more deliberate pace than some, but picks up as it goes along. There are a lot of great versions of this last symphony, but this is now at the top of my list.
I would recommend listening to this set from the beginning to fully appreciate the journey that Schubert took. If you're like me, you'll have a tough time taking a break!
I had not heard of this orchestra or conductor before, but I'll be looking into more of their work.
The recording is immaculate - nothing is hidden in these scores.The contrapuntal details from all the string sections and individual woodwinds are laid bare.
I'm not going to dissect each symphony - they are all wonderful. If you want to sample the tracks, go to AllMusic.com and input Schubert Symphonies Minkowski. You'll get 30secs. or so of each movement. If you're not motivated to go to Amazon and buy this set for $30 or so after listening, you don't like Schubert!
My new release find of the year!