Schubert Symphonies (COE/Harnoncourt/Styriarte, Graz, 1988): reviews

In November, we released a 4-CD box-set of the Schubert Symphonies, recorded live by the Austrian Radio (ORF) in 1988 with Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Styriarte Festival in Graz. Since the release, we are delighted that the critics all seem unanimous so far and have received this box-set with great enthusiasm. Many compare this recording to the later ones with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras since this box-set was Harnoncourt’s very first recording of the Symphonies. Here are a few comments from the press across the globe:

“Miraculous is the only word for it.” “if pressed to choose a Harnoncourt Schubert symphony cycle this is definitely the one to go for, and it’s extremely well recorded.” (Rob Cowan, Classic FM, formerly BBC Radio 3 presenter and reviewer for Gramophone, The Independent, Classic Record Collector)

“the immediacy of the music-making and the infectious enthusiasm with which the players respond to Harnoncourt is still special.” “there are insights and truths around every corner.” “That Schubert set could easily go on my Christmas list this year.” (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review, 5/12/20)

“None of the later recordings could top or even come close to the unbelievable freshness and expression, the spontaneity and colour that Harnoncourt conveyed, years earlier, in his collaboration with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Graz.” (BR-Klassik, Album of the Week, 12/12/20)

In Japan, the Record Geijutsu reviewer even compared Harnoncourt to David Bowie, saying both “are still living and moving the world, as you hear on this CD set”!

The Symphonies have been Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice in their January 2021 issue

They have also been German radio station NDR’s CD of the week (starting 31/12/20).

For more information about the making of these symphonies back in 1988, please listen to our podcast (episodes 3 and 4) which features excerpts from the box-set as well as testimonials of COE players who took part in the recording and of COE violinist Christian Eisenberger who was crucial to the entire project.

The box-set is available for purchase and for streaming on all main platforms (Idagio, iTunes, Amazon, etc.)

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