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12.3.04

This Man Should Have Known Suffering? 

(published first on ionarts)


click to order this recording from Amazon This is a short reflection on Franz Schubert’s Fifth Symphony, as recorded on Bruckner, Symphony No. 4 and Schubert, Symphony No. 5, with Günter Wand and the NDR Symphony Orchestra, a two-CD set from RCA, with a half-hour interview with Maestro Wand.

"My God, what delightful music!" So much will immediately cross your mind upon hearing the first 30 seconds of Schubert's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major. Joyously Mozartian one may say; a youthful drive that dances along sun-flooded streets of a town in gay summertime; or, if one should chose a slightly more drab set of ears, the perversely beautiful day of a warm fall around harvest time. It makes the birds seem to sing along, whether they want to or not, and if you are not outside already you could be forced to open the windows for a fresh and sun-warmed breeze yourself.

Your entering wife's or mother's steps must seem more graceful to the Allegro; and, granted the volume is adequately set, you may even be able to interpret her mouthed words as sweetest prose, when in fact she admonishes you to turn down the volume. The house pets—you would not be surprised at all if they did—may dance in line, one after the other, through the living room, in Zauberflötian fashion as if mobilized by Papageno's Glockenspiel. Clearly exhausted from such internal dancing and frolicking, you will certainly appreciate the calming contentness of the Andante's rest, provided in the warm air of the late afternoon well spent on a bench, undoubtedly underneath a well-aged chestnut tree. Your heart still pounding with ecstasy, you recollect and gather yourself: exhale.

But just enough to lift up, heavily still, for the Menuetto. At first as though you had preferred to stay put, you soon are too enchanted to resist. You walk with an increasing spring in your step to the location at which you think a dear girl should be waiting for a dance. Presuming the dance not to have been without merit, I shall leave it up to your kind imagination how the Finale: Allegro vivace is to be envisioned: suffice it to say that it is most pleasant and climaxes with delight. All of this is brought to you courtesy of Günter Wand and the NDR Symphony Orchestra in his last recording.

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