A live, period-instrument Schubert cycle that takes risks.

What a journey is traversed in Schubert’s nine symphonies, from the adolescent pomposity of the opening flourish of the First, through the genuine drama of the Fifth and onto the pure, unadulterated inspiration of the final two. And along the way are the under-appreciated gems, the Third in particular that, please forgive me, beats hands- down anything that Mozart or Mendelssohn had written in the symphonic form by the same age of barely 20. No wonder so many of the great conductors have had a crack at the complete set, and let’s just list von Karajan, Böhm, Barenboim, Muti, Abbado and Harnoncourt for starters, not to mention the Peter Maag LP-era and the Jos van Immerseel sets. So Marc Minkoswki and Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble are mixing it with the big boys in this new boxed set recorded live in March 2012 in Vienna’s Konzerthaus. Good thing they know what they’re doing.

Using the same technique they applied to Haydn’s LondonSymphonies, the 30-year-old French group performed the entire series in a week and recorded the lot, the upshot of the spontaneity being some really exciting performances, and the...

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