Here's your disc of the week for Feb. 10, 2013. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.
Artists: Royal Flemish Philharmonic conducted by Philippe Herreweghe.
Repertoire: Symphonies No. 6 (The Little) and 7 (Unfinished) by Franz Schubert.
Label: Pentatone Classics.
The Flemish-born conductor Philippe Herreweghe began his performance career as an early music specialist focusing on the music of the Renaissance and baroque eras. As one of the founding fathers of the authentic performance practice movement in the 1970s, he became a widely admired expert on the music of J.S. Bach. But in recent years he's increasingly turned his attention to the music of the Romantic and modern eras, becoming one of the most widely accomplished European conductors around.
This owlish, rather imposing figure on the podium (he maintained parallel studies in medicine and psychiatry while attending music school) has recently begun a series of recordings of Schubert symphonies on the Pentatone Classics label with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, based out of Antwerp, and a splendid undertaking it is.
Written four years apart, the two Symphonies on the latest release show how Schubert straddled both the classical and Romantic eras. The sixth is all classical charm and elegance, while the seventh is more darkly Romantic and intense. Herreweghe finds just the right approach for both, and this modern instrument orchestra responds with lithe buoyancy and complex textures. Beautifully recorded, this Schubert shimmers.
Schubert: Symphony No. 6, fourth movement, Allegro moderato
The Atrium Quartet plays Schubert's Death and the Maiden, recorded at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2010
Bach's St. Matthew Passion as conducted by Herreweghe with the Collegium Vocale Ghent and starring Canadian tenor Colin Balzer
Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 featuring the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Philippe Herreweghe