Harnoncourt's Schubert clearly benefits from his lessions as a master of authentic performing practice; it is neatly articulated, a large orchestra sounding precise, surprisingly light in touch yet full-bodied when called for. For some his style may strike as somewhat crude, but for me he underlines any suggestions of symphonic structure there might be in existence. There is certainly no want of darkness in his account of the Unfinished symphony, but it is especially the four first symphonies that gain most in his illuminative yet dramatic approach that removes all the unnecessary skin out from the textures. His account of the fifth symphony may not be the dreamiest and other-wordly available, but even this happiest of all symphonies is given a new alternative dimension in his accentuated reading.
For me his cycle offers the ideal approach for this music.
This review was published at Amazon.co.uk as below: