Originally published on May 14

Having recorded Schumann’s Symphonies with the Munich Philharmonic, https://www.colinscolumn.com/pablo-heras-casado-the-munich-philharmonic-record-robert-schumanns-four-symphonies-for-harmonia-mundi/, Pablo Heras-Casado now shoves his gearstick into reverse for a couple of Schubert Symphonies with period instruments. The timbres are tangy. The first movement of the Fifth is certainly zesty, somewhat hard-driven with forceful accents, the music’s potential for charm (and it can be there) overruled for something that might be heard as ruthless (or exhilarating), however well-played. Yet the Andante flows ideally while retaining expression and the Minuet responds positively to Heras-Casado’s quick pace, so too the songlike Trio, and the Finale sprints along, bustling with action like the first movement, which is fine and laudably achieved with energy and unanimity. If only that opening Allegro had been rather more relaxed and affectionate. If being historically informed equates to nippier-than-usual speeds then this ‘Unfinished’ (here No.7, which is quite normal now in German-speaking countries) contradicts such thoughts. Not that Heras-Casado indulges the first movement but he does give it time; and it’s also exceptionally impassioned and dramatic, with timpani and trombones as powerful contributors, and a second movement that’s just about right in its con moto tempo, otherworldly reflection and emotional outbursts; nothing emaciated. Harmonia Mundi HMM 902694 is released on June 2.