Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 Antwerp Symphony Orchestra & Philippe Herreweghe
- Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Symphony No. 2 in B-Flat Major, D. 125:
- 1I. Largo - Allegro vivace14:08
- 2II. Andante07:46
- 3III. Menuetto. Allegro vivace02:28
- 4IV. Presto vivace08:11
- Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major, D. 485:
- 5I. Allegro07:23
- 6II. Andante con moto08:44
- 7III. Menuetto. Allegro molto04:55
- 8IV. Allegro vivace06:00
Info for Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5
After the success of his recordings of Symphonies nos. 1, 3 and 4, released on the Phi label in 2016, Philippe Herreweghe offers us the next instalment of Schubert’s orchestral output with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic: the Symphony no.2 D. 125 and Symphony no.5 D. 485 – both in B flat major. Like those on the previous disc, these works from his youth – written when the Viennese composer was not yet twenty years old – mark the promising beginnings of an already highly accomplished composer. They demonstrate finesse of large-scale symphonic construction, even though the Fifth is the least heavily scored of the cycle – it is the only one that does not call for clarinets, trumpets and timpani. The Second, with its light character, requires just as much subtlety from the orchestra – which Philippe Herreweghe and the Philharmonic provide with their accurate and intelligent playing throughout this album.
A new homage from the Belgian conductor to the genius of the Viennese composer, whose later symphonies are better-known to us, while his earlier works are – quite unfairly - not played or recorded enough!
Antwerp Symphony Orchestra
Phillipe Herreweghe, conductor
was born in Ghent and studied at both the university and music conservatory there, studying piano with Marcel Gazelle. He also started to conduct during this period, and founded Collegium Vocale Gent in 1970. He was invited by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt, who had noticed his innovative work, to participate in their recordings of the complete cantatas of J.S. Bach.
Herreweghe’s energetic, authentic and rhetorical approach to baroque music was soon drawing praise. In 1977 he founded the ensemble La Chapelle Royale in Paris, with whom he performed music of the French Golden Age. From 1982 to 2002 he was artistic director of the Académies Musicales de Saintes. During this period, he founded several new ensembles with whom he made historically appropriate and well-thought-out interpretations of repertoire stretching from the Renaissance to contemporary music. They include the Ensemble Vocal Européen, specialised in Renaissance polyphony, and the Orchestre des Champs Élysées, founded in 1991 with the aim of playing Romantic and pre-Romantic repertoire on original instruments. Since 2009, Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent have been actively working on the development of a large European-level symphonic choir, at the invitation of the prestigious Accademia Chigiana in Siena and from 2011 with the support of the European Union’s Cultural Programm.
Philippe Herreweghe continually seeks out new musical challenges, and for some time has been very active performing the great symphonic works, from Beethoven to Gustav Mahler. Since 1997 he is principal conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. He was appointed permanent guest conductor of the Netherlands’ Radio Chamber Philharmonic since 2008. He is also in great demand as a guest conductor with orchestras such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig and the Berlin-based Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Over the years, Philippe Herreweghe has built up an extensive discography of more than 100 recordings with all these different ensembles, on such labels as Harmonia Mundi France, Virgin Classics and Pentatone. Highlights include the Lagrime di San Pietro of Lassus, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Schumann, Mahler’s song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5, Pierrot Lunaire by Schönberg and the Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky. In 2010 he founded together with Outhere Music his own label φ (PHI), in order to give himself full artistic freedom to build up a rich and varied catalogue. Since then some ten new recordings with music by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Gesualdo, Mahler, Mozart or Victoria have become available. In 2014 two new recordings will appear: another volume with J.S.Bach’s Leipzig Cantatas (LPH012) and Joseph Haydn’s oratorio Die Jahreszeiten (LPH013).
Philippe Herreweghe has received numerous European awards for his consistent artistic imagination and commitment. In 1990 the European music press named him “Musical Personality of the Year”. Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent were appointed “Cultural Ambassadors of Flanders” in 1993. A year later he was awarded the Belgian order of Officier des Arts et Lettres, and in 1997 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Leuven. In 2003 he received the French title Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. Lastly, in 2010 the city of Leipzig awarded him its Bach-Medaille for his great service as a performer of Bach.
Antwerp Symphony Orchestra Antwerp-based orchestra deFilharmonie has decided to change its name to Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. The change, the orchestra management says, will allow the symphony orchestra to take a more prominent place in foreign venues, while retaining a strong link with its native city.
“Thanks to our residency in the new Queen Elisabeth Hall, we now take up a central place in Antwerp,” said orchestra manager Joost Maegerman. “This is the perfect opportunity to give our host city a place in our name. Antwerp Symphony Orchestra will give our ensemble as well as our city a profile outside of Antwerp.”
The Antwerp ensemble (pictured) had its origins in a decision by the management of the Antwerp zoo in the 1950s to lay on concerts in what would later become the adjacent Elisabeth Hall, using the various musical groups existing in the city. The ensemble, which is today one of the seven major cultural institutions of the Flemish Community, would become a fixed entity in 1956, and finally adopt the name Koninklijke Filharmonie van Vlaanderen (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders) in 2002, known familiarly as deFilharmonie.
The adoption of an English-language name for the orchestra recalls the same decision taken in 2008 by the Vlaams Radio Orkest (Flemish Radio Orchestra) to change its name to Brussels Philharmonic (another group with the name Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra was already in existence). The reasons given then were the same: to allow a broader international profile, while retaining a link to the orchestra’s home city.