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I first heard it on Beecham's record (coupled at the time with the 5th and with a lovely Mediterranean deep blue sky dominating the cover picture of Sir Thomas if I remember rightly). That remains a special recording for me but I have found many others over the years including (from memory) Harnoncourt's with the Berlin Phil and Kertesz. There are quite a few that leave me a little cold (but no need to mention them) and some that I find "good but ...".
 

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^ Interesting, Merl: you prefer Harnoncourt's Concertgebouw set to the Berlin one. It has a lot to recommend in it (including a stunning 4th) but is a lot darker than the Berlin set and falls down (IMO) on its 8th and 9th. I certainly agree that Muti can be bettered, even by the rather slick Abbado!
 

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Those recommendations were based on a mix of price /availability /quality. Like you, Enthusiast, I much prefer the Berlin set but last time I looked it was stupidly expensive and you could pick the Concertgebouw cycle up really cheap (I paid an obscene £3 for it). That was some time ago and I'm probably out of step with prices so yeah, if the Berlin one is at a good price, I'd go for that but I suspect it'll still be stupidly priced. I love the Suitner but thats really overpriced. The Abbado is a bit 'slick' but it's a decent set and you can usually get it at a good price. Blomstedt has always been great value and you still see it at cheap prices. That's the problem with the Schubert cycles, they don't seem to hang around long on the catalogue. Some cycles disappeared rapidly (Viotti, Bott, Zander, Maag, Zinman, etc) and now command daft prices.
Ah, OK. The two best sets that I know IMO are that Berlin Harnoncourt one (currently £35 from Presto but double that from Amazon UK) and the Kertesz one (Amazon UK has a used - vg condition - one for £30). I don't know the Suitner (I really must search it out for a listen after your praise) and as you say it seems to be OOP.

I know others that have merits - Zinman, van Immerseel etc - but they also seem to be OOP. Minkowski's set can be had for a little under £30 and is good if occasionally a little driven. And then there is Menuhin (the one with Sinfonia Varvosa) which I like a lot and has an extraordinarily fast 9th (fast but it works!) and can be had from Amazon UK for £15 (less for used). Finally there is Bohm - some find it dull but it has a certain style in the way that much of Bohm's work for Classical period music did - that can be had for under £20 and has a great 9th and a pretty good 8th.

As you say recordings come and go very quickly and I have found it impossible to keep up. Some sets get started (recently Holliger and Jacobs) but then get lost. But the thing is for me is that symphonies 1-6 are slight works and need a special touch to really flower. That's why Berlin Harnoncourt and Kertesz are worth the money for me.
 

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Sorry for the double-post. Of the 10 sets I have on cd (pic below) I have an eye for a bargain and none of these sets cost me more than a fiver and some were ridiculously priced (the Marriner being the silliest price at only £3). I have most of the other cycles on the HD but I've never been able to get hold of a few due to their rarity. The Davis set was a similarly silly £2 and I really like him in the symphonies up to #6. The other issue with the Muti, btw, is that the 9th is stupidly split over 2 discs. As I mentioned in another thread, some time back, I got around that by burning the whole symphony onto a spare blank disc (not that I ever play it these days). My current set on the car USB is Zander, which is pretty decent. Before that I'd had the Herreweghe, Dausgaard and Immerseel sets in the car. The Immerseel and Dausgaard are the priciest sets I've bought on download. Got the others way cheaper.
Our posts crossed. You obviously got a bargain with the Marriner set - I've been looking at it for years and it has often been over £100 (as it is now).

And. oh yes, I had forgotten the Davis set ... also one I remember as being very good. I must replay some of it to refresh my memory.
 

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I've probably said this already (in this thread or elsewhere?) but there are many good recordings of Schubert 3 but there are very few that really make it sparkle as it can. Without that sparkle it is a good young Romantic composer's symphony but it can rise to the top of that pile in the right hands.
 
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