Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Anton Bruckner, Leon Botstein, London Philharmonic Orchestra|
Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 5
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Interesting and worth having
Evan Wilson | Cambridge, MA | 07/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anton Bruckner was not the most confident of composers. When conductors and audiences balked at performing and listening to his massive works, he would accept the "wisdom" of his disciples, like Franz Schalk, and allow them to "revise" his works. (Or incorporate their ideas in his own revisions.) These revisions ranged from reorchestration (including the addition of a brass band to the finale of this piece) to massive cuts, which men like Schalk felt necessary to make the works palatable to general audiences. And, it was in this form that many of Bruckner's works were performed during the first half of this century. Through the century, however, editors like Robert Haas and Leopold Novak, have sought to purge Bruckner's works of these outside influences and "reveal" the works as they were originally written. Modern conductors now tend to choose scores edited by either Haas or Novak and chastise the Schalk editions as corrupt (and a whole horde of less generous terms!)Now, along comes Leon Botstein with a recording of the Schalk edition of the 5th. Why? The program notes essentially argue that hearing Schalk's edition gives us a window into the music culture of the early century when audiences looked to be overwhlemed by their concert experience. Only recently have we become elitist about the purity (and spirituality) of the music, the notes claim--accurately, I think.The end result is very interesting, if not wholly successful. While many of Schalk's changes aren't readily apparent if you do not know the original score intimately, it is hard to miss the massive cut in the finale, where the counterpoint of the development runs suddenly into the Coda, much of the recapitulation. While the notes suggest that this draws more attention to the massive coda, I found it uncomfortably jarring.In fact, it seemed to me that Botstein spends much of the performance trying to restrain the piece in order to make the coda even more overwhelming. He adopts quicker tempos than we usually hear in Bruckner these days which helps hold the music together. This limits the timeless quality of much of it (especially the Adagio), but makes the music feel more romantic and of its time. He also holds back on many of the early climaxes to focus attention on that coda. Overall, it's an interesting idea to hear Bruckner made palatable to audiences comfortable with the works of Brahms. Still, I wouldn't want to be without a version of the original 5th. (Dohnanyi's is wonderful, if you can find it.) This is overwhelmingly original music with incredible spiritual depth, which Schalk--in his effort to make it fit its time--didn't understand. Thus, Botstein's recording helps us recognize just how profound Bruckner's original thoughts were--making this a disc worth having if you don't have Knappertsbusch's ancient recording of this edition. The playing is good, if a bit faceless, and the recorded sound is fine."
Schalk Edition - Subdued Bruckner
D. Seymour | Atlanta, GA USA | 01/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of the 1894 Schalk Edition did not initially sound to me like quintessential Bruckner. The orchestration is slightly subdued, perhaps more polished, maybe more sophisticated. Schalk withholds the Bruckner brass stampede until the very end. It lacks the shock value of rude interruption that I generally love about Bruckner symphonies. This symphony does, however, contain some of Bruckner's best thematic material. You will not be disappointed in the structure as the themes develop from whisper to climax. Botstein gives a highly romanticized reading and Telarc's sound is definitely lush, both of which I admire."
Nice try, good sound, but go with Kna and the VPO
Howard G Brown | Port St. Lucie, FL USA | 07/25/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to hear the Schalk edition from time to time, get the Knappertsbusch recording in the Decca Classic Sound series. Kna and the Vienna Phil c. 1956 or so knew how to pace the score and how it should sound -- including the Big Bang finale with the extra brass weighing in. I've owned both, and could have saved money by staying with Knappertsbusch, which I still have.I heard Bottstein do this work in concert in New York several years ago with his American Symphony Orchestra. The performance was a great success to my mind, proving that no matter how fine your system is, all music is best heard live."