Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Anton Bruckner, Johannes Wildner, New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia|
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
Listen to Samples
Pretty exciting stuff.
Good Stuff | 02/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How does one discuss a recording of a Bruckner symphony in which the portion of most interest wasn't actually composed by Bruckner? At least not all of it.Well, this happens to be, even without the completion, a darned good Bruckner 9th. I'm not too familiar with the work of conductor Johannes Wildner, except to say he does a fine job on this set.However, the special interest here, of course, is the completion. Of course, any completion of Bruckner's 9th Symphony must be speculative. I've own the recordings by Kurt Eichhorn and Yoav Talmi. Both are good. The Eichhorn somehow seems a bit more "authentic", if that is the right word. The Talmi, though a bit scrappy, is, at least to these ears, more exciting, with a brighter arrangement of the existing music written by Bruckner for the finale. I must admit to liking both, but for the different reasons stated above.This performance, it seems to me, is the best of the three. The orchestra isn't quite as polished as Eichhorn's, but seems a bit more comfortable with the music than Talmi's Norwegian forces, although, again, what they may slightly lack in finesse they more than make up for in exhuberance. Wildner's orchestra seems to fall comfortably in the middle. It is fully capable of playing Bruckner's immensely difficult music, and it seems to fully enjoy doing so.I found Wildner's conducting to be impassioned, nuanced, insightful, and fully up to the challange. This version of the finale is probably the best yet. Of course, none can ever be definitive. But this, I would think, barring further discoveries, is probably as close as we are likely to get. It weaves Bruckner's existing music into a very authentic sounding and idiomatic final movement that fully brings Bruckner's symphony, and his career, to a fitting, beautiful, and rather exciting conclusion.At the price, I just don't see how you can go wrong.A very quick word about the recent Harnencourt recording of the 9th, which I find to be vastly overrated. The recording of the fragments is (are?) very good. However, why Harnencourt didn't opt to record a completed performance is beyond me. I just don't see the point. Without trying to sound too "elitist", it is, for all intents and purposes, about as fulfilling as sitting in a music appreciation class and having the teacher play four minutes of the Beethoven 5th as an example of everything Beethoven wrote. If Harnencourt is offering a lesson in musical composition by simply recording these fragments, well, thanks but no thanks. Been there, done that.
But, of course, that is just me."
Good Stuff | 02/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Authenticity' is a vague idea where Bruckner's symphonies are concerned. There remain undecidable questions of text and versions in the case of most of the nine. These uncertainties are not all on account of `friends' meddling with Bruckner's scores after he had achieved what satisfied him as a definitive form of the work. Bruckner was himself a persistent, dissatisfied reviser.The indisputable fact that the `reconstructed' finale cannot be considered `definitive' is therefore of no overwhelming significance. The facts of the case are that the finale of the 9th was completed by Bruckner in full score up to the beginning of the coda (a fact H. F. Redlich pointed out 50 years ago: `Bruckner and Mahler', Master Musicians, Dent). The finale of Bruckner's 9th was therefore left in a more complete state than Mahler's 10th. The thorough notes accompanying this recording present a strong and largely convincing musicological case for this reconstruction.But what matters more for the listener is whether the reconstruction in the setting of the entire symphony is emotionally and psychologically sound. From that perspective the reconstruction is a resounding triumph. It places the symphony as a whole firmly in the authentic stream of Bruckner's symphonic visions of faith triumphant; the finale's coda bringing the symphony, and therefore Bruckner's entire symphonic output, to a moment of glorious and resplendent magnificence, a summit of transfigured splendour and arrival.The themes Bruckner builds with in this most magisterial finale are wonderfully characteristic products of his most mature contemplations, certainly there is no evidence of any diminution of his creative skills. The awe-inspiring `Choralthema' (as Bruckner himself refers to it in the autograph score) is one of his most overwhelming creations, magnificent in the strength needed to support the cathedral massiveness of the movement; a movement that teems with the light and shadows of something Gothic and mysterious.Throughout the symphony Wildner and the Westphalians give a thoroughly convincing performance. Tempi and phrasing are finely judged, the orchestra delighting in an authentically Brucknerian sound-world - magnificent brass and characterful woodwinds. The recording integrates the largest-scale perspective with accurately focused fine-detail - there is wonderful resonance and `purchase' in the string tone at the opening of the Adagio, while timpani detonate with blistering impact (first movement) or whisper with membranous delicacy (when they take up the theme in the Scherzo).The disc is a revelation! It would have been worse than a waste of time if it had failed to be. This performance comes so near to permitting us to hear a `complete Bruckner' as perhaps makes no odds."
Wildner's ferocious Bruckner
Neil E. Schore | Davis, CA USA | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having read the negative review on this page, I put this recording on again. (I've already written about it at some length in comparing it to Harnoncourt's recent recording--see that listing). Lookit, people, everybody is entitled to their opinion. Nonetheless, there are a few performances out there that really get my heart rate up, and this is one of them. Bruckner's music should have real impact, and it's all here. Wildner's tempos are NOT slow; his timings are 23-11-25=59 min for movements 1-3 (for slow, try Giulini on DG from 1989--which is a superb accomplishment in its own peculiar way, if you can handle 28-11-30=69 min). Compare, for example, Harnoncourt's 24-11-24=59, Walter's 24-12-23=59, Horenstein's 25-11-24=60 (BBC), and Furtwangler's legendary and unique performance at 24-9-26=59. By the way, that 9-minute Scherzo on the Furtwangler is about as terror-inducing a performance of anything as has ever been recorded. No, what Wildner does is shape the music, allowing it to breathe quite naturally. The recording is technically effective, dynamic shadings are quite apparent, secondary lines come out because the orchestra is together and very good, and the recording (and the recording space) very clear but not dry. And you also get the substantial bonus of an effective performing version of the 4th movement. Your call, but for 12 bucks I don't think you can go wrong."