Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Anton Bruckner, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra|
Bruckner's "Cheeky" Symphony
Thomas F. Bertonneau | Oswego, NY United States | 03/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anton Bruckner's (1824-1896) Sixth Symphony (1879-81) in A Major is simultaneously the most Romantic and the most modern of its author's canonical nine. In its striving and aspiration, it exceeds the Romanticism of the Fourth; in its rhythmic precociousness, it exceeds the modernism of the Ninth, with its demonic, pounding Scherzo. Listen to the telegraph-rhythms of the opening Maestoso, over which the horns blaze forth the first subject of the movement. The urgency of the marcato iterations is the modern element, the Alpine horn-theme is the Romantic element. In his study of the composer, Derek Watson argues that "the metrical complexities [of the First Movement] are more marked... than in any other [Bruckner] work" and guesses that "this may be a factor in the strange neglect the [Sixth] has suffered." Watson mentioned the Sixth's "abundance of warm and memorable themes." F. Charles Adler recorded the Sixth (mono) in the early 1950s in Vienna. Otto Klemperer made the definitive recording of the 1960s (stereo) with the New Philharmonia on EMI/Angel, a performance which still ranks near the summit. In recent times, the Sixth has been better served. Sergiu Celibidache's Munich performance, on EMI, is the least idiosyncratic in that Bruckner-cycle and is convincing all by itself. Georg Tintner on Naxos is a superior entry-level CD of the work. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's account with the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, because of both its interpretive excellence and its low price, takes the front position in the current pack. Like Tintner, Skrowaczewski has recorded a cycle of the Bruckner nine, produced and distributed by the Arte Nova budget label. (Symphonies nos. 1, 2, and 9 in this cycle are taken, however, by Hiroshi Wakasugi.) In all of these readings, Skrowaczewski exploits the rich string-band and precision brass-choir of the Saarbrüken ensemble in traversals that pace the music perfectly, so as not to anticipate the actual climaxes of Bruckner's many-tiered symphonic structures. When we reach the blazing march at the conclusion of the Fourth Movement, a new level of intensity is reached. Some conductors (Karajan and Solti, for example) spoil the Sixth by coming on too strong too soon. The opening Maestoso should be tense, not frenetic. The Adagio needs to be muscular but calm. The Scherzo should not be pressed too strenuously... Otherwise, the Finale seems like anti-climax. Bruckner referred to the Sixth as his "Cheeky One." It's marvelous openness supports the appellation. I strongly recommend this disc to all prospective buyers, especially to newcomers to Bruckner's Sixth, who can use it as their benchmark as they add additional performances of the same work to their CD libraries. (P.S. Skrowaczewski has recorded Bruckner's Third and Ninth Symphonies with the Minnesota Orchestra for a different label at full price. I read somewhere that Arte Nova has downsized their Nirth American distribution - so acquire the Skrowacewski/Bruckner CDs while they remain.)"
I'm still searching
Dace Gisclard | Houston, TX | 08/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am a fanatical Brucknerite. So far, of Skrowaczewski's Bruckner series I have heard only Nos.1, 5, 6, 7 and 8. I love most of these recordings dearly, and heartily recommend this highly satisfying series to anyone. Still, I find his No.6 disappointing--but then, I find every recording of this work disappointing, except for one which I will mention later. The reader should bear in mind that this is my very favorite Bruckner symphony, so I may be being unduly hard to please. If I haven't heard every recording ever made of this work, I've heard a LOT of them (Celibidache, Davis, Dohnanyi, Haitink, Sawallisch, Lopez-Cobos, Chailly, Tintner I, Tintner II [NAXOS], Klemperer, Eschenbach, Wand, and Blomstedt, to name only those that come to mind). I have owned and discarded all of these. The only one I have kept is Skrowaczewski's. This is not because I consider his recording the last word, but simply that in the last three movements he really is the best I've heard compared with the ONE recording of this work that gets it ALL right--the Holy Grail among recordings of the Bruckner 6th is that by Horst Stein with the Vienna Philharmonic for DECCA. Every Brucknerite I've ever played my well-worn LP for admits it's the best ever--and don't just take my word for it--at the time of its LP release, HIGH FIDELITY magazine said this was "Bruckner conducting to rank with the best." Stein and the VPO understand that this is Bruckner's most lyrical symphony, and they give that element full rein, especially in the first movement, where everyone else tries to be uniformly granitic and monolithic--yes, there is that side to the movement, but it is not ONLY that--Stein allows the music to flex and flow, yet he never allows the foward impetus to slacken. I will continue to beg for its rerelease--meantime, Skrowaczewski's is the best acceptable stopgap among a disappointing lot--listening to any recording besides Stein's is a waste of time."
Gregory M. Zinkl | Chicago, IL | 03/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Skrowaczewski, Saarbrucken and BMG/Arte Nova score again!! This release has much in common with Skrow's 7th: radiant playing, great engineering, and a way with the music that makes you think that no other conductor could possibly ever do. Skrowaczewsi, a vastly underrated conductor if there ever was one, is the master of climax--he successfully builds massive climaxes using smaller ones to get there; an essential ability in Bruckner."