This is the best if not one of the best recordings of Bruckn
Shota Hanai | Torrance, CA | 01/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance of Bruckner's "Romantic" Symphony is as prestigious and golden as the cover itself; the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - inarguably one of the greatest orchestras with a rich heritage and close association with several composers including Bruckner - plays with plenty of emotional warmth and power.
The brass section in particular sounds excellent in this recording. Detractors may say it's not as powerful as... let's say the Berlin Philharmonic, or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I actually prefer this more balanced "Viennese" sound.
This can be best demonstrated within the development of the first movement; after a stormy section, there is a chorale-like passage. In a remarkable fashion, the warm (and never overpowering) sound of brass and the shimmering sound of the strings results in an organ-like effect. Talk about "Cathedrals of Sound". A truly moving moment, which can only be achieved in certain recordings. The brass-heavy "German" sound given by the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan, or the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Barenboim, doesn't give that very sound which continues to fascinate me. Neither the vibrato-filled "American" sound given by Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The only other recording I cherish for the balanced sound is... probably to many people's surprise... Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
While the first, second, and the last movements are played around average length, Maestro Abbado and his orchestra decided to take the Scherzo one step faster. This picturesque movement of buglers on a hunting game is played with speed and excitement, faster than most other performances (Tintner in particular, which sounds as if the hunters are riding on elephants than on horses), but with just enough brass power you need. It's simply the most exhilerating performance of the Scherzo. I also love how the timpani exaggeratingly play the accents in the end of the "A" sections.
Dont' forget the superb acoustics, done inside the world-class Musikverein concert hall.
Simply, a Bruckner 4 recording one must own!"