A Blazing Bruckner Performance!
Paul A. Roy | Wonder Lake, IL United States | 07/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bombastic, brilliant, and compelling are the first words that come to mind when I think of this symphony. Any true Brucknerian fan would recognize this master's true signature, and recognize a well-defined cornerstone in Anton's symphonic development and style. This symphony denotes a turning point, or an astute moment of musical enlightenment in where Bruckner knows his symphonic direction. There are many reasons why I believe this is so, but probably the most obvious is his excellent command and management of a theme. In the first movement, the symphony begins with a very recognizable and singable theme that hooks you immediately. This theme is then revisited at different times throughout the symphony in variations. This is nearly the identical approach Anton would use in his later 4th and 5th symphonies, both of which I consider his masterpieces.Those who know Bruckner's story are very familiar of the composer's modest beginnings, and how he first came to music as an organist. This symphony depicts quite obviously the composer's unique approach to orchestration in where he attempts to recreate the sound of a GIANT symphonic organ with the orchestra. The finale, or last movement, features an interesting passage in where Bruckner commands the strings to play an interesting string of concussive notes, which in turn are followed by brass instruments roughly 1/2 count later, creating the sound of a giant organ echoing in some massive hall. The phenomenon is incredibly unique, undoubtedly brilliant, and is executed with near perfection by this orchestra and conductor.Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic completed the entire 9-symphony cycle, and this recording is one of my favorites within this cycle. The fidelity of the recording is quite good, with exceptional gain in the brass. Don't be afraid to turn it up! But beware, this symphony gets mighty loud in spots, and may annoy your less appreciative neighbors.Barenboim's interpretation of this symphony, as in many other's of this cycle, I believe illustrates his understanding of how Bruckner should be performed. The orchestra and its director capture all of the noted Bruckner sonic icons such as: romance, suspense, vigor, gigantisms, simplicity in complex form, and many others..Barenboim selects Bruckner's first, original, unrevised version of this symphony, and is identical to the version that Anton himself dedicated to Wagner who was by far his favorite composer.If you already like Bruckner, or haven't heard any of it yet, but really like Beethoven, or others of this genre, this is a must have. The CD itself (like most of the Teldec recordings of Bruckner) comes with good liner notes, and informative historical background of the symphony from the time it was composed.Definitely FIVE stars.PR"