The religious and spiritual side of Bruckner
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 07/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In Hans Conrad Fischer's film, "The Life of Anton Bruckner", (ASIN: 1561278580, inaccurately labeld "The Life and Work of Anton Bruckner"), English narrator Hugh Burden begins the treatise by saying, "(Anton Bruckner) the composer of the 9th Symphony and Te Deum..." This is a reference to the two most spiritually linked elements of this composer: his final symphony, a sort of farewell to life and earth, and his mighty Te Deum, a religious work dedicated to the glory of God, that is magnificently recreated in this recording by Helmuth Rilling and his forces.
A century ago, when the idea that Bruckner's final three movement symphony was somehow incomplete, certain conductors and musicians took to combining the Symphony No. 9 and Te Deum in concert, hoping to get something akin to the Beethoven Symphony No. 9, whose opening phrase you can here in the opening pages of almost every Bruckner symphony. Even though Daniel Barenboim and others continued the practice through recordings, the experiment failed, mostly because the five movement Te Deum is an organic entity on its own, completely separate from the 9th symphony both musically and temperamentally.
The Te Deum probably receives one of the best recorded performances it has ever had on this magnificant disk by Rilling and the band, chorus and soloists with whom he has made so very many fine recordings. All the power and genteel persuasion of lighter inner movements is here for you in sound that is better than this music has ever been heard. Indeed, I've championed Rilling's choral work going back to his string of Bach cantatas in the 1970s and I don't think I have ever heard a recording he's made that sounds as good as this one.
The Psalm 150 is a 9-minute appetizer between the Te Deum and the major item on the recording, Bruckner's fabulous E minor mass for chorus and a band of wind instruments. While it lacks the drama that unfolds in his later, more mature F minor mass, this one is composed on a scale of intimaacy, as if the composer was addressing the almighty when the two were together in a closet. Once again, Rilling and his forces produce one of the best recorded ventures the music's ever had, probably better even than Eugen Jochum's famous recording from way back when.
Choral afficianados and Brucknerians should acquire this recorduing at their earliest convenience to see a side of Anton Bruckner not portrayed in the symphonies. A supreme organist by trade, Bruckner turned to composition later as a way to mimic his friend Wagner and to reach his God. It's clear in the recordings here that Helmuth Rilling understands Bruckner's quest and has done everything humanly possible to make this connection. We, as listeners and musical consumers, are the beneficiaries of this invaluable collaboration."
E MINOR MASS IS A SUBLIME MASTERPIECE!
Brucknerian2006 | florida, USA | 05/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have only just begun to listen to sacred music, and decided to start with Bruckner since his symphonic works are such great pieces. After hearing the majesty and greatness that is the F Minor mass (Celibidache), I wanted to hear more Bruckner choral works. The orchestral writing is sparse in the Mass, just winds and voices. But I think this gave Bruckner a real good chance to write perfectly for the chorus. And believe me when I say the choral writing is amazing. I look forward to learning about contrapuntal voice writing through listening to this work. The Kyrie and Gloria are second to none. Helmuth Rilling does a superb job conducting and the chorus is great. The sound, acoustics and orchestra are clear and precise. I warmly recommend this cd to anyone interested in the music."