Jeffrey Lee | Asheville area, NC USA | 08/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One issue raised by some about Knappertsbusch concerns his intermittent tendency toward slow tempos. While there may be a few areas where I don't support his slowness in Bruckner, I find that the pace he employs generally constitutes a chief contributing factor in his ability to reveal a wider awareness of the majesty, mystery and scale of Bruckner's music as well as its rustic quality. Listen, for example, to the expressiveness of the dance-like theme in the third movement. Otherwise, by presenting certain repeated melodies in somewhat varied fashion, Knappertsbusch avoids the monotony displayed by others in the same movement. Then, there is his broadening of the beginning scenario of the closing movement, which enhances the sense of enveloping grandeur. These are but a few of the attractive features of this Bruckner Fourth. Both here and in other of the composer's symphonies, Knappertsbusch frequently does something for me that quite a few others conducting Bruckner do not do or have not done---create a vivid atmosphere of primeval presence. As much as I greatly enjoy a good deal of Jochum's Bruckner, I don't get, in quite the same degree, that particular sort of magical quality. All considered, though I would have liked just a bit more tautness in some areas, I find this performance of the Bruckner Fourth mostly a very stimulating one."