"I regret having to dissent from the other enthusiastic evaluations posted about this recording, though it is important to state that there are other views.This recording sets a marginal standard for other recordings produced by the same conductor, orchestra and recording company. By Bruckner 6th standards, especially when such landmark recordings (example Klemperer) are still available, the deficiencies of this CD become only more apparent.This reading falls short of expectations on all of the characteristics that the Bruckner fan expects. Lopez-Cobos and the Cincinnati ensemble never reach the depths of mystery and sublimity, nor the towering heights that one would find from the readings of Bruckner by, for example, a Gunter Wand or Eugen Jochum. The reading by Lopez-Cobos is far too conservative and his middle-of-the road approach leaves little room for the score to breathe.Cincinnati and Lopez-Cobos have made as a team far better--indeed best-of-class--recordings of other works than this one. I have not heard other Bruckner symphonies by this pairing, though I have read record reviews that validate my reaction to the low level of vitality achieved here by this otherwise venerable orchestra-conductor team.Telarc, on average, produces very high quality recordings. One who has a lot of their recordings does know how widely varying the quality of their recordings are, especially in Atlanta. This recording, sadly, is not one of their technical successes.Regrettably, there are few modern digital recordings of this work. Buy it if there is no alternative, if you do not wish to shell out the admittedly large sum for all nine symphonies, or if you are opposed to reissues of older recordings. If you are an admirier of Bruckner, rather than of Cincinnati and Lopez-Cobos, go with the Klemperer recording on EMI."
A Great Recording
Charles A. Jackson | Las Vegas, NV United States | 10/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anton Bruckner's 6th Symphony is a tortured piece. It has been chopped up, turned inside out by not only the composer, but many well-meaning conductors. The music itself is highly fragmented and more episodic than anything in Bruckner's works. But, it is a strangely fascinating work. Amidst the typical string sonorities are very casutic outbursts from the brass that have little or nothing to do with thematic material, but are nonetheless brilliant. Sudden shifts of key abound as do incredible mood swings. I love the piece. It is like the runt of the litter that becomes the family favorite.I am generally very wary of American orchestras doing Bruckner. Recordings by American orchestras have become vanity projects for groups with aggressive brass sections, such as the musically less than astute, but brass heavy versions by Solti and Giulini in the 70's with the Chicago Symphony. Szell made a beautiful recording of the 3rd with the Cleveland Orchestra, but that is the only good American stamp on the composers music. I am happy to say that Lopez-Cobos/Cincinnati recording is a watershed moment in American orchestra performance of a Bruckner Symphony. The playing is taut, clean, in tune and passionate, especially the brass led by some of the best Principal Trumpet playing I have heard since the Herseth/Chicago/Reiner years. Lopez-Cobos blends all the various lines together without losing forward motion. The Adagio is particularly beautiful. Lopez-Cobos lets his string section play from the heart with a thick sound not often heard on these shores. The recording itself is first rate. Telarc never ceases to amaze me with their excellent recordings. This is the best Bruckner 6 on the market. It is a real coup for an American orchestra to outplay my favorite Vienna Philharmonic."
This is the best Bruckner 6 recording
Larry VanDeSande | 10/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best Bruckner 6 recording that I have ever heard. The Cincinnati strings are rich, warm, expressive and opulent, and the brass and timpani are volcanic. Clearly, this is one of the world's top orchestras. Lopez-Cobos builds the magnificent coda of the first movement (one of the great moments in music) with great flow and sensitivity to its sublime harmonic wanderings. At this point, also notice the atmospheric skill of the violins playing their gorgeous river of triplets, and at the climax, the way the seismic duples of the basses noticeably crash against the triplets everywhere else (imagine driving at 100 in 5th gear and then drop your shifter into reverse, and you'll get the same effect.) The majestic Adagio, which alternates between inconsolable sorrow and heavenly peace, sings forth very simply yet powerfully. A particularly ravishing and moving moment in the Adagio is the long, descending violin scale before the coda where the music modulates from C to D flat--the depth of the playing and conducting here always makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. If you've heard the many wonderful recordings of this piece by the likes of Karajan, Celibidache, Eschenbach, Blomstedt, Wand and Jochum, you will find that this recording stands proudly among them, and quiet probably stands first. GET THIS ONE!"
4.5 stars - the best Bruckner from Lopez-Cobos and Cincinnat
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 07/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In his years as music director for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jesus Lopez-Cobos battled local music critics while developing the most German-sounding orchestra in the United States. This, combined with a recording contract with Telarc, helped produce a number of outstanding recordings in core Germany repertory of music by Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner.
This recording, of the Bruckner Symphony No. 6 in A major, is easily the best of Lopez-Cobos' recordings in the Bruckner canon that include the symphonies 6-9. While the conductor underplayed the drama of the later symphonies, he is in sync with Bruckner's vast symphonic canvass in the sixth, producing misterioso, harmony and brass chorales that help this recording be a peer to the greatest recordings of the symphony by Klemperer, both stereo versions by Eugen Jochum, and the incomplete but compelling concert recording available on several labels by Furtwanlger.
While some notable clipped phrases at the end of development sections and the end of movements make his approach sound occasionally impatient, Lopez Cobos nonetheless teamed with the Cincinnati players to expound on the composer's ideas about mystery through musical rhetoric, which is the key to developing a standard successful approach to Bruckner.
While Mozart lovers that detest the composer typically say he is repetitive, they ignore that Bruckner builds his musical argument through repetition -- or rhetoric -- in the same way a politician bulids his or her public case through political rhetoric, or in the same way a mountain climber scales the heights, one piece at a time. Advertising executives will tell you it takes 8-10 exposures to a message before buyers remember key details of the message. Bruckner was a century ahead of his time musically in this regard, having built his orchestral case through similar constructive methods.
As always from this source, the Telarc recording is true to its period (1991) and is comprehensive in capturing both the details of orchestral splendor and the reverberative affect so necessary in projecting Bruckner's rustic but powerful musical aura. Compared to the last recording of this symphony I heard -- Bernard Haitink's superficial, expensive and poor-sounding concert recording on Profil -- this recording and performance is among the best available of the Bruckner 6th Symphony. Any buyer seeking an outstanding modern sounding version of this music need look no further than this now very economical issue."