Historic Bruckner downloads

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Historic Bruckner downloads

For someone who can't stop collecting recordings of Bruckner's symphonies, a website like

http://www.abruckner.com/downloads/downloadofthemonth/

is a real treasure trove: mostly obscure, sometimes very rare recordings which are either public domain or failed to make the transition from LP to CD, available as free downloads/streams in good 320kbps.

The most recent additions are among the most interesting: recordings of symphonies 2, 3, 5 and 6 by Georg-Ludwig Jochum (the lesser known Jochum brother), which have a Furtwängler-like intensity. The 2nd, 5th and 6th are played (in 1944) by the Linz Reich Bruckner orchestra, Hitler's elite ensemble, which was a first class ensemble, and the recordings (in acceptable mono) reflect that. His 2nd was the first recording ever of that symphony. The 5th and 6th are absolutely wonderful, among the best I know. The 3rd is a much later recording (1964) in rather bad sound, which makes one regret Jochum post-war career wasn't documented in good stereo sound.

It's said that Jochum made around 90 recordings with the Reichs orchestra. Makes one wonder how much of that material is still collecting dust in some Russian archive - or how much has been used by the Soviets for target practice?

So far I've only sampled some of the other recordings, like a very curious 6th under Swobolda, which was the first commercial version available (1950) and which sets records for slowest scherzo and almost slowest adagio ever (Celibidache beats him at that). See if you can stay awake during this one.

Wouldn't it be fun if we listened to some recordings from this collection and commented on them?

 

 

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

If I had a better internet connection, I certainly would :(

'Art doesn't need philosophers. It just needs to communicate from soul to soul.' Alejandro Jodorowsky

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

eyeresist wrote:

If I had a better internet connection, I certainly would :(

I guess that excludes streaming the music, but how about downloading samples? As simple as right click > save as. Or do you have a data cap?

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

This is indeed a fascinating resource 50m.  It was quite a surprise to me just how many early recordings there were of Bruckner symphonies. I've used that website for some time, mostly for details about versions used in different recordings, and for scores, but I'd never noticed these downloads.

I'm not sure I'm ready just yet for more 'listening project' sessions: indeed I've suggested to Brumas that we take a short break! Nevertheless, I'll certainly come back to some of these, notably the relatively neglected 6th, so elusive in performance. On the other hand, if there is some measure of agreement about a particular download to discuss, I'd be willing to have a go!

Thanks for bringing these to our notice.

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

Chris, collecting recordings of the 6th is one of my pet projects - and I was surprised to find the two earliest complete recordings on that page (not counting Furtwängler's 3-movement torso from 1943).

The 6th under Georg Ludwig Jochum is the earliest complete recording, the 6th with Henry Swoboda is the first commercially available version.

The styles of those two couldn't be more wide apart. Jochum's wartime 6th has a strong forward drive, complete with the occasional "jochumitis" (crescendo and accelerando going hand in hand - something that apparently runs in the family). It irritated me at first, but on re-listening I found it more functional than distracting. The effect is more subtle here than in his big brother's later (Dresden!) recordings anyway.

The more I listen to this amazing performance, the more I think it's preferable even over Furtwängler's version. I don't think Furtwängler's style suited the 6th very much, and the result is a performance that feels overblown at times. Jochum's is more balanced, and has a wonderful adagio that challenges Furtwängler's in intensity. The scherzo is a virtuoso excercise for his extremely skilled players (listen to the climax moments of the first movement too for more examples of brilliant orchestral playing). I'd say that the Reichs Orchestra had better players at the key positions than Furtwängler's Berliners, judging on the surviving recordings.

Then you've got Swoboda's 1950 performance, and - oh boy, I can see why the 6th once had a bad reputation among Bruckner's symphonies, if this record was the only version people could listen to for many years.

The orchestra (Vienna Symphony) isn't very good and Swoboda's direction appears uninvolved and uncertain (listen to the lack of rhythmical precision in the first movement and scherzo...) In the adagio he chooses the slowest tempo this side of Celibidache, and while Celi managed to keep the music flowing even at glacial tempi, Swoboda's adagio just drags along, plain boring, and that's no small feat, regarding the heavenly qualities of this music. The scherzo is the absoltest slowest ever (one of just 2 version over 10 minutes see http://www.abruckner.com/discography/symphonyno6inamajo/ ) and the orchestra can't handle the rhytmical complexity of the movement. Surprisingly, the most difficult movement, the finale (infamous Destroyer of Titans, far too many big name conductors were clueless how to handle it) comes off best, but it's still no match for Jochum.

To "clean my ears" after Swoboda, I listened to Georg Jochum's 5th (also 1944, with the Reich orchestra). Same excellent orchestral playing as in the 6th, sometimes you get the feeling you're listening to an American orchestra in their glory days, Cleveland or Boston. The precision with which Jochum sets those isolated fragments (brass!) apart in the first movement is amazing. The movement sounds lean, tense, never pompous, very "modern". The other movements fare equally well, culminating in a majestic (but again, never pompous) finale. Tension never relaxes, but the music never gets whipped forward mercilessly either, as is sometimes the case with Furtwängler. Again, I ask myself if thiserecording isn't to be prefered over Furtwängler's famous 1942 version. It's certainly better recorded, in broad and dynamic sounding mono with just some shrillness in the upper regions.

This site is great help too for determining the dates and status of a historical Bruckner recording: http://home.arcor.de/lionel.tacchini/Historical_Bruckner.html

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

Very kind and thoughtful of you, Chris, to send your wishes for the "Orthodox country members". I wonder if there is any actual "orthodox christian" member, though. However, I have some good friends/musicians in Athens. They are quite religious too, by the way.

(Sorry for the digression, but we don't find this kind of nobility and thoughtfulness that often in this forum. I felt compelled to commend you, Chris).

Parla

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

50m

Can you recommend a good (fairly modern) Bruckner 6? My favourite at the moment is Escenbach with the LPO, but I am always interested in more.......

thanks

Jane

 

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

50m

Can you recommend a good (fairly modern) Bruckner 6? My favourite at the moment is Escenbach with the LPO, but I am always interested in more.......

thanks

Jane

Hehe, don't get me started...

I don't have one solid favorite, but if I had to chose 3 versions, I'd probably go for Keilberth (BPO, 1963, Teldec), Stein (VPO, 1972, Decca) or Sawallisch (Bayerisches Staatsorchester, 1981, Orfeo).

Keilberth is monumental, his Bruckner has real grandeur, like the famous Klemperer (EMI, a tad overrated), but with slightly more warmth, and like Klemperer he chooses a rather fast tempo for the adagio. A bit too fast for my taste. If you want more lyricism and elegance, Sawallisch is your man: a sublime adagio and scherzo, but beware: the first movement is played VERY fast. Yet it still convinces me 100% (I'm not a fan of slow outer movements in Bruckner anyway). The more I listen to this recording, the more I'm inclined to call it my favorite. The orchestral playing is marvellous, it's like the orchestra was made to play Bruckner (Sawallisch' 1st with the same orchestra is my favorite 1st).

Stein's is the middle-of-the-road version in which everything is done right. Nothing overly exciting or extraordinary, just pure quality. Good recording and  brilliant playing from the VPO. You can't go wrong with Stein, while the other two could be a turn-off depending on one's taste.

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

If I am allowed to offer my suggestions on the 6th, at least from the point of view of some very good to exemplary recordings and performances that may suit to those who believe in the relative power of taste, these may be some viable fairly recent options:

- Muti with BPO (on EMI with a quite impressive account of the 4th, at mid-price).

- Wand with the Philh. of Munich (on Profil). He performs the original version.

- Haitink with the great Dresden Staatskapelle (on Profil too).

- Janowski with the Orch. of the Suisse Romande, in a spectacular SACD recording of Pentatone.

- Blomstedt with the superb Gewandhaus of Leipzig, in a very detailed SACD recording of Querstand.

Finally, to my surprise, the bargain recently released box of Maazel with the Bayerischen Rundfunks (in Live recordings of 1999, in Munich), are quite good, in impressive recordings, on BR. The Sixth is among the very best of the set. Inbal's box on Warner is also a welcome one, with some very fine performances, including the Sixth.

For all it's worth...You never know...

Parla

P.S.: Sometime soon, Simonde Young's recording should be released, as part of her complete cycle. She performs only the original versions. So far, her recordings are quite impressive and convincing. Her live Bruckner (3rd) was utterly convincing too (with BPO, in Berlin).

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

Bruckner's 6th is a bit underrated, deserves more attention and mainly more high level recordings. Everytime I listen to this symphony I am totally impressed by the first mouvement, much more than by the very good adagio, however the last mouvement is not in the same category imo.

The 6th does not fare very well in recordings unlike 4th, 5th, 7th....So there are not so many to choose from. I tend to second 50M's tips (excluding Keilberth's that I don't know): those are among the best available imo. Klemperer's reading is a must even if such a recommendation sounds a bit of a common place. If anything Klemperer is - as usual - a tad too heavy! One could ask for more air, but make no mistake the goose bumps are there and I often see myself coming back for this classic.

Sawallisch's recording of the 6th is highly recommended too even though I have not been listening to it for a good while 'cause I am afraid I lost that Orfeo cd (I checked: it is available at full price).

Horst Stein & VPO's 6th should be considered as a third option and when looking for this recording see if you manage to get the Decca edition: my version comes from the Australian label Eloquence: not as good sonically speaking. BTW, yesterday I was listening his Bruckner's 2nd (VPO/Eloquence): even more recommendable as good 2nds are rare.

If you can have a different view, the 6th (along with the 3rd) is one of the few Bruckner's recordings from Celibidache & Munich (EMI) I am able to appreciate.

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

Thanks for the recommendation, 50m (and 78rpm). Someone has put the Sawallisch on youtube. Not ideal quality, but better than nothing......

Speaking of the sixth, listening (again) to the adadio today, I was (again) struck by the serene, consoling music which closes the movement. (The coda?) Just about makes life worth living.......

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