Historic Bruckner downloads

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RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

janeeliotgardiner wrote:

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.......

I personally think the adagio of the 6th is the greatest piece of music Bruckner has written. Specially the 2nd and 3rd themes, an extatic love-song and a funeral march, respectively. The moment where the 2nd theme subdues and the mood darkens as the 3rd theme is introduced is one of the greatest moments in all music.

I'd recommend listening to Georg Ludwig Jochum's 6th on the abruckner.com site too. An amazing performance that's even more astonishing if you realize it was the first recording ever of the complete symphony and there was hardly a performing tradition of the 6th in the early '40's.

 

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

My fault for talking about historical Bruckner in the Karajan Vienna Years thread, so in an act of atonement, I've posted this message here.

There is certainly a post-war trend in Bruckner interpretation which seems to emphasise the monumental and monolithic - there is a pre-war Bruckner VII conducted by Karl Bohm (with the VPO, I think), which has a litheness and fire as well as fast tempos that places it at odds with the kind of performances we hear these days. I'm not sure if it is evidence enough on its own to establish the theory as fact; my favourite Bruckner VII of all is a live performance with Hans Knappertsbusch and the VPO from Salzburg in 1949, a lovely warm hearted performance in more than acceptable sound, with a stunning climax at the heart of the Adagio - however, this is more stately, more "modern" reading than Bohm's earlier one. As is what we have of Karajan's 1944 recording of the Bruckner VIII with the Berlin Staatskapelle, with its "lost" first movement - in fact this is remarkably similar to any of Karajan's later readings of the work. TJH also mentions Furtwangler's highly individual and extremely volatile 1942 Bruckner V, but nine years later with the VPO in 1951, he turns in a performance less extreme, more steady ....

Still, I agree with 50M and his comments about the top recommendations in Gramophone about Bruckner - I've yet to hear anything by Norrington with this composer to warrant giving him anything but a wide berth and certainly not a top nomination. With the Second Symphony, the Gramophone Choice of Giulini on Testament is probably a wise one - he, like Horst Stein, points out the debt Bruckner owed to Weber rather than Wagner. That Konwitschny, my own favoured version, plays the work as if it is an off-cut of Act III from Gotterdammerung, only serves to emphasise just what a great conductor can do - after all, Barenboim tried the same trick with the BPO on Teldec and came unstuck.

I haven't heard Sinopoli's rendition of the Fifth, mentioned by 50M - but I have heard his Eighth, a slow, unhurried performance, beautifully recorded by DG and played by the Dresden Staatskapelle. As I get older, I too prefer a bit more fire in my Eighths than Sinopoli offers - I found the Barbirolli performance let down somewhat by his orchestra though; even better, marrying fire and grandeur with fine execution, is van Beinum's 1955 recording on Philips - another one of those forgotten "greats" from the past !

LD1

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

LD, how true is the allegation that Knappertsbusch used dubious or even discredited editions of Bruckner Symphonies? By the way, do you prefer the original versions of his Symphonies?

Parla

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

LDenham1 wrote:

... my favourite Bruckner VII of all is a live performance with Hans Knappertsbusch and the VPO from Salzburg in 1949, a lovely warm hearted performance in more than acceptable sound, with a stunning climax at the heart of the Adagio - however, this is more stately, more "modern" reading than Bohm's earlier one.

All I know of Kna's Bruckner is that mangled 3rd from the aforementioned Centurion Classics box, which makes you wonder what he was smoking when he made that recording. Didn't leave me wanting for more, but I admire Kna in Wagner (Parsifal!) and if you say his 7th is so good, I should give it a chance then.

My personal favorite 7th is Furtwängler's 1949 BPO version - recorded in excellent sound and much better in every way than his more well-known 1951 Cairo recording.

Böhm's Bruckner I only know from his later Decca records (3, 4 and 7) with the VPO, which are among my favorites for those symphonies (in the 4th I've got a slight perference for Klemperer, in the 3rd it's Böhm by default, if we're talking the 1889 version. There's not many 3rds that I find satisfying, which is partly the music's fault. In Jochum's Dresden cycle, the 3rd is the least convincing too).

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As is what we have of Karajan's 1944 recording of the Bruckner VIII with the Berlin Staatskapelle, with its "lost" first movement - in fact this is remarkably similar to any of Karajan's later readings of the work. TJH also mentions Furtwangler's highly individual and extremely volatile 1942 Bruckner V, but nine years later with the VPO in 1951, he turns in a performance less extreme, more steady.

I listened to Georg Ludwig Jochum's 1944 5th again today, and my amazement keeps growing. It's a performance that pushes all the right buttons with me, I'm inclined to call it my favorite 5th (sorry Klemperer).

It's strange how Furt's re-recordings of his familiar repertoire in the 50's mostly fail to convince me. Take his famous Schubert 9th from 1951, it's much more steady and stolid than his amazing wartime performance. Also Beethoven 9th (1943 vs. 1951 and 1954 - though I've got to admit that I wouldn't always want to listen to the apocalyptic 1943 version; Bayreuth 1951 and Luzerne 1954 are more balanced and ultimately more rewarding.)

HvK's 1944 8th is amazing allright... the recording, that is. Same with the Gieseking Beethoven 5th concerto (stunning stereo complete with the booms from the air raids), you keep wondering about the detailed recording and forget the qualities of the performance. I gotta say I was expecting something more "wild" from early HvK. The 8th finale sounded more in line with his later work indeed: tending towards the more monumental, sonorous and (to me) boring.

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With the Second Symphony, the Gramophone Choice of Giulini on Testament is probably a wise one - he, like Horst Stein, points out the debt Bruckner owed to Weber rather than Wagner.

Guilini's 2nd I found rather disappointing, mainstream in every way. I guess it got a lot of publicity in its day because a big name conductor chose the least known Bruckner symphony for his Bruckner debut. I got to admit I'm not a big fan of Guilini's later B. recordings either. In symphonies 1-2 I find Eugen Jochum's Berlin recordings very good (Dresden to a lesser extend). But maybe his brother Georg's pioneering 2nd from 1944 is the best of all - and he made a great 1st to with the Rias Berlin in 1951. It's a great shame that this genius conductor didn't even leave a complete cycle, let alone one in stereo sound... (there must be some stereo recordings buried in radio archives - worth investigating, I bet.)

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As I get older, I too prefer a bit more fire in my Eighths than Sinopoli offers - I found the Barbirolli performance let down somewhat by his orchestra though; even better, marrying fire and grandeur with fine execution, is van Beinum's 1955 recording on Philips - another one of those forgotten "greats" from the past !

LD1

Barbirolli's 8th has what I think is the finest first movement ever recorded - amazing in every way, even the orchestral playing is much more than just adequate. The coda is breathtaking - here the symphony truly deserves its apocryphal nickname "apocalyptic". The scherzo is very fine too, but then The Hallé players get a bit lost in the massive proportions of the adagio and finale. It's still a great performance overall, but for fire that continues into the last two movements, I chose Schuricht's 1963 VPO recording.

I'll check out the Van Beinum - thanks again for the tip!

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

Thank you 50M for your most detailed and informative reply above.

As mentioned to Parla earlier, Knappertsbusch can be a bit hit and miss with Bruckner (for me, at any rate). That Seventh is quite wonderful though and, if you can find it, is another Third, this time a studio taping with the Vienna PO (I'm not sure if it is available in this country - I bought mine on a Japanese import many years ago). To be avoided are live recordings of the Eighth and Ninth whose texts are pre-Haas and quite awful (unless you are interested in the early editions as well, complete with hairpin crescendos and loads of cymbal clashes !). There's also that Decca studio Fifth - the Vienna PO sound wonderful, Decca reproduce it all magnificently and Kna conducts well, but.... the edition used is awful ! I think the finale is on Youtube, so you can sample it.

I have to be in the right mood for Furtwangler these days, although that live Ninth with the Berlin PO is one of the greatest tapings of this work ever. I do take your point about the difference between Furtwangler during the war and after - did you know he was born only a few months of Otto Klemperer ? Now how would have history been different had Furtwangler also lived until 1973 like Klemperer .....

I'm going to have to revisit Barbirolli's Eighth now, due to your own diehard veneration ! I have to confess and say I didn't think much of it at all - my memory tells me this was a second-half of a concert featuring the Nielsen Fifth before the interval and if correct, I'm not surprised the players sound so tired by the end !! One Eighth which did catch me out recently was Janowski's with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande - the other instalments from this series haven't really impressed me, but this Eighth was superb. Okay, I would normally have preferred a bit more weight and heft from my orchestra than the OSR are able to provide, but Janowski's swift pacing and masterly handling of transitions is quite something - as is the sound ! Recommended !!

LD1

RE: Historic Bruckner downloads

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Swoboda Bruckner 6

Dear Jane and 50m,

Christopher Howell provides an excellent summary of Swoboda´s B6 in relation to timings of nearly all other major recordings. He finds the performance quite compelling, especially the slower movements. I have a copy of the first edition LP on the Westminster label. I find it excellent throughout, and far from boring at any stage. You will get drama, beautiful serentity, a demonic treading scherzo and a buzzing finale. I can highly recommend it, and encourage anyone not to be discouraged by the opinions of others... It´s simply a matter of personal taste and it´s fine to differ... Enjoy.

 

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