BRUCKNER Symphony No 1; Te Deum – Barenboim
In my recent ''Gramophone Collection'' Bruckner survey (August, page 33) I was lamenting a lack of choice when it came to single CDs or cassettes of the boisterous First Symphony in its original Linz version of 1866. (Incorrectly printed as ''Linz 1891'' at the end of the article for which various sub-editors are now picking oakum.) Sawallisch's Bavarian recording on Orfeo/Koch International still makes excellent sense musically, but the reissue of this 1980 Chicago recording under Barenboim is in some ways an even more attractive choice, particularly if you don't mind adding to your collection a superb—eloquently sung, expertly played, exceptionally well recorded—account of Bruckner's mighty Te Deum.
In the symphony, Barenboim is witty, affectionate and vital and the Chicago playing is sumptuous without in any way being bland or suffocating. Here and there one might long for the countrified tread of Jochum, a German Bruckner conductor of the old school, but one can understand DG's desire to give the best of this Barenboim Bruckner cycle another airing. Warmly recommended if the coupling suits.'