BRUCKNER Symphony No 8 – Tennstedt
Tennstedt’s performance of Bruckner’s mighty Eighth Symphony is high on adrenalin from the very first minute and remains so for the next 73. There were times during the performance when, had the law of physics permitted it, my speakers would have glowed white. Not all Brucknerians will approve of so unremittingly intense a performance – the Scherzo, for example, treated as a rip-roaring festive joust – though it is impossible to fault Tennstedt on the cogency and long-term reach of the reading. When it comes to seeing the symphony whole, hewn as it were from a single block of marble, he is up there with the best: Barbirolli, Furtwängler, Karajan, Klemperer. The players, the brass in particular, are also high on adrenalin. Given the dry, bright, somewhat unaccommodating Festival Hall acoustic, this doesn’t always make for easy listening. The audience greets the performance with its own ecstatic yawp. But, then, they heard the real thing, not this all too brazen aural précis.