Author Topic: Bruckner's Abbey  (Read 484682 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3747
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #320 on: July 14, 2007, 05:39:11 AM »
I'll also be trying to investigate Sinopoli's 7th (I only know his 5th, and think it superb).

I also have that Boulez aircheck and like it: the extra drive he puts into the last two movements help me to avoid the feeling I often get that they're a bit of a letdown after the superlative first two.

M forever: do you remember where you got the Boulez/WPO Bruckner 9? I'd like to hear that, but I can't see whether it's on OperaShare as the search feature there isn't working right now.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #321 on: July 14, 2007, 05:46:22 AM »
I do remember that. I got it from my good friend Ramon, on CD-R.

mahlertitan

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #322 on: July 15, 2007, 10:15:09 PM »
This week's Bruckner fare consisted of :

- Symphony no 7, Orchestre métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin (2007).[/b]


The Nézet-Séguin 7th is a brand new issue, recorded live in the beautifully spacious and transparent acoustics of St-John the Baptist Church, Montreal. I was mightily surprised by this disc. It is so different from anything I've heard before as to be in a category of its own. The orchestra numbers about 75 players and as I've mentioned they play in a large venue, with a long sound decay (3-4 seconds). It has to be played at a substantially higher level than usual to achieve good sonic impact. Once the volume level has been adjusted, it sounds splendidly natural. What comes across is an extraordinarily luminous, reflective account. Beauty of phrasing seems to be the operative word form first note to last.

What struck me most was the total control exerted by the conductor over the rythms and dynamics. Tempi in the first 2 movements are spacious (22:00 and 25:40). Variations of pulsebetween sections are absolutely seamless. This induces a kind of trance-like, hypnotic feeling, although sometimes it makes one wish for some excitement. Forget about Jochum-like accelerandos as the climax of the Adagio is in sight: the same iron grip on the basic tempo makes that climax blossom instead of erupting with lightning and thunderbolts from the timpani. In a sense it's a bit disappointing, but what comes after is the most magical coda Ive heard on record. Similarly, the big orchestral crescendo-decrescendo that immediately precedes the coda of I is jaw-dropping in its collected intensity and beauty of execution. I mentioned the control over dynamics: this is an unusually undramatic account in terms of sound level: I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Bruckner's markings have been more closely followed here than in most other interpretations. A lot of the time the playing is between pp and mf. The few real climaxes are suitably brilliant and expansive.

The scherzo I found a bit tame, with an overly dreamy trio. The Finale is where Nézet-Séguin changes the perspective by adopting a swift basic tempo. The bold brass pronouncements are superb, and here the conductor's control achieves magic: the ensuing pauses' length exactly match the sound decay of the hall (an effect that was ruined in the Wand-Lübeck 9th, with musical phrases overlapping on the decay of the preceding ones). Things noticeably liven up in the coda, where a rush of adrenalin brings the movement to a triumphant E major close.

This is a live recording, but there's not a peep to be heard from the audience (only the booklet pictures let us know that the church was packed). I found the low winds a bit reticent (scherzo esp.), but there's a wealth of string details that stand like in no other recording I know (esp. violas in I an II). So altogether it doesn't replace my favourites (Blomstedt Dreden, Schuricht The Hague), but it comes right after those. Not bad for a 31 year old conductor and a 3rd tier orchestra.

I completely agree, this recording just blew me away, i was so surprised by its high quality i still can't believe what i was hearing.

mahlertitan

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #323 on: July 15, 2007, 10:47:24 PM »
has anyone listened to this one:
Giulini WPO

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #324 on: July 16, 2007, 04:44:40 PM »
I have it. Mediocre picture and sound quality, OK orchestra but obviously just thrown together for the "occasion". But it is highly interesting to watch Giulini conduct the piece, how he really leads the orchestra, breathes with them and prepares what comes next instead of posing along what's already happening, like so many lesser conductors, how he shaped the music in long paragraphs, and that alone is worth having it. For me, it also has a nostalgic aspect because it reminds me of when I saw him conduct the 8th live with the BP around the same time. That was a lifetime experience.

Offline beclemund

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #325 on: July 19, 2007, 10:03:54 AM »
A bit of advice...

I am looking to add a Klemperer 6th. Which of the following two do you prefer?

"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #326 on: July 19, 2007, 01:28:05 PM »
I've read great things about the BBC one.

Things to consider:

- both feature an english orchestra, so forget about idiomatic playing. In any case, I don't think Klemperer gave much thought to that particular concept.
- the Testament is a live recording, which in Klemperer's case often meant big tempo differences from contemporaneous studio efforts. OTOH these two issues seem to have relatively similar timings, so the live vs the studio may be somewhat faster, but not by much. and in the case of the slow movement, that faster tempo may be a mixed blessing.
- the coupling is much more interesting on Testament: if I'm not mistaken this is the only Klemperer Te Deum and from reviews I've read it's quite the ticket.

I know the EMI studio one well, and although I find it imposing, it's never really won me over. I have never heard the Testament, but OTOH I have a Concertgebouw version from the same year, and that is one of the weirdest Bruckner performances I've heard.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 01:29:37 PM by Lilas Pastia »

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3782
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #327 on: July 19, 2007, 02:15:09 PM »
- the Testament is a live recording, which in Klemperer's case often meant big tempo differences from contemporaneous studio efforts. OTOH these two issues seem to have relatively similar timings, so the live vs the studio may be somewhat faster, but not by much. and in the case of the slow movement, that faster tempo may be a mixed blessing.

Judging by the timings on Berky's site, the BBC performance is quite a bit brisker, up to a minute and a half shorter for certain movements.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #328 on: July 19, 2007, 04:55:18 PM »
The proof of the pudding and all that... ;) Personally I'd certainly splurge if I found it at the second hand shop, if only for that Te Deum!

Meanwhile, on the domestic front:

- The 3rd symphony, Oeser Edition (the one with the longer Finale): Kubelik and the Concertgebouw, 1954 live recording. This is for the enthusiast first, but musical rewards are great. Lots of saturation and distortion in the sound, no sense of the famed Concertgebouw ambience and depth of sound. But: a galvanized orchestra, under an inspired conductor. Timpani are a very dramatic presence, and strings lash out ferociously. I can't say I sense much nobility or sense of 'rustic chivalry' here, but there is drama aplenty. The rather brusque transitions highlight - rather than mask - this work's complicated and bizarre structural facelifts. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the young Bernard Haitink had been in attendance at that concert. He himself chose the then new Oeser edition for his first Bruckner 3 recording (1963), and there is a lot in that excellent version that recalls what is to be heard here. The trademark Kubelik fire and spontaneity are replaced by Haitink's typical attention to structural smoothness and euphonious orchestral textures. It makes for a rather more noble but still impulsive interpretation.

In a nutshell: the sound is quite terrible, but the interpretation is really unique, if not the last word in refinement.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 05:09:21 PM by Lilas Pastia »

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3782
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #329 on: July 19, 2007, 06:39:08 PM »
How does it compare to the studio Kulbelik 3rd with the BRSO on Sony? I mean interpretively, not sonically, obviously.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #330 on: July 20, 2007, 03:04:59 AM »
There are 2 BRSO 3rds available with Kubelik : a 1970 live (En Larmes or Audite),  and the sometime available 1980 Sony studio. There's another one which I haven't heard from 1954. I own the first 2.

That 1954 Concertgebouw is more combustible than the others, and the orchestra is definitely weightier (particularly dramatic timpani). OTOH there's a lot to be said for the later Kubelik-BRSO trademark balance of fire and refinement. Note that there's no comparison sonically: both BRSO issues are immensely superior, and the studio one in particular is resplendent.

PerfectWagnerite

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #331 on: July 20, 2007, 03:21:02 AM »
How does it compare to the studio Kulbelik 3rd with the BRSO on Sony? I mean interpretively, not sonically, obviously.

You like that recording? The SOBR Bruckner 3rd on SONY that is? It didn't bow me over as better than anything I have. But I have only listened to it once.

Offline beclemund

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #332 on: July 20, 2007, 06:04:39 AM »
I know the EMI studio one well, and although I find it imposing, it's never really won me over. I have never heard the Testament, but OTOH I have a Concertgebouw version from the same year, and that is one of the weirdest Bruckner performances I've heard.

Thank you for the information, Lilas. I opted for the safer option with the EMI which seems to have pretty consistent critical approval. A few reviews of the Testament release were lukewarm at best, but the Te Deum was praised, so I may add that disc to my collection at a later date.

And my curiosity got the better of me so I also ordered the Audite release of Kubelik's 3rd (along with his 9th on Orfeo D'or). So thank you all for bringing that one up. ;)
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

mahlertitan

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #333 on: July 20, 2007, 06:41:42 AM »
I recently listened to this recording of Bruckner's 9th, and I have to say i am very impressed.

Offline beclemund

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #334 on: July 20, 2007, 06:56:10 AM »
I recently listened to this recording of Bruckner's 9th, and I have to say i am very impressed.

Yes, all of Wand's last Bruckner recordings with the BP are quite satisfying. Had he finished the entire cycle before his death, I am sure his would be the favorite cycle to recommend for many.
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3782
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #335 on: July 20, 2007, 07:02:06 AM »
You like that recording? The SOBR Bruckner 3rd on SONY that is? It didn't bow me over as better than anything I have. But I have only listened to it once.

I do like it very much but precisely for the reason Lilas Pastia mentioned: balance of fire and refinement. I do find it a bit too broad though. My first choice for the 3rd remains Haitink/VPO and I also like Barenboim/BPO.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #336 on: July 20, 2007, 10:15:05 AM »
Well, if you find the Sony a mite broad, the Haitink VPO is even broader, isnt' it?
Personally I love this Kubelik studio 3 (and the 4th as well) and consider both crème de la crème recordings. Note that the Audite 3 is a bit faster, and faster still is that Concertgebouw version - although it seems to have a finale that is a full 2 minutes longer - I didn't find it slow at all, quite the contrary in fact, so it could well be a printing mistake (I'll check that out).

For a combination of 1877 Oeser (without the silly Scherzo codetta), Concertgebouw orchestral splendour and natural, no-nonsense pacing, the 1963 Haitink is very satisfying.

This weekend I'm trying on a Leipzig Kegel version that has patiently waited for me for almost a year...
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 10:18:17 AM by Lilas Pastia »

PerfectWagnerite

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #337 on: July 20, 2007, 10:20:25 AM »
I like the Chailly/RCO very much. I also like Sinopoli, a refreshing, detailed reading with immense power at times.

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3782
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #338 on: July 20, 2007, 10:53:44 AM »
Well, if you find the Sony a mite broad, the Haitink VPO is even broader, isnt' it?
Personally I love this Kubelik studio 3 (and the 4th as well) and consider both crème de la crème recordings. Note that the Audite 3 is a bit faster, and faster still is that Concertgebouw version - although it seems to have a finale that is a full 2 minutes longer - I didn't find it slow at all, quite the contrary in fact, so it could well be a printing mistake (I'll check that out).

Well, I don't find that the Haitink.VPO 3rd feels as broad as the Kubelik/BRSO/Sony. Haitink is in rare form in that performance and it really catches fire in a way that the Kubelik doesn't. I totally agree on the Kubelik/BRSO/Sony 4th. I bought that upon recommendation from someone here on the old board and it quickly became my favorite 4th by far. The grandeur of the codas of the outer movements has to be heard to be believed.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #339 on: July 20, 2007, 04:28:03 PM »
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Kegel recording: I listened to this twice today. It is one of the most idiomatic interpretations I've heard of the truncated 1889 version. The orchestra is really magnificent, with powerful, rich and sonorous horns (they're often swamped under the trumpets and massed strings), and dramatic, imposing timpani. Strings are not well caught in the recording (no stereo directionality to speak of), but they do make a deep wall of sound that is very satisfying in itself. Winds are excellent. The recording has a lot of front to back perspective, so the soundstage is deep and rich, if recesssed and lacking in detail.

Kegel presents all the movements in the most natural way, so while this clocks in at a rather 'normal' 56 minutes, the feeling is of a very relaxed pacing, where everything unfolds inevitably. The Adagio and Scherzo have ideal balance between tonal refinement and rythmic gruffness.

For a totally different, almost contradictory view, the Cleveland Szell will prove an invaluable complement. I wouldn't be without either. Going from memory, I think the SD Jochum might well present a nice synthesis of the two approaches. I still prefer the 1877 version, but there is a case for such a fine, hugely committed and totally idiomatic view of the shorter 1889 score.

Re: the Haitink Vienna recording (1877 version): I love and admire it esp for the magnificent orchestral playing and deep affection evidently emanating from the podium. But it is broader than the Kubelik, so any impression of the latter being less fiery has nothing to do with tempi or timings. Personally I find it goes the other way around, but these are just personal impressions. If you like Haitink's way with the 3rd, do try the Concertgebouw recording: it's swifter, the orchestra is blunter, and the spurious scherzo codetta is judiciously omitted (Bruckner crossed it on one of his scores with the mention 'not to be printed').
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 04:33:57 PM by Lilas Pastia »