Author Topic: Bruckner's Abbey  (Read 489002 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3788
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #500 on: November 13, 2007, 09:41:38 AM »
Just a few nits.

This could have influenced Bruckner's overall style, and specifically the more literal repetition of the scherzos (which he also tended to base on folk tunes, which by their nature were simpler and less-developed than classical forms). The adagios sound further more repetitive after the scherzo (which is the movement order in the 8th and 9th - it was reversed in earlier symphonies), but the seemingly repetitive themes are modified and placed in different contexts much more than in the more literal repetition of the scherzos.

I don't know that this is the case. The Adagios all work themselves up into a clear climax, usually right before a coda. The material morphs as it goes along. It is not rote repetition. E.g. the 7th.

The 9th is possibly the worst example of this type of folk-based scherzo theme though, as it is has a unique position in his work - no other movement written by him is so relentlessly dark and oppressive. It also shows him at his most innovative. His scherzos are certainly a lot different from Dvořák's 7th, which isn't repetitive at all, it's a more nimble and constantly unfolding tune.

But that is because "tunes" aren't the point. Building blocks and counterpoint are what Bruckner is after (following Beethovenian and Bachian examples). Even when he unfolds a longer melodic element (such as the opening of the 7th), it is designed to work as a building block for something larger (that aforementioned first movement of the 7th is essentially an extended exercise in inversion by contrary motion).

The first movements of Bruckner symphonies tend to be highlights, and I sometimes get the feeling that he struggled to match the first movement of some pieces with a final movement that is just as engaging. But due to the craftsman he is, his final movements never get boring. They always adhere to the sonata form (albeit in much modified/extended guise) of introducing a theme, a second theme, development and a coda.

Is that the case? In most cases, Bruckner reverts to LvB 9th's model of reintroducing thematic material from the prior movements in the finale. E.g. 5th. Also e.g., the first climax of the finale of the 4th occurs when the main theme of the first movement is reintroduced. It is not really a "standard practice" model he is using in sofar as the LvB 9th that he is using as a model broke so many standards itself.

while the 7th begins in a more direct manner, with a very memorable few notes played by the strings, before organically building to a series of themes that will be played throughout the movement.

The opening theme is played by cellos plus solo horn, not the rest of the strings. But that movement is actually one of his most economical. There is little else beyond variations, fragmentations and inversions of the initial theme from which this movement is constructed.

The 9th in its three movement state is emotionally very deceptive, as Bruckner intended the 9th to end with a 4th movement which would re-balance the symphony, which in its first 3 movements could seem extremely dark. In its current state, the adagio ends with a swelling dissonant climax which falters into a whisper, followed by a devastating silence, making the work appear enormously tragic.

There is actually an extended coda after that climax which ends in a major key (those ascending major notes in the brass mirror the minor key ascending theme of the opening of that movement - from deepest darkness to a glimmer of light). No matter. The climax is still devastating and the sheer beauty of those sustained high notes held out in the Wagner tubas heightens the tragic impression despite the major key ending.

But his intention must've been to counter this with a far more upbeat introduction to the final movement (as-per his usual format) before moving into his planned grand summary of his work, including a large fugue.

According to Harnoncourt's lecture, the idea was to end the symphony with The Mother of All Fugues, which would incorporate central themes from the prior movements, as well as from the 5th, 7th and 8th symphonies and superimpose them on top of each other - sort of an apotheosis of his entire oeuvre. (PS: if you consider that selection together with Bruckner's dedication of this symphony to the "dear Lord", it gives you an idea of what he himself considered to be his best works.)

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9748
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #501 on: November 13, 2007, 09:52:29 AM »
Just a few nits.

Thanks for them - I'm constantly learning :)

Is that the case? In most cases, Bruckner reverts to LvB 9th's model of reintroducing thematic material from the prior movements in the finale. E.g. 5th. Also e.g., the first climax of the finale of the 4th occurs when the main theme of the first movement is reintroduced. It is not really a "standard practice" model he is using in sofar as the LvB 9th that he is using as a model broke so many standards itself.

I phrased that one terribly - I was referring to the opening movements being in (reasonably) standard sonata form rather than the finales, and didn't notice it being out of place when proof-reading.

The opening theme is played by cellos plus solo horn, not the rest of the strings. But that movement is actually one of his most economical. There is little else beyond variations, fragmentations and inversions of the initial theme from which this movement is constructed.

Indeed, I find that movement to be quite different from his usual style, it's often delicate and almost ghostly - I can often listen to it at times when other Bruckner works could exaust me.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8995
  • An American Hero!
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #502 on: November 13, 2007, 03:05:58 PM »
I posted this under a different topic, and just in case people do not check every little thing, here it is:

Decades ago I spent hard-earned money on The Bruckner Society of America, mainly for its marvelous journal Chord and Discord which was edited by the famous music critic and scholar Jack Diether.

The society also pushed Mahler in the 40's and 50's when few people knew about Mahler.

The journal contained great stuff, like this essay by Bruno Walter on the connections, and disconnections, between Bruckner and Mahler.

See:

http://www.uv.es/~calaforr/walter.html

An excerpt by Walter on what he learned about Bruckner from those who knew the man:

Bruckner was a retiring, awkward, childishly naive being, whose almost primitive ingenuousness and simplicity was mixed with a generous portion of rustic cunning. He spoke the unrefined Upper-Austrian dialect of the provincial and remained the countryman in appearance, clothing, speech, and carriage till the end, even though he lived in Vienna, a world-metropolis, for decades. His conversation never betrayed reading, whether literature or poetry, nor any interest in scientific matters. The broad domains of the intellectual did not attract him. Unless music was the topic he turned his conversation to the narrow vicissitudes and happenings of everyday existence. Nevertheless his personality must have been attractive, for almost all reports agree upon the peculiar fascination exerted by his naivete, piety, homely simplicity, and modesty, bordering at times on servility, as borne out by many of his letters. I explain this attractive power of his strange personality to myself as due to the radiance of his lofty, godly soul, the splendor of his musical genius glimmering through his unpretending homeliness. If his presence could hardly be felt as "interesting", it was heartwarming, yes, uplifting.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 03:08:57 PM by Cato »
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Renfield

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #503 on: November 14, 2007, 01:56:32 AM »
Perfect :) I don't own the CD myself, but heard good things about his lecture from M.

I can also recommend it. Harnoncourt's lecture, albeit somewhat "clunky" in the English version, where he's obviously reading a pre-translated text, has enlightened me to quite an extent; and not not only about the finale of Bruckner's 9th, but also the rest of the symphony, and what Bruckner did with (or in) it. :)

Also a very interesting excerpt, Cato, and a link I, at least, will certainly investigate later. Thank you!

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8995
  • An American Hero!
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #504 on: November 14, 2007, 04:35:50 AM »

Also a very interesting excerpt, Cato, and a link I, at least, will certainly investigate later. Thank you!

You're very welcome!

A Google search seems to indicate that the society is defunct: there are many private webpages honoring Bruckner, and of course the Internationale Bruckner Gesellschaft.

Interesting: I did come across a "Nevada Bruckner Society" !   8)

Their webpage contains this marvelous sentence:

"Like Nevada, Bruckner was a (divine) gift for all of mankind."     :o

Well, who needs the spiritual uplift of a Bruckner symphony more than the denizens of Sin City?   0:)

See:

http://www.geocities.com/bruckner_Wagner/
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

mahlertitan

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #505 on: November 14, 2007, 07:54:07 AM »
actually, you can listen to the Harnoncourt lecture(as well as the 9th) for free. If you sign up for Rhapsody(rhapsody.com). You get 24 free listens, you can listen to 24 tracks for the full duration.

mahlertitan

  • Guest
« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 10:13:30 PM by GBJGZW »

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #507 on: December 01, 2007, 07:34:48 AM »
John Berky is posting this in his Downloads section :

Symphony No. 5
Shunsaki Tsutsumi
Shunyukai Symphony Orchestra
January 19, 1997
From Shunyukai CD SYK-009
75'20"
Fourth movement includes music from the first concept as edited by William Carragan.

Offline MishaK

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3788
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #508 on: December 06, 2007, 08:59:58 AM »
I would be curious to know if anyone here has any recommendations on a good collection of Bruckner's organ works. Thanks in advance.

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9748
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #509 on: December 06, 2007, 09:34:44 AM »
I would be curious to know if anyone here has any recommendations on a good collection of Bruckner's organ works. Thanks in advance.

If I recall correctly, so little were written down that a "complete" set could fill one CD, with space for the usual adagio transcription which all of them see fit to include. The adagio is always the highlight. The only one I am familiar with is this one, which I would not spend money on, but was worth borrowing out of interest:



The playing is fine, but the works sound undemanding anyway, so I'm not sure that a bad recording could be found...
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #510 on: December 07, 2007, 05:38:44 AM »
Brucknerians, rejoice!

Rolf von Otter is offering the van Otterloo 7th on his site
http://homepages.ipact.nl/~otterhouse/

van Otterloo was a fiery conductor as feared by the players as Rodzinski and Szell were. And he was much the same kind of musician. This is from a long OOP lp:
23-26/10/54   Epic LP SC 6006    64:00    18:07    24:46    9:42    11:05

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9748
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #511 on: December 07, 2007, 09:00:51 AM »
Brucknerians, rejoice!

Rolf von Otter is offering the van Otterloo 7th on his site
http://homepages.ipact.nl/~otterhouse/

van Otterloo was a fiery conductor as feared by the players as Rodzinski and Szell were. And he was much the same kind of musician. This is from a long OOP lp:
23-26/10/54   Epic LP SC 6006    64:00    18:07    24:46    9:42    11:05

There's another Otterloo 7th on Operashare too, if interested:

1. Bartok. violin concerto nr. 2.
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest o.l.v. Willem van Otterlo.
Henryk Szering, violin.
25-6-1962 Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
2. Bruckner. Symphony nr. 7 in E. Radio Filharmonisch Orkest o.l.v.
Willem van Otterloo. 2-4-1958.

http://rapidshare.com/files/72836811/otterloo-live2a.zip
http://rapidshare.com/files/72836924/otterloo-live2b.zip
http://rapidshare.com/files/72836885/otterloo-live2c.zip
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #512 on: December 07, 2007, 04:20:30 PM »
There's another Otterloo 7th on Operashare too, if interested:

1. Bartok. violin concerto nr. 2.
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest o.l.v. Willem van Otterlo.
Henryk Szering, violin.
25-6-1962 Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
2. Bruckner. Symphony nr. 7 in E. Radio Filharmonisch Orkest o.l.v.
Willem van Otterloo. 2-4-1958.

http://rapidshare.com/files/72836811/otterloo-live2a.zip
http://rapidshare.com/files/72836924/otterloo-live2b.zip
http://rapidshare.com/files/72836885/otterloo-live2c.zip

Thanks for that, Lethe! This is the performance Rolf talks about on his web site. I see it's been recorded in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw (with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic), so the sound should be ok. Yummy!  :D

And that bartok should be a good listen too: Szeryng's version with Haitink has long been a favourite, but with van Otterloo at the helm, there must be as much grit as there was to be refinement in the later version.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2007, 04:22:55 PM by Lilas Pastia »

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #513 on: December 18, 2007, 05:10:25 PM »
Here is a nice live recording of Bruckner's 5th symphony with the Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Sergiu Celibidache from the inaugural concert of the Philharmonie am Gasteig on November 10, 1985.

I think this live recording, although the sound has some limitations, reflects much better than many of the recordings published by EMI what the MP under Celibidache really sounded like. Many of these were obviously recorded with a lot of spot mics, probably in an attempt to cope with the halls problematic acoustics, but resulting in breaking up the very round and blended sound Celibidache achieved. He rarely ever allowed the brass to play "brassy" and stick out of the textures.

This recording gives you a much better idea of what that sounded like.

1st movement
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yskwuu

2nd movement
http://preview.tinyurl.com/22yhqt

3rd movement
http://preview.tinyurl.com/24n2ew

4th movement, part 1
http://preview.tinyurl.com/296n4y

4th movement, part 2
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yrk8ky

Parts 1 and 2 of the 4th movement have to be joined with HJSplit!

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #514 on: December 18, 2007, 08:15:21 PM »
I'm glad to hear it's faithful to the orchestra's sound. I've had it for a couple of years and it's definitely one of the most interesting, imposing and intense versions I've heard (another way of saying it's one of the best, ever ;)). And yes, the orchestra sounds splendid here. Another Celi bruckner recording I immensely enjoy is the 8th from Lisbon. I wonder if that is faithful to the orchestra/conductor sound as well?  Coincidentally, these non-EMI recordings are the only two Celi Bruckner discs I enjoy without reservations. But honestly I can't tell if it's a question of sound.

This week I listened to two recordings of the 7th under Willem van Otterloo. Both are frome the mid-late fifties, in mono. First, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic recordedn in 1957 in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw (for the unawares, Concertgebouw simplay means Concert Hall, so it's not only the Amsterdam Concertgebouw that plays there, but other ensembles as well). There's no denying that this orchestra is good, but not on the level of its big brother. Nevertheless, a masterly conductor is clearly at the helm. This flowing, organically conceived and energetic interpretations is very much like Gielen's recording, except that the Adagio here is very slow, extremely solemn (as per the score's marking), and utterly compelling (no cymbal crash). The only fault I could find was the stubborn refusal for even the slightest rhetorical broadening. This can pass in I, but at the symphony's end an emphatic close is always welcome, esp. as it helps differentiate the various strands of the orchestra - one of the rare occasions where Bruckner's scoring is induces confusion.

Then there is the 1955 Vienna Symphony studio version (from the Musikverein?). This is the one I shall return to, as it has all the qualities of the 1957 concert, plus bettter sound, slightly but audibly better playing and no drawback whatsoever (except for the same unbending rush to the finish). I really like this kind of Bruckner 7th.

In the same mould are the Minneapolis Ormandy, Haitink Amsterdam I (1960) and Gielen. In the same vein but not as good are the Toscanini and VPO Boulez. The polar opposite (just as interesting) is represented by the great trio of DGG Vienna versions (Giulini, Karajan and Böhm), as well as the glorious Blomstedt Dresden and Berlin RSO Chailly.  Those are fervent, radiant, lovingly moulded but very disciplined and just as organically conceived as the others. Somewhere in between are the various Jochums - alternately volatile and ecstatic in feeling. There are many other good versions, but those I've mentioned are all superb. I'm very happy to have the van Otterloos in my collection. He was a fantastic conductor.

Bonehelm

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #515 on: December 18, 2007, 09:19:42 PM »
Here is a nice live recording of Bruckner's 5th symphony with the Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Sergiu Celibidache from the inaugural concert of the Philharmonie am Gasteig on November 10, 1985.

I think this live recording, although the sound has some limitations, reflects much better than many of the recordings published by EMI what the MP under Celibidache really sounded like. Many of these were obviously recorded with a lot of spot mics, probably in an attempt to cope with the halls problematic acoustics, but resulting in breaking up the very round and blended sound Celibidache achieved. He rarely ever allowed the brass to play "brassy" and stick out of the textures.

This recording gives you a much better idea of what that sounded like.

1st movement
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yskwuu

2nd movement
http://preview.tinyurl.com/22yhqt

3rd movement
http://preview.tinyurl.com/24n2ew

4th movement, part 1
http://preview.tinyurl.com/296n4y

4th movement, part 2
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yrk8ky

Parts 1 and 2 of the 4th movement have to be joined with HJSplit!

The exact same thing applies for his 9th with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony. In the first movement where the brass plays octave jumps, a chromatic scale and then a lower octave jump, most recordings have the trombones/trumpets really brassy and edgy, sticking out completely. But in Celi's version, the warmth of the strings is more prevalent than the power of all the brass combined.

Offline jwinter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1201
  • Location: Newark, Delaware USA
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #516 on: December 19, 2007, 07:02:40 AM »
Thanks for posting that performance, M.  :)

I've recently started working my way through Barenboim's Berlin set.  Anyone have thoughts on that one?
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

George

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #517 on: December 19, 2007, 07:13:10 AM »
Thanks for posting that performance, M.  :)

I've recently started working my way through Barenboim's Berlin set.  Anyone have thoughts on that one?

I'd love to hear your thoughts as well, when you are ready J, as I sure love Barenboim's Beethoven symphonies. 

Offline jwinter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1201
  • Location: Newark, Delaware USA
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #518 on: December 19, 2007, 07:24:45 AM »
I'd love to hear your thoughts as well, when you are ready J, as I sure love Barenboim's Beethoven symphonies. 

Sure.  I agree that his Beethoven is top-notch, as is his Mozart (I have the late symphonies with the English Chamber Orchestra and the late concerti with the BPO, both very, very good) and the recent Mahler 7.  Looking forward to hearing these...
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Offline Sergeant Rock

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 22461
  • Location: Wine Country Germany
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #519 on: December 30, 2007, 08:35:23 AM »
Here is a nice live recording of Bruckner's 5th symphony with the Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Sergiu Celibidache from the inaugural concert of the Philharmonie am Gasteig on November 10, 1985.

And here is the Scherzo from a concert given at the Suntory Hall, Toyko, 22 Oct 86, on the Altus label.



Ripped and posted so that a sound quality comparison can be made:

http://rapidshare.de/files/38164406/bruckner5-scherzo.mp3.html

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"