Author Topic: Bruckner's Abbey  (Read 476611 times)

0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

Drasko

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #300 on: July 07, 2007, 07:13:13 AM »
While we are still at the 4ths, is anyone familiar with this one, looks interesting (and sadly very much oop)

http://www.tahra.com/?ref=328&lang=en

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #301 on: July 07, 2007, 07:35:30 AM »
Never heard it, but I'd be cautious. Klemperer in those days was a very brusque conductor. Note that this clocks in at 55 minutes, which is way under par for this work. His Concertgebouw 6 is a very strange animal indeed.

Drasko

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #302 on: July 07, 2007, 07:44:18 AM »
Yes, I've noticed the timing but I am rather fond of his also swift first Das Lied and somewhat later Köln Bruckner 8th.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #303 on: July 07, 2007, 07:44:57 AM »
Indeed, both are remarkable.

mahlertitan

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #304 on: July 07, 2007, 08:15:21 AM »
Okay, I'm beginning the Bruckner journey, and can finally post here. ;)

I have the Karajan/Berlin set to listen to. Is he a good introductory set?

So far I have heard his "Study" symphony on the radio and really liked it, #00? Or #0? Don't remember the performers. The numbers and version of Bruckner's symphonies can get quite confusing!

And what I've heard of the 9th floored me, the 1st mvmt so far (the impetus being M's MO game).

I just finished the 1st and it is mightily impressive. :) I have concluded I just cannot listen to Bruckner on headphones because he so often has the orchestra blasting away at full tilt for long periods and it is just too much. Bruckner must be a total trip live.

I don't know what comments to make about the 1st yet, except the triumphant finale is amazing, and I loved the Scherzo. Love. Is it wrong to say its Beethoven-ish? It's incredible. Last part of the 1st movement is really exciting. The Adagio will take more listening but the slow build to the rapturous peak near the end is beautiful.

Are there any particular symphonies that are good choices to go to next?

the logical choice would be the 4th, maybe the 7th. Take your pick, i would hold 9th until a little later.


M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #305 on: July 07, 2007, 09:19:17 AM »
Here is a great documentary about Eugen Jochum rehearsing Bruckner and Haydn in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Bamberg. He also talks about the music and a few musicians talk about working with him. Then there are some fairly long concert excerpts.

I originally thought this video documents a celebratory tour for his 85th birthday in 1987, but that can't really be since he passed away in March 1987, a few months before his 85th birthday. This must have been filmed in 1986 then when I saw him in Berlin with the Concertgebouworkest with the same Wagner and Bruckner program he rehearses in Amsterdam in this video.

Big download (600MB or so), not so great 80s TV video and sound quality. But still very worth watching. Sorry, only in German, no subtitles, but it's still very interesting to watch Jochum at work. And sooner or later, all of you who are really seriously interested in "classical music" have to learn German anyway.
Maybe in the meantime, Sarge will help you if you have questions about what Jochum is saying in the video.

Download the 7 parts and join them with HJSplit.

http://rapidshare.com/files/14193365/Jochum.wmv.001.html
http://rapidshare.com/files/14195227/Jochum.wmv.002.html
http://rapidshare.com/files/14197055/Jochum.wmv.003.html
http://rapidshare.com/files/14221671/Jochum.wmv.004.html
http://rapidshare.com/files/14198920/Jochum.wmv.005.html
http://rapidshare.com/files/14200500/Jochum.wmv.006.html
http://rapidshare.com/files/14191396/Jochum.wmv.007.html

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #306 on: July 08, 2007, 03:39:11 AM »
This is rather special... :o A download offered by John Berky on his Bruckner site

Quote
A Bruckner Meltdown
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and the Cleveland Orchestra.
August 6, 1976 at the Blossom Music Center.
This must have been a live broadcast...

Download: http://www.abruckner.com/Data/Downloads/abrucknermeltdown/Skrowaczewski_b3_flub.mp3

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #307 on: July 08, 2007, 06:31:47 AM »
That is pretty funny. I laughed hard.

Offline Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 17447
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #308 on: July 08, 2007, 08:21:46 AM »
While we are still at the 4ths, is anyone familiar with this one, looks interesting (and sadly very much oop)

http://www.tahra.com/?ref=328&lang=en

Drasko, I have it and can reassure you: you are not missing out on a major recording.
It's interesting and it is a 4th on high voltage, but it's also erratic, inconsistent and unstable. Plus the sound is bad: I guess this was recorded on acetate disc, as was custom in Amsterdam before, and shortly after the war (that's WWII - for the youngsters from the US here). It is not better than the studio recording on EMI (GROC), which I find disappointing too. I prefer the Kubelik/ BRSO in both instances.




Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9748
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #309 on: July 08, 2007, 08:28:40 AM »
Related to that, I wonder what this is like (another B4):



Very in-print, dunno about the sound.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Offline Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 17447
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #310 on: July 08, 2007, 08:32:09 AM »
Related to that, I wonder what this is like (another B4):



Very in-print, dunno about the sound.

Just came across an on line REVIEW.

Q

Choo Choo

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #311 on: July 08, 2007, 10:13:43 AM »
It is some time since I last heard it, but I recall thinking that '66 BRSO recording to which the review also refers the best of the bunch - in fact, surprisingly so:  quite different from the (roughly contemporaneous) Philharmonia recording.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 12:52:06 PM by Choo Choo »

Offline beclemund

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #312 on: July 08, 2007, 01:43:17 PM »
I just finished the 1st and it is mightily impressive. :) I have concluded I just cannot listen to Bruckner on headphones because he so often has the orchestra blasting away at full tilt for long periods and it is just too much. Bruckner must be a total trip live.

Sorry for the late reply, Greta. I hope you enjoy your exploration of Bruckner. I have found it very difficult to get off the Bruckner bandwagon once climbing aboard.  ;)

As for the blasting orchestra, that may have more to do with the Karajan readings than Bruckner--granted, the sound does get quite big no matter who is interpreting it. I have only listened to a handful of Karajan recordings, but in all of them, there seems to be very little middle volume. It is booming loud or nearly muted lows and the transitions from one to the other are quite abrupt. It was especially true of a 3rd I heard not long ago which is one of the recordings I believe may be in your set. Though his '88 8th is one of my favorites.
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Heather Harrison

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #313 on: July 08, 2007, 03:23:43 PM »
I'm also a bit slow to reply, Greta.  I recently did an exploration of Bruckner; if you look back through the thread, you will find my posts on my first impression of each of the symphonies (except Nos. 0 and 00, which I still haven't heard).  I bought Jochum's 1960's-vintage cycle on DG.  I listened to them in numerical order, as I was curious to follow how Bruckner's style developed.  I found that to be a good way to approach his work.  (Incidentally, I also got Jochum's performances of the Masses at the same time.  They are well worth exploring.)  Some of the symphonies (i.e. Nos. 1 and 4) are big, powerful, fairly straightforward, and easy to appreciate, while others (i.e. Nos. 5 and 6) are more introspective and perhaps a bit more difficult to get to know.  While I like all of them, it is those in the latter category that intrigue me more and I will likely spend more time with.  Today, I found Harnoncourt's interpretation of Symphony No. 5 in a store, and since I want to compare a few performances of this symphony, I had to buy it.  After I listen to it, I'll post my impressions of it and see how it compares to Jochum's interpretation.

Heather

Offline beclemund

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 524
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #314 on: July 10, 2007, 03:22:46 PM »
I thought I was done with Bruckner's 8th (in terms of acquiring new interpretations beyond my current dozen) until a package arrived today that I had very nearly forgotten about... Music & Arts transfers of Abendroth and Furtwängler 1949 performances. :)

So, does anyone have a decent quality cover scan of Furtwängler's 8th they can attach to a post here so I can include it on my ID3 tag? The image on Amazon (which I normally rely on for cover art) is pretty poor, and I have not been able to locate another.

And does anyone have both the M&A and Testament '49 performances (they seem to be from consecutive days in March) and have any information on what, if anything, I might be missing out on from the Testament release?
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Sean

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #315 on: July 10, 2007, 11:54:50 PM »
(Moved from M's orchestras thread-)

By the way M, I've checked and the Accolade/ Galleria LPs of Karajan's Ninth I admired so much were the 1966 performance; I then bought the 1975 CD, which reveals little interpretive shift. Penguin hold that the earlier has 'natural gravity and profound contemplation in greater measure, with manners a degree more affectionate' with the later recording inevitably emphasizing strength, but they're both absolutely vintage Karajan, noble and direct, letting the music speak.

I admire all you Bruckner enthusiasts, especially as he is a somewhat acquired taste (the Bruckner abbey thread was extraordinary). Here's my modest exposure to the symphonies on disc-

00- Rozhdestvensky (& a radio recording before that)

0- Barenboim LP & Rozhdestvensky (Rozhdestvensky's 00 & 0 were in a double CD set and I strongly recommend the slightly lightweight Russian tinge he brings- the recording's also a landmark in realism)

1- Karajan (ruthless)

2- Haitink LP (Haas) & Karajan (Nowak) (Haitink very beautiful, this piece suiting his temperament well)

3- Haitink (1877) LP & Karajan (Nowak)

4- Karajan's EMI LP (both rustic charm and architecture)

5- Haitink LP & Karajan (Haitink's timid bevelling of edges annoys)

6- Baremboim LP & Karajan (Karajan doesn't quite succeed in finding the same gravity, if indeed it's in the piece)

7- Boehm LP (lacks magic, becoming turgid) & Karajan (magnificent). Also heard Masur live with Leipzig orchestra in Birmingham ~1989- v. fine and committed, from memory and batonless)

8- Karajan EMI LPs (Haas) & CD (Nowak) & VPO CD (Haas) (EMI is very strong with perhaps the finest slow movement, with the extended Haas sections, ever recorded; the VPO is a curious late disc, tempos and phrasing judged to absolute perfection but with controversial overbearing control at the same time).

9- Karajan LP (1966) & CD (sheer seriousness and grip over the whole canvass hard to match). Also the Samale, Phillips and Mazzuca completion of the last movement- very interesting towards the end, building up to a height of angry passion heard nowhere else in Bruckner.

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #316 on: July 13, 2007, 05:11:55 PM »
Lately I've  listened to a live performance of the 7th performed by the VPO under Boulez (from Vienna's Konzerthaus, 2005). Here are some impressions:

This is definitely one of the important recordings. It doesn't happen to have the qualities I'm looking for in that work, but there's no denying that it's extremely powerful and magnificently put together here. The orchestra's sound here is noticeably different from what I hear in other VPO versions of the work I own. Strings are rather leaner and more athletic, while still retaining a compact and very dense collective sound. Timpani are rather subservient and even diffident, a rather uncommon occurence. In other versions, even while not playing particularly loud they have better definition. That could be the hall (this orchestra is normally recorded in the Musikverein), the engineer's or the conductor's balances. The brass are their imposing, nay - jaw dropping- ususal self. Those trombones could stop an advancing army! Most different from what I usually hear is the wind sound. Here it's very much a dense, blended, collective sound, the harmonie as a conspectus instead of a series of individual sections with their own identity. That is most apparent in the first movement. Or maybe I just got used to it and stopped noticing anything unusual.

The interpretation is tight-coiled without being tense, determined but not hurried, powerful but never overbearing. The control over the mass of sound is amazing, and the very difficult rythmic frame is x-rayed with uncommon clarity. What it lacks is any indication that the conductor has found that deep layer of heart-on-sleeve emotion that lies at the core of the first two movements. It's not cold (this is the VPO after all), but it's never very warm. The coda of the Adagio is particularly disappointing in that respect. It never radiates as it does in many, many recordings.  Another disturbing element is the recording's total lack of soft dynamics. Forget about pp or ppp: a healthy p or mf is just about all we get. Is it the engineer's or the conductor's doing, I have no idea. At the other end of the spectrum, the sound is bright, glowing and very precise at all levels.  Altogether, this is extremely impressive and it certainly imposes itself as one of the incontournables among modern versions. It's just not what I like best. I got a similarly strong impression from their 8th, but this time I think Boulez' way was better suited to the work's grittiness and high drama.

Intrigued by the way Boulez had transformed the VPO sound for this reading, I played the first 2 minutes of the work from other versions to compare: 3 VPO (Böhm, Karajan, Giulini, all on DG), 3 Staatskapelle Dresden (Haitink, Blomstedt, Jochum), and 2 BPO (Jochum DG and Karajan EMI). Although the VPO is recognizably itself throughout, there are lighting subtleties that make for fascinatingly different hues (esp. from Karajan). With the SD, we get a different sound, and here the variations are more marked between recordings. This is a sleeker, silkier string sound, and the brass is slightly softer in sound, but sharper in profile. Jochum  clearly has the strongest personality here, and he brings out markedly darker colours from  the strings. In Berlin I couldn't detect any particular personality. In any case, the sound is so markedly different between the DG and EMI issues that engineering choices clearly take precedence. I believe these were recorded in the same venue (Jesus-Christus Kirche), but whereas the DG is clear and immediate, the EMI is hazy and has exaggerated front to back depth, making the wind choirs very recessed indeed. To make sure I played the scherzo, and the theme played by the solo trumpet seems to have been recorded a mile aways. Winds are almost like wallpaper. Slick, glitzy engineering. Nice in a way, but too cotton candy-like for Bruckner. The two Karajans are amazingly different from one another (I listened to them whole recently).  One feature I noticed is that Jochum, in both recordings - but esp so in Dresden - starts the work not with shimmering, hazy violin tremolos, but with sharply accented, electrically charged ones.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 05:15:17 PM by Lilas Pastia »

Sean

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #317 on: July 13, 2007, 10:37:47 PM »
Hi Lilas, great post and interesting to hear about the Boulez- I really don't like his conducting usually, or mostly anything about him, but would like to give this Seventh a go.

M forever

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #318 on: July 14, 2007, 02:00:20 AM »
I have that, too, and also the 9th live with Boulez and both the WP (it's not called "VPO", they don't speak English in Vienna, well, some do, but it's still called "Wiener Philharmoniker") and I find these all highly interesting. Good to have these recordings and a loud boo! for DG because they didn't record and release them which I think would have made sense because the 8th was a very successful recording which I hear also sold rathr well (for "classical" music standards).

I think the lack of timpani definition and the narrow dynamics are mostly caused by the recording which is a live radio recording. Not ideal, but still good enough, and it's good to have this highly interesting performance. The Konzerthaus actually has a somewhat harder, brighter, a little "glassier" overall sound than the Musikverein.

I haven't listened to either the EMI or the DG Karajan 7 in a long time, so my memory is not very fresh here, but when it comes to the 4th which was also recorded by both labels within only a few years around the same time, I vastly prefer the EMI recording. I think the DG 4 and 7 were actually both recorded in the JKK, not the Philharmonie, but I am not sure (and too lazy to get up and check!). Even though the sound is much more reverberant and in some respects less well defined, I find the timbres of the orchestra, the blend of the section, the overall "feel" of the sound and playing as captured by EMI much more representative of the way the BP actually sounded live under Karajan than the bright, glossy, sometimes a little screechy DG recordings. I would have to return to the recordings of the 7th to see if my impression there are similar, but right now, I am not so much in the mood to listen to this symphony.

You may find a somewhat similar approach to what you heard from Boulez in Dohnányi's Cleveland recording (Decca) which is also lean and mean and musically highly detailed and meticulously phrased. A very different approach, and one of my favorite recordings, is heard in Sinopoli's SD recording which is very lyrical and searching, but it also builds up to massive, explosive climaxes and it is one of the mostly sheerly beautiful sounding recordings, rich and colorful yet scintillating and with that typical Dresden string sheen and that flexible, vibrant quality which distinguishes this orchestra's playing.




Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #319 on: July 14, 2007, 05:26:10 AM »
Thanks, I'll certainly investigate the Sinopoli 7th ! I'm not very familiar with his Bruckner. I only had the 3rd, but although it was fine overall and impressive, I wasn't thrilled at the time (in those days my budget didn't allow for multiple purchases, so I traded a lot, and that was before I could burn a copy  :-\). I had issues with the edition (I hate the extra coda appended to the scherzo, it sticks out like a sore thumb), and at the time I favoured a much leaner approach, such as the Szell Cleveland (Sony). IIRC, the SD sound in that Sinopoli recording couldn't be more different than the Cleveland! That 'flexible, vibrant  quality' is something I have come to savour for its own sake. It certainly imparts a kind of organic pulse in the music that is independent of whom is conducting them. From my experience, only the greatest orchestras have that corporate personality that resists (or continues to shine through) any conductorial bias.

Back to the 7th, the 'lean and mean' approach works well in some cases, although I prefer a more expansive, affectionate way. Among the former, I love Gielen and  Schuricht in Den Hague (undernourished strings and coarse brass notwithstanding). For the latter, Blomstedt SD, Böhm and Giulini are transcendent. Karajan's VPO recording is unique and defies any description. I find Karajan's Bruckner extremely variable, but this is probably his finest, and one of the great Bruckner symphony recordings from any era.

Footnote on the comparisons I made yesterday. Even though his recording was made live in the cavernous Royal Albert Hall, the Haitink SD has a touch I didn't find so well done anywhere else: in the repeat of the theme, a horn chord underpins the strings (around 1:20 in). They come out clearly here even if marked pp (I suppose). That horn chord is usually buried (that's bad) or blended (that's better) in other versions. It brings a subtle shaft of light to that moment. Haitink may be a bit faceless as a conductor, but he's an extremely competent one. Going back to his recording to check that moment's timing  had me admiring the orchestra's strings again. Those magnificent cellos bring a tummy wobble. I checked the MPO under Thielemann immediately after that and the magic wasn't there.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 05:46:23 AM by Lilas Pastia »