Author Topic: Bruckner's Abbey  (Read 493313 times)

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Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #420 on: October 06, 2007, 09:12:23 AM »
One conductor's approach - and its relative success - can vary widely over time. Böhm, Karajan, Haitink, Celibidache, Wand and Jochum for example have recorded the 8th 3 to 8 times each, with vastly different results. For each of these four conductors I would not hesitate to pick one recording among my favourites, while the other 2 or 3 they committed would be some way down the list.

Even the 1949 Furtwängler BPO exists in apparently similar versions, but the results are different enough to make one a firm recommendation (the March 15 performance), while the other is only half-baked (March 14).
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 09:16:10 AM by Lilas Pastia »

Offline edward

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #421 on: October 09, 2007, 11:28:04 AM »
Even the 1949 Furtwängler BPO exists in apparently similar versions, but the results are different enough to make one a firm recommendation (the March 15 performance), while the other is only half-baked (March 14).
Not to mention the various pirate issues of March 14, which are actually a mixture of the two performances. Buyer beware!
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mahlertitan

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #422 on: October 23, 2007, 10:50:28 AM »
There are two recorded performances (That i know of). One by Johannes Wildner with NPW and the other by Kurt Eichhorn with BOL. Although they use the same score, the performance are very different. For instance, Wildner's finale lasted 23 minutes, while Eichhorn's lasted an amazing 30 minutes! Personally, I prefer the Wildner version, as for the completion. There were some less than spectacular moments in the finale, for instance; it felt as if traces of 8th symphony was "pasted" onto the score, and it had a few awkward timpani beats atypical to Bruckner's usual rhythms... These "deficiencies" however, did not effect the overall quality of the completion. The ending was convincingly "Brucknerian". Moreover, it is a fact that almost everything in SPMC were actually written by Bruckner himself.

Does anyone like this finale? What do you guys think about it?

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #423 on: October 23, 2007, 02:46:31 PM »
Define SPMC please...

mahlertitan

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #424 on: October 23, 2007, 04:17:41 PM »
Define SPMC please...

from wikipedia:
Samale/Mazzuca/Phillips/Cohrs completion (1992 / rev. 1996 / new rev. 2005)

For this venture Samale and Mazzuca were joined by John A. Phillips and Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs. This completion proposes one way to realize Bruckner's intention to combine themes from all four movements. This version has been recorded by Johannes Wildner and also by Kurt Eichhorn, with the Bruckner Orchestra of Linz, for the Camerata label.

A new, revised edition of this completion was published in 2005 by Nicola Samale and Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs (www.musikmph.de). Cohrs´ latest research made it also possible to recover the musical content of one missing bifolio in the Fugue fully from the particello-sketch. This new edition, in all 665 bars long, makes use of 569 bars from Bruckner himself.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #425 on: October 24, 2007, 01:26:09 PM »
There are two recorded performances (That i know of). One by Johannes Wildner with NPW and the other by Kurt Eichhorn with BOL. Although they use the same score, the performance are very different. For instance, Wildner's finale lasted 23 minutes, while Eichhorn's lasted an amazing 30 minutes! Personally, I prefer the Wildner version, as for the completion. There were some less than spectacular moments in the finale, for instance; it felt as if traces of 8th symphony was "pasted" onto the score, and it had a few awkward timpani beats atypical to Bruckner's usual rhythms... These "deficiencies" however, did not effect the overall quality of the completion. The ending was convincingly "Brucknerian". Moreover, it is a fact that almost everything in SPMC were actually written by Bruckner himself.

Does anyone like this finale? What do you guys think about it?

I haven't heard the Eichhorn version. Compared to the abysmal Talmi recording, the Wildner is excellent. I was also positively surprised by the first three movements and the orchestral execution generally. Do you have the Harnoncourt performance of the fragments with his lecture? The version Talmi recorded seemed to have made every (mis)"correction" and mistake that Harnoncourt complains of in his lecture. The Wildner, by contrast seems to contain all of the original material that Harnoncourt performs in his lecture. The rest (which includes some transitions mostly) is of course made up. But the Wildner version is the most convincing completion I have heard so far. I guess we will  never know what the final fugue on key themes from his major symphonies was really supposed to sound like.

mahlertitan

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #426 on: October 24, 2007, 01:30:15 PM »
I haven't heard the Eichhorn version. Compared to the abysmal Talmi recording, the Wildner is excellent. I was also positively surprised by the first three movements and the orchestral execution generally. Do you have the Harnoncourt performance of the fragments with his lecture? The version Talmi recorded seemed to have made every (mis)"correction" and mistake that Harnoncourt complains of in his lecture. The Wildner, by contrast seems to contain all of the original material that Harnoncourt performs in his lecture. The rest (which includes some transitions mostly) is of course made up. But the Wildner version is the most convincing completion I have heard so far. I guess we will  never know what the final fugue on key themes from his major symphonies was really supposed to sound like.

Yes, I have the Harnoncourt one, but his version is not really a "performing" version. He just played the fragments (with added commentary). Comprehensive though they were, the music is still unfinished.

What's so great about Wildner's recording is that it uses the newest material, and more impressively it offers an "ending" that most of us would find satisfying.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #427 on: October 24, 2007, 06:21:13 PM »
I haven't heard any completion that sounded remotely satisfying to my ears, including those heard on the Inbal, eichhorrn or Wildner versions. But on an interpretive basis, I give high marks to the Eichhorn. I doubt very much that this particular quest will ever result in any satisfactory result. I have the same problem with the various Mahler 10 completions. They all sound woefully incomplete, sort of watching skeletons parade with Chanel, Versace or Gautier outfits. Under the fabric, colours and variously (un)felicitous shapes, the bones are poking uncomfortably.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #428 on: October 24, 2007, 06:49:56 PM »
Heard tonight at the Symphony:

Bach: concerto no. 1, with Peter Serkin
Bruckner: Symphony no. 2
Herbert Blomstedt cond. the Montreal SO.


The Bach worked much better than I had thought it would. Surprisingly well, actually. Good choice from the soloist, and excellent rapport between him and the conductor. I only question the rather bizarre choice of a tinkly harpsichord in the continuo.

The symphony was of course the major offering here, and I was surprised to see that the hall was rather well filled (1800-2000 by rough estimate). This is a rarely performed work, and the first time I ever heard it in concert. Maestro Blomsted is an old hand at Bruckner, having recorded some of the symphonies
with quite superb results (his Dresden 7th earns my unabated admiration, and the Leipzig 9th is close behind). This was only the second time I was hearing him in concert, and both times it was in Bruckner ! Apparently, there might be a cycle in the works (John Berky thinks so).

One of the salient features of tonight's concert was the choice of the Carragan version (revised 1995). This is much fuller than the olden Haas or Nowak versions that have been recorded many times in the sixties and seventies. That lasts some 53-58 minutes, whereas this performance went on for a goodish 65' (Tintner goes on to an unprecedented 72'). I'm a bit confused as to the status of this version. Berky's site mentions two Carrragan efforts. One is labeled "1872 First concept version. Ed. William Carragan [2005]" and the other "1873 First performance version. Ed. William Carragan" with no mention of date. So, given that the program notes mention 1995, I'd assume this would be "1873 First performance version. Ed. William Carragan". But Berky's site gives the middle movements' order for this as Adagio and Scherzo, whereas what we heard was Scherzo and Adagio (the order Berky gives for the 2005 version!). Are you still with me? ::)

In any case, this concert was hugely successful, with the orchestra giving their all, and the audience erupting in surprisingly enthusiastic ovations at the end (Mr B. came back 3 times to acknowledge the applause). Whatever, it didn't change my view of this symphony as probably the most episodic in the  Bruckner canon. It is entirely typical and quite wonderful in itself, but it lacks a few key ingredients the composer was to develop over time: a strong, flowing and thematically memorable slow movement (however seraphic that concluding horn solo is, it doesn't a great adagio make) - and a taut, tightly constructed Finale. The latter point could be argued, and I suspect I could easily be mollified, but I still thing the best case for this symphony is made in the later revisions (as exemplified by the Giulini, Stein, Karajan, Haitink and Jochum recordings).

Notwithstanding, if ever a recording materializes and you're interested in the second, this would possibly be THE version to have. HB is pushing 80, but like former Montreal SO MD Franz-Paul Decker (well into his eighties), he is a masterful Bruckner conductor and his unflagging energy carries huge conviction and sweeps any reservations by the wayside.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 06:55:45 PM by Lilas Pastia »

mahlertitan

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #429 on: October 24, 2007, 08:59:15 PM »
I realized Blomstedt's mastery of Bruckner's music not long ago. By sheer luck, I encountered a live recording of him conducting Bruckner's 3rd (1873 Verison) with SFS. That was an amazing performance, and i was quite shocked that SFS never released it on CD.

I will, in the near future, share this wonderful performance with everyone.


Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #430 on: October 25, 2007, 04:43:02 AM »
Please do!

Apparently, Mr. Carragan was in the audience last night. That might give credence to rumours of future recordings. Something's cooking in the kitchen.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #431 on: October 25, 2007, 05:44:38 AM »
Yes, I have the Harnoncourt one, but his version is not really a "performing" version. He just played the fragments (with added commentary). Comprehensive though they were, the music is still unfinished.

I didn't claim it was. Like I said in my initial post: "the Harnoncourt performance of the fragments". It's just helpful as background in order to know what's original and what's not in the various completions.

mahlertitan

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #432 on: October 25, 2007, 06:06:15 AM »

Offline Keemun

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #433 on: October 25, 2007, 06:36:09 AM »
MahlerTitan, thanks for uploading those!   :)
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Offline Cato

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #434 on: October 25, 2007, 08:32:26 AM »
I re-listened to the NAXOS CD of the Finale of the Bruckner Ninth conducted by Johannes Wildner last night, and compared it to the Carragan version.

Certainly the Wildner version gives a greater hint at the structural and emotional complexity which Bruckner was imagining, especially the unexpected return of the 1st movement's huge opening proclamation, and the dissonant clashing in several of the climaxes goes beyond the earlier version. 

Still, we are not yet there yet, and can only hope some archive has the last parts of the puzzle: supposedly the entire movement was completed in unorchestrated form, but taken as souvenirs by his students and others after Bruckner's death.

See also :

http://mahlerarchives.net/archives/cyphersB9.pdf
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Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #435 on: October 28, 2007, 05:55:17 PM »
I’ve gone through all my personal recordings of the 6th symphony in the past couple of months. Of all Bruckner’s symphonies, the 6th is probably the only one that never makes me want to stop replaying it until I’ve exhausted all possible listening sessions. Like all the other symphonies from 2 to 9 it’s endlessly fascinating. But unlike the others, it never overwhelms me emotionally or sonically. It just begs for repat visits! The slow movement in particular is a thing of endless beauty and wonder.  It is framed by 3 other movements where rythmic emphasis rules, probably the reason why Bruckner famously termed the symphony his boldest (« die sechste ist die keckste »)

Footnote : the first movement is marked  « Majestoso ». The 'j' in Majestoso is possibly a misspelling of the Italian Maestoso, as the German word is majestätisch. The « j »  is thus not a misprint, but possibly an ur-misspelling from the composer!

I’ll quote here from a very good web article for a short description of the work :

Quote
Although a work with many fine passages, and a great deal of internal consistency, the sixth has always been regarded as somewhat imperfect; as Bruckner specialist Georg Tintner put it, it consists of "three perfect movements, and one [the finale] that is somewhat problematic."

it is distinguished by richly varied orchestration and hugely contrasted thematic ideas. The opening movement begins with an urgent rhythmic ostinato played by the violins [I liken this rythmic figure to a morse code message]; The opening ostinato figure returns frequently and unaltered as the movement progresses, and becomes especially potent at the climax of the development section. During the coda, trumpets and horns challenge each other antiphonally, as if sounding across vast distances of time and space.

The Adagio which follows is Bruckner's only symphonic slow movement in conventional sonata form  [I love that one above all other Bruckner slow movements]. The hymn-like F major opening theme suggests reverential awe in an elegiac string threnody, over which the oboe responds plaintively. A second theme lightens the texture, with a richly-hued episode for strings, but particularly impressive is the extended and yearning coda, after the manner of a funeral march [NB : personally I see this as a distinct theme, but it does immediately follow the second one] .

The scherzo is perhaps the most fantastical of any to be found among Bruckner's nine symphonies; whereas others are bucolic and rustic in mood, this is demonic and threatening, its fearsome tensions only assuaged during the more relaxed trio section.

The finale presents an austere, purposeful idea for the violins, on which the second clarinet comments; a contrasting lyrical melody follows. The music progresses in urgent style.  When the long-awaited resolution arrives, Bruckner brings back the ostinato rhythm heard at the start of the symphony, along with its main first subject idea, now played by three trombones.

Here are the versions I’ve heard, presented in alphabetical order. A short comment will follow and a RebLem-type notation follows (like it or hate it, it’s still rather convenient to use!). First note is for conducting and orchestral playing, second for sound). Timings are taken from Berky’s discography.

Bernstein NYP (1976) a  live, not a commercial recording). 56:48 15:29 17:31 8:41 14:29.   Bernstein has some excellent ideas, but they don’t cohere within movements, and he doesn’t seem to have an integrated conception of the work. And his orchestra is not quite idiomatic (whatever that means – but you know when you hear it). Still, it’s powerful and fervently put across. The best movement is the seraphic Adagio. ……………….. 8/7

Bongartz , Leipzig Gewandhaus O. (Berlin Classics, 1964). 58:31 17:25 18:10 8:24 14:32. This is the best of all recordings I know. The conductor’s vision is a bold, energetic, emphatic one. Orchestral playing is brilliant and massively sonorous, fully the equal of what one would expect from Berlin, Chicago or Vienna. And yet it coheres beautifully and never sounds like a military operation. Note that this version takes a couple minutes more for the first movement, emphasizing the majestoso marking, but with sharp rythmic accentuation. 10/9

Celibidache Munich Philharmonic O.  (EMI 1991 –live). 62:29 17:02 22:01 8:18 15:08 . Here’a description I found on the net to which I can’t add or take away anything : « Celibidache directs an amiable reading, not as brilliant or precise in ensemble as the finest but warm and convincing, with some wonderful playing. He steers an ideal course between expressive warmth and architectural strength. At slower speeds than usual, Celibidache’s rhythmic lift both in the slow movement and in the finale brings exhilarating results, sparkling and swaggering. Throughout, Celi has an unerring sense of purpose and the momentum never slackens ». True, but I miss a sense of militantism and exultation. Atttacks are uniformly soft and a bit spongy. 8/9

Haitink, Concertgebouw O (Philips 1970)
53:59 15:16 17:25 7:51 13:27. This has long been one of my favourite performances. It sparkles, glows with a dark luminescence (the orchestra’s familiar burnished yet trenchant sound), and the conductor never imposes any specific ideas that would impede the flow of the music. It’s unimpeachable.  9/10

Jochum Bavarian Radio S. O.  (DGG 1966) 55:05 16:31 17:08 7:55 13:20. The above comment could also be used to describe the Jochum version, with the difference that Jochum is more impulsive, his orchestra lighter and brighter of tone, and the recording more dated. Overall it’s not as characterful or imposing as the Staatskapelle Dresden from 1978 (56:23 16:11 18:36 7:58 13:35). The latter is probably the best among the easily obtainable commercial recordings. The orchestra play as if they own the core. 7/7 and 9/8 respectively.

Kegel with the Leipzig Radio Symphony O.  (1972, Ode Classics
- 55:15 16:22 15:33 8:18 14:56). This is very audibly from the same cultural and musical school of interpretation and playing as the Bongartz and Dresden Jochum versions. These orchestras play with a tonal heft and rythmic sharpness that makes the work sound huge, downright immense at times. This orchestral culture requires from the conductor the patience to let the players sound the notes with the fullest possible tone. And that, in turn, requires the tempi to be relatively broad (note the timing of the finale here). This Kegel version is notable for the orchestra’s gargantuan but slightly blunt tonal resources and the rather emphatic conducting. Overall it’s hugely imposing, in a Götterdämmrung-like way. Not my favourite, but highly original. 9/7

Klemperer and the Concertgebouw (1961, Living Stage). 51:00 17:12 12:43 8:34 12:07. Note here some timing idiosyncrasies :  they are not printing mistakes! At the beginning the ’morse code’ rythmic figure is played with an arthritic, comatose, legotoese feeling that makes one’s jaw drop – and the first theme has not even been sounded! When it does it is suitably swaggering, in a slightly ragged way.At that tempo, the whole movement should last over 22 minutes. But no : Bongartz and Celibidache have the same overall timing. The rest of the movement has the speeds lurching forward and backward at will, but somehow it’s always arresting and despite orchestral infelicities (the players must have been through hell that night!) it’s a really interesting reading. The odd thing about the adagio is that at that very flowing tempo I never had any sense of rush or undue speed. Like an Eroica Marcia Funebre of the same length it can be made to work.  But enough said. Nobody but the diehard completist will place an order for this when there are at least a dozen more idiomatic performances readily available. I like it for its sheer perversity, but will not make it a recommendation. 8/5

Keilberth and the Berlin Philharmonic (1963, Telefunken
- 55:50 17:06 14:40 8:46 15:18). This is probably my second favourite version. It has all that Bongartz offers, with slightly less ‘face’ to the conducting, but more refined tone from the orchestra. Here the BPO cover themselves in glory. They have the chops to play the work to the hilt without ever sounding crass or overbearing. They deliver tons of decibels but also loads of refined tone and sensitive phrasing. Probably the most remarkably played version around. The 1963 sound is better than all but the most recent efforts. A classic. 10/9

Leitner and the SWR O. Baden-Baden und Freiburg (1982, Hänssler classics
- 55:45 15:47 15:28 9:18 15:05) : This is on a par with the Bongartz and Keilberth versions. Probably the most ‘natural’ of all interpretations I’ve heard. All the qualities of power, beauty, refinement, resilience and exhilaration I want to hear are heard in this recording, but within  a calmly authoritative vision that gives the feeling of inevitability. The orchestra is spectacularly natural and authoritative. Recorded sound is magnificent : spacious and translucent, sonorous and well detailed, with beautiful front to back perspective. No ‘in your face’ agression here. (NB : this is famously coupled with the same conductor’s staggering Hartmann 6th symphony). 10 years later Leitner revisited the work with the Basel Sinfonieorchester (live recording on Accord (61:55 18:02 18:13 9:09 16:23). I use the word ‘revisited’, in its secondary meaning of "reconsider" or "reevaluate". Note here that  three of the movements have considerably broadedned, making this the longest of all (not counting Celibidache’s eccentrically elongated Adagio). This version demands patience form the listener but it is repaid in spades, as what comes across is a magnificent symphonic edifice of immense beauty and huge power. Rythms are still sharply etched, but orchestral attacks are slightly blunted à la Celi, so to speak. Altogether this is a specialist’s version which I heartily recommend to those who have so far concentrated on the sharply rythmic versions and wish to explore the work’s inherent beauty and grandeur. 10/10 and 9/10 respectively.

Lopez-Cobos and the Cincinnati S. O. (1991 Telarc, 56:44 16:00 17:52 8:21 14:14). This is the lyrical pendant to the slightly more youthful Haitink version. Lopez-cobos emphasizes the beauty of the scoring, the plasticity of the themes, the nobility of the end movements. Note too that his orchestra has darker trombones and trumpets, wherear Haitink’s has bolder horns and more ringing trumpets. Both are like healthy, similarly good-looking siblings with a slightly different personality : one outgoing and dynamic, the other at once strong yet sensual. An excellent choice. 9/10.

Heinz Rögner and the Rundfunk sinfonieorchester Berlin (2000, Audio Pure Music 60:00 16:12 18:01 8:54 16:36 – NB : not to be confused with the 1980 recording, a vastly different recording of some 8 minutes’ shorter duration). Another version in the Bongartz-Kegel mould. Hard-hitting and boldly assertive, but less sharply contoured than either. Excellent in its way (they all feature my preferred B6 orchestral sound), but it gives short shrift to the work’s never absent mendelssohnian influences. 8/9

Skrowaczewski and the Saarbrücken (or Saarland) Radio Orchestra. On Arte Nova
- 56:53 15:39 18:36 8:43 13:53. note that this is the closest in timing to the Haitink version, but it’s an entirely different interpretation. Frankly, it’s a bit faceless. Efficient and proficient, but ultimately deficient (too low-keyed). I could certainly imagine someone liking this and learning to love the work through it (quite an accomplishment), but there’s a lot more that remains to be discovered through a more adventurous, bolder interpretative stance. 7/9

Horst Stein and the Vienna Philharmonic. This is a Decca recording from 1972 (54:41 16:42 16:10 8:06 13:43). It is one of the top three or four among this list. First and foremost one notices the orchestra’s Rolls-Royce refinement and Ferrari power. Stein’s best attribute is his ability to let this great orchestra do their thing as only they can. This sounds utterly different from any other version I’ve heard : it’s not just the famous brass, but the strings ands winds lend their inimitable colour to the interpretation. In a sense, this is as ‘exotic’ sounding as could be imagined. It has such refinement and authority that it’s hard to imagine it done any other way. Brilliant, colourful, sweepingly dynamic playing. Grandly resonant and bold recording, with powerful and precise bass - one of the very best around. 9.5 / 10.

In short : Bongartz, Keilberth, Leitner SWR  and Stein. These four. 


It’s been  too long since I last heard the Karajan, Barenboim CSO, Klemperer Philharmonia, Tintner and Sawallisch, but while they were in my possession they all left something to be desired. Of those I wish I could hear are the various Blomstedts and Wands
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 06:18:50 PM by Lilas Pastia »

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #436 on: October 28, 2007, 05:57:31 PM »
Awesome post, I read your reviews in this thread with interest, and your 6th reviews in particular have given me several names I haven't heard in Bruckner to check out.
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mahlertitan

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #437 on: October 28, 2007, 07:27:29 PM »
Very nice reviews, informative too. I haven't started on the 6th yet, (I am currently infatuated with the 00, 2,3rd symphonies, but i'll get to the 6th sooner or later). There are some names there that i don't have a clue about, like Bongartz? Kegel? Who? I would like to know more about them. I also heard some of the recording on your list, but i need more "careful" listenings to actually "understand" the work. I am also in the process of getting hold of a Keilberth copy. And last but not least, could you please be so kind as to share the Bernstein 6th with us?

Offline Daverz

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #438 on: October 28, 2007, 08:28:15 PM »
I’ve gone through all my personal recordings of the 6th symphony

I think you pretty much covered it.  If you can't find a compatible recording in that list, forget it.

One thing I love about the Celibidache is that it is so much more Romantic and colorful than any other 6th I've heard.  Really a very different sound conception.  Actually, I'd say the same about the 3rd from Stuttgart.

Also, I love the Klemperer studio recording for it's huge soundstage and pinpoint imaging.  Great fun to listen to when I had the big Dunlavy speakers spread out.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's Abbey
« Reply #439 on: October 29, 2007, 12:58:14 PM »
Hi, there everybody, thanks for the kind words. This was just what you call a labour of love :D.

Briefly: Kegel, Bongartz, Rögner, Konwitschny, Suitner and Leitner are names you will see in the austro-german concert circuit (the radio orchestras mostly) and although they are not as well known as Keilberth and Tintner, they are of the same caliber, if not higher (I'm thinking of Tintner in particular, who is overrated IMO). What militates against their standing in the "famous conductors" roster has nothing to do with their musical culture or technical abilities, and everything to do with the relative isolation brought by concentrating their carreer locally. With no or little "western" appointments (particularly true if they worked in the former GDR), their status was more or less that of "Heinz Who?" or "Otmar What?". Only if you land a position in Munich, Vienna, Dresden and Berlin will English or Americans take note. As for the French, never mind, they wouldn't pay attention anyway. ::). Getting a stint in Bayreuth helps (cf. Knappertsbusch, Keilberth, Kraus), but other than that, we have to be content with those radio releases (note how many "Rundfunk" discs are included!).

With the extremely high technical level these orchestras have, and given a conductor who has been steeped in the tradition and soundworld of Bruckner, I'd have no hesitation top pick them any day over their more famous colleagues. There is simply no substitute for the REAL austro-german orchestra sound and their musical culture. The end result is audibly superior in most cases. And that's the only thing that counts in my book!

I'd have to check where I got that Bernstein link. If it's still in my Outlook I can get it easily here. If it's on my hard disc only that means I 'd have to upload it. Now, that's something entirely different for me: I've never done it before!!