Author Topic: Bruckner's cycles  (Read 34239 times)

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Drasko

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #120 on: July 18, 2009, 07:36:31 AM »
Seconded. Too many cycles feel in part like someone just trying to check off boxes for completeness' sake.

There is one point from which pro-cycles stand can be argued and that is they allow the listener better grasp at one composers totality of output and relations between works within it by using one musicians/conductors consistent approach. And that stands, but my feeling is that as a listener you're setting yourself for acres of listening tedium that way. 

Scarpia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #121 on: July 18, 2009, 07:48:49 AM »
Hey George what do you think of Karajan's 70s cycle? I've heard the 80s cycle, but see that the 70s is so cheap, and possibly better playing?

As was mentioned below, there was only 1 cycle, with many other individual recordings over the years.  To get the best of Karajan you have to pick and choose.  His recording of 8 in 1989 is one of the great recorded performances, ever.  It was made during a time when Karajan seemed to be reconnecting with the directness of some of his early recordings.  However, the 8 from the DG cycle (1976) is also a magnificent recording.  What impresses me is the extent to which he shapes climaxes with dynamics, sonority and phrasing which seems to impart an emotional poignancy to Bruckner's "granite blocks" of sound.  The recording of #6 from the cycle is also a revelation to me, particularly the slow movement, similar comments for 5.  For 4 Karajan is served by better sound in the EMI recording, made just a year before.  I really don't much like 7 or 9 from that cycle at all, there is the alternative from EMI.  For 1 and 2 Karajan seems to be going through the motions to complete the set.  #3 is fun, but the early digital sound is a bit harsh.  In any case, I consider his cycle well worth having, but not the last word, by any means.  I think with any cycle a typical listen will find weak recordings that he or she will want to supplement with other choices.



Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #122 on: July 18, 2009, 08:04:40 AM »
To get an idea of a conductor's interest in the early symphonies, a look at Berky's discography will provide hints. If one discounts appearances in complete sets, individual performances recorded live indicate an actual effort to bring them to the public. Typically, these have only been issued on obscure labels (Sardana, En Larmes, etc).

Among the Big Guys, here are those that are on record (litterally) on behalf of symphonies 00-2

- 00: nobody
- 0 : Asahina, Skrowaczewski, van Beinum, Leitner,
- 1: Abbado, Asahina, Haitink, Horenstein,  Leinsdorf, Ozawa, Muti, Rozhdestvensky.
- 2 : Chailly, Horenstein, Skrowaczewski, Giulini  (both different performances than their studio recordings), Muti, Haitink (in 1959 - nothing since), Kempe, Konwitschny, Masur, Stein (18 years after his splendiferous Decca recording), Scherchen (heavily cut finale).

Note: NO Jochum, NO Karajan, NO Solti, NO Barenboim, NO Tintner, NO Wand (they all recorded the cycle, twice for Jochum and Barenboim).

NO Celibidache, Klemperer, Furtwängler, Walter, Böhm, Blomstedt, Szell, Kubelik, Knappertsbusch, Stein, Harnoncourt, Kempe, Boulez, Keilberth, Schuricht, Mehta, Sanderling, Suitner, Tennstedt, Barbirolli, Mrawinsky or Sawallisch - conductors usually regarded as high priests of the Bruckner religion.

Where does that leave us ? On top of the individual performances noted above, only Asahina, Chailly, Haintink, and Skrowaczewski have recorded a complete cycle. All four are distinguished conductors, but none of their cycles is unanimously regarded as a benchmark. My preference for the Haitink is qualified. And among the other conductors noted, a good half are viewed as among the most important figures of the podium in the 20th century.

Obviously, the conclusion is that no conductor who did a complete cycle has held every symphony - or even half ! - into his repertoire on a consistent basis. In the past 15 years, Haitink has programmed the 7th, 8th and 9th again and again, with an occasional 4th or 6th. And he's generally regarded as the foremost Bruckner advocate in the concert hall of the last two decades. Pretty much the same pattern emerges for all the others (Karajan never programmed the 3rd or 6th, let alone the early symphonies).

Another conclusion that emerges is that many iconic performances (like Mehta's WP 9th, Bongartz or Keilberth 6th, Klemperer 5, Blomstedt 7, Furtwängler 8, Giulini 9, Böhm or Kubelik in 3 and 4, Suitner 4, etc - provide your own examples) - are the product of the conductor's deep association with the classic germanic repertoire, identification with german culture (the romantic movement in particular), and an inbred understanding of, and respect for their orchestra's sound, musical culture and capacities. Something I rarely hear with the 'new breed' conductors such as Salonen, Nagano.

So, why is it that such obviously committed brucknerians steadfastly refused - or failed to - approach the so-called 'lesser' symphonies (that's 0-2 and sometimes even 3 and 6). It could be due to concert hall or orchestra management conservatism (read: fear of poor box office sales). It could also be due to a conductor's high standards (such standards have disapeared). Barbirolli for example is famously on record to declare that it took him years to understand a score (I think he was referring to the Mahler 6th). No problem with score reading, but he had to appropriate (internalize) a work's whole ethos - not just the notes - before he felt ready to perform it.

In the end, it all comes down to this (again): complete cycles are actually 'incomplete' from the artistic standpoint.


Scarpia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #123 on: July 18, 2009, 08:14:16 AM »
Anyone know if Celibidache omitted the first two symphonies because he didn't like them?

This seems to imply that Celibidache had an intention of recording a Bruckner cycle.  In fact he detested the idea of recordings, never made commercial recordings and forbid any recordings of his live performances from being released.  The recordings were issued after his death against his expressed wishes by his son, who evidently wanted the cash.

George

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #124 on: July 18, 2009, 08:29:21 AM »
This seems to imply that Celibidache had an intention of recording a Bruckner cycle.

Really? That certainly wasn't my intention. I just wanted to know if he had negative feelings about the works.

Quote
 In fact he detested the idea of recordings, never made commercial recordings and forbid any recordings of his live performances from being released.

Yes, I was aware of this.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #125 on: July 18, 2009, 12:00:37 PM »
Note: NO Jochum, NO Karajan, NO Solti, NO Barenboim, NO Tintner, NO Wand (they all recorded the cycle, twice for Jochum and Barenboim).

Do you mean by "NO" that these guys didn't ever record 00-2, since you omitted them in your list? ???  Because at least some of them did some of those. These are omitted in your list:

00: Tintner
0: Solti, Barenboim (CSO only), Chailly
1: Tintner, Barenboim (x2), Jochum (x2), Karajan, Solti, Wand
2: Tintner, Jochum (x2), Karajan, Solti, Barenboim (x2), Wand

One note on no.2: Muti seems to be emerging as a new believer in No.2. He did the work to great acclaim in Vienna last season (a live broadcast can be found on operashare and concertarchive) and has scheduled it for next season with the CSO.

Also, Haitink is due out with another 3rd with Dresden on Profil.

Otherwise, it is sadly true that 00-2 are underrepresented in the concert hall, as well as in recordings. Which is sad, as I am rather fond of 0 and 2.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 12:14:24 PM by O Mensch »

DavidW

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #126 on: July 18, 2009, 12:21:23 PM »
I think that Andre is saying that they are not on record as supporting those symphonies as great works, and thus their recordings might not have as much love and effort put into them as some of the other symphonies.

Drasko

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #127 on: July 18, 2009, 12:27:39 PM »
[What] Do you mean by "NO"


To get an idea of a conductor's interest in the early symphonies, a look at Berky's discography will provide hints. If one discounts appearances in complete sets, individual performances recorded live indicate an actual effort to bring them to the public....

.....Note: NO Jochum, NO Karajan, NO Solti, NO Barenboim, NO Tintner, NO Wand (they all recorded the cycle, twice for Jochum and Barenboim).

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #128 on: July 18, 2009, 12:45:17 PM »
Thanks, Milos!  

Quote
If one discounts appearances in complete sets(...)
could also have been quoted. ;)

NO meant that these conductors are not on record for ever having programmed them in concert.

Offline MishaK

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #129 on: July 18, 2009, 02:33:54 PM »
Oh, OK. I was just confused because you did list Haitink individually, despite his recordings being part of a complete set. Sorry.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #130 on: July 18, 2009, 08:04:51 PM »
That's because he did conduct some of the early symphonies in the concert hall (like Masur) besides recording a complete studio cycle. That was the point of my argument: most of the 'cyclists' recorded them because it was part of their recording contract - not because they had any affinity with the works.

Renfield

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #131 on: July 19, 2009, 10:34:56 AM »
Speaking of affinity, it has always struck me as particularly jarring how completely Karajan seemed to disregard the 6th symphony. His recording reeks of nonchalance to my ears, an 'oh well, since we have to do them all' attitude I'm not used to, in his work.

(Then again, there aren't many who seem to actually have something to say on the 6th - this being another interesting thing to note.)

Offline Taxes-

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #132 on: July 19, 2009, 12:32:09 PM »
Interestingly, after recording the last three on ATMA classique (though the 8th has not been released yet, I believe), the next symphony that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be tackling is the first.

Renfield

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #133 on: July 19, 2009, 12:49:12 PM »
Interestingly, after recording the last three on ATMA classique (though the 8th has not been released yet, I believe), the next symphony that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be tackling is the first.

Whichever one he's tackling, I'm still inclined to ask, 'why?' He's not a bad conductor as such, but I don't think waiting a decade or two would've hurt him; unless he's going to pull a Jochum, and do a second cycle later on.

Offline Taxes-

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #134 on: July 19, 2009, 01:08:39 PM »
Whichever one he's tackling, I'm still inclined to ask, 'why?' He's not a bad conductor as such, but I don't think waiting a decade or two would've hurt him; unless he's going to pull a Jochum, and do a second cycle later on.
Why not? It's with discs like those that he's managed to get known outside of the Montréal area, and I don't see his age as problematic either, his personality seems perfectly adapted to a composer like Bruckner to me. And on the contrary, I'd be very glad to see him conduct more than one cycle, there seemed to be a hell lot of Giulini in that 8th I heard, I'd be very interested to compare it with his approach from a few decades in the future.

Renfield

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #135 on: July 19, 2009, 01:17:50 PM »
Why not? It's with discs like those that he's managed to get known outside of the Montréal area, and I don't see his age as problematic either, his personality seems perfectly adapted to a composer like Bruckner to me. And on the contrary, I'd be very glad to see him conduct more than one cycle, there seemed to be a hell lot of Giulini in that 8th I heard, I'd be very interested to compare it with his approach from a few decades in the future.

Still, the logistics of a complete cycle so early make it seem ill-advised, to me. Not that I wouldn't welcome being proven wrong.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #136 on: July 19, 2009, 05:32:16 PM »
So far all the NZ recordings were taped during concerts. The 8th was given 4 times in 4 different venues last June. I don't know which one was taken down on disc, but I'd bet it's the one given in the same church 7 and 9 originate from (I was there when they did/taped the ninth). I suppose the First will similarly be the product of live performances.

Offline Taxes-

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #137 on: July 19, 2009, 06:05:36 PM »
So far all the NZ recordings were taped during concerts. The 8th was given 4 times in 4 different venues last June. I don't know which one was taken down on disc, but I'd bet it's the one given in the same church 7 and 9 originate from (I was there when they did/taped the ninth). I suppose the First will similarly be the product of live performances.
Yes, that's where and when they recorded it. They won't be done with all the symphonies in a while anyway, he's doing one Bruckner per season with the métropolitain and that's it.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #138 on: July 20, 2009, 06:37:39 PM »
Thanks, Taxes. I really wish I could have attended the 8th, esp. in Saint-Nom-de Jésus church in East end Montreal. It has very good acoustics. I'm glad that's the one that'll end up on that forthcoming cd. I've had that 9th on my shelves ever since it came out, but there's so much stuff waiting to be listened to... Also, I'm almost afraid to confront the audio product with my memories of that concert.

jlaurson

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Re: Bruckner's cycles
« Reply #139 on: January 18, 2013, 02:03:55 PM »

Finished this, a few minutes ago. (Days of work, if it is to be believed!)


A Survey of Bruckner Cycles
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-survey-of-bruckner-cycles.html


(Help with broken links or wrong information or mix-ups always much appreciated.)