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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Superhorn on February 22, 2009, 12:42:28 PM

Title: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Superhorn on February 22, 2009, 12:42:28 PM
   Back in the 90s, I got an LP of the Chandos Bruckner 9th with William Caragan's version of the completed finale, and later heard the Inbal/Frankfurt recording of the finale on Teldec by two Italian musicologists, Samale and Mazucca.  The Chandos has Yoav Talmi and the Oslo Philharmonic.
 
   I am now convinced that that either of these versions should be more widely performed and recorded, and am no longer satisfied with the familiar three movement torso of this sublime work. There are also recordings by the late Kurt Eichhorn, Johannes Wildner and Harnoncourt which I have not heard yet. The notion that sketches of the finale were to few and fragmentary for a completion has been disproved, and the unfamiliar music brings the symphony to a thrilling conclusion. 

   I recently heard a fine live performance of the Bruckner 9th by Eschenbach and the New York Philharmonic on WQXR , but was disappointed that Eschenvbach did not do the finale. Just as there is no longer any reason to do Berg's Lulu in the unfinished version, I feel the Bruckner 9th finale is indispensible. What do others think ?
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on February 22, 2009, 12:54:11 PM
I've heard the "completed" finale a couple times. To put it bluntly - I think it's crap  :P

So I'm GLAD that conductors don't play this movement. What could possibly follow that sublime, end-of-the-world coda to the Adagio? I think Bruckner did finish the 9th - he just wasn't willing to admit it.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Haffner on February 22, 2009, 01:09:26 PM
What could possibly follow that sublime, end-of-the-world coda to the Adagio? I think Bruckner did finish the 9th - he just wasn't willing to admit it.



I agree. It's the way the Adagio ends as well. Just doesn't seem to be more to say. Just me.

Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Bulldog on February 22, 2009, 01:34:52 PM


I agree. It's the way the Adagio ends as well. Just doesn't seem to be more to say. Just me.



And there's also the dubious practice of completing somebody else's music.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 22, 2009, 01:37:34 PM
I agree. It's the way the Adagio ends as well. Just doesn't seem to be more to say. Just me.

That Adagio certainly appeals to me (a cynic, and an unrepentant heathen  ;D ): listening to that bleak, painful movement, it appears Bruckner finally loses his faith (like I did). But isn't that doing the man a disservice? We know for a fact he had no intention of ending the symphony on a downer. He may have had doubts at the end of his life, but his faith remained intact, and basically optimistic. It's like Mahler's case: if all we knew about the man and his music at the end of his life was based on Das Lied and the 9th symphony, we'd have a very distorted picture. In fact, Mahler was not ready to give up the ghost; to put it crudely, his 10th symphony, contradicting the 9th, says: "Hell no, I ain't giving up yet! I'm going to win back Alma, and prosper."

I have Harnoncourt's Ninth but haven't listened to it yet (a project for tomorrow perhaps). Whether or not there's enough "Bruckner" extant to fashion a satisfying conclusion is something I won't know until I've heard it. It's worrisome that Bruckner didn't even begin to work on a coda. (I have no doubt about the merits of the performing versions of Mahler 10.)

Sarge
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Haffner on February 22, 2009, 01:49:36 PM
It's interesting to me how many people heard the Adagio of Bruckner's 9th as a loss of faith. To me it sounds more like beautiful resignation to the will-slash-inevitability of (insert one's preferred noun here: Fate, Creator, That-Which-Can't-Be-Changed, etc.). He knows there isn't much time, and that his will won't be done, so he welcomes with open arms whatever "Fill-In-The-Noun" deals him.

But again, that's just me.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: MDL on February 22, 2009, 01:50:09 PM
How detailed and extensive are the sketches for the 4th movement? I'm with Sgt Rock on this: the downbeat ending is intensely moving and satisfying, and reconstructions of the last movement may be "crap" and not acceptable for regular performance, but it isn't indecent to want to have a vague idea of how Bruckner intended to finish this astounding work-in-progress.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 22, 2009, 02:09:06 PM
It's interesting to me how many people heard the Adagio of Bruckner's 9th as a loss of faith. To me it sounds more like beautiful resignation to the will-slash-inevitability of (insert one's preferred noun here: Fate, Creator, That-Which-Can't-Be-Changed, etc.). He knows there isn't much time, and that his will won't be done, so he welcomes with open arms whatever "Fill-In-The-Noun" deals him.

But again, that's just me.


We're probably both wrong, Andy, interpreting Bruckner according to our own needs and philosophies. If Karl reads our comments he'll surely castigate us for readng such subjective meaning into Bruckner's objective music  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckbner Ninth ?
Post by: Haffner on February 22, 2009, 02:19:53 PM

We're probably both wrong, Andy, interpreting Bruckner according to our own needs and philosophies. If Karl reads our comments he'll surely castigate us for readng such subjective meaning into Bruckner's objective music  ;D

Sarge


He'd probably be right, and we probably are both wrong. Point well made, and taken.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: eyeresist on February 22, 2009, 05:22:43 PM
I've only heard Inbal's performance of the finale, which I found very disappointing. However, I blame Inbal, not the reconstructors. Even if it wasn't "true" Bruckner, a talented conductor should be able to make it sound like him. Possibly a lack of dynamic markings in the score is part of the problem.

There are a couple of new recordings of the latest reconstruction, conducted by Naito (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2529704) and Bosch (http://www.hmv.co.jp/product/detail/2608065).

Very interesting summary of the scholarly facts involved here (http://www.abruckner.com/articles/articlesenglish/vanderwalaartthefi/).
 
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: MishaK on February 22, 2009, 07:43:52 PM
Guys,

If you're really interested in B9, I would highly recommend you listen to Harnoncourt's lecture and performance of surviving original excerpts. It will make it a little bit clearer what original parts actually survive, what the master plan for the movement was and what are common errors in modern completions. The Carragan version Inbal performs is crap for just about all the reasons Harnoncourt mentions (like mistakenly trying to harmonically resolve Bruckner's wonderful dissonances). There have since been more recent revisions to Carragan's completion that take into account more recent scholarship as well as more recently recovered original fragments that were stolen from Bruckner's deathbed. The Wildner performance is actually quite decent and at the Naxos price certainly worth a listen if you're curious. There is an even more recent revision of the Samale-Phillips-Cohrs-Mazzuca completion that is on this disc that is available at jpc:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w183/front/0/4039956307112.jpg)

This is the Sinfonieorchester Aachen with Marcus Bosch. My mom actually played as an extra in that performance. I haven't gotten my grubby hands on this CD yet, but it should be good from what I hear.

Simone Young has been doing a terrific job with her Bruckner cycle of only original versions with her Hamburg orchestra. She hasn't gotten around to the 9th yet, but I hope she considers recording a completion of the last movement.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 22, 2009, 09:04:15 PM
If you're really interested in B9, I would highly recommend you listen to Harnoncourt's lecture and performance of surviving original excerpts. It will make it a little bit clearer what original parts actually survive, what the master plan for the movement was and what are common errors in modern completions.

Ohhhh, didn't know about the lecture. Ordered. Task for next weekend :)
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: eyeresist on February 22, 2009, 09:20:17 PM
Reading a bit further, it looks like Daniel Harding's recording with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra uses the most recent edition of the reconstruction. This review (http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=5161) (of the performance before the recording) sounds very promising. I think there are torre nts available, but if you want the CD you will have to mail-order (!) from Antec Classics (http://hk.geocities.com/poliktocd/antec.htm) (cat. no. AM2520).
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: MishaK on February 23, 2009, 12:17:43 PM
I have heard the Harding performance and found it on a technical level severely wanting. I don't think it gives a good picture of the final movement. The first three are all but unlistenable.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: nut-job on February 23, 2009, 12:30:39 PM
The lecture and performance of fragments sounds very interesting.  But I would not be interested in hearing the reconstructed finale in concert.  You can argue that Bruckner did not intend the 9th to end with the Adagio, but we know that and can appreciate that Bruckner would have gone farther.  From the various sources, it seems the finale exists in a set of sketches and a draft score, of which half the pages were stolen by souvenir hunters and lost.  It's clear we don't have Bruckner's final intentions, especially for the finale coda.  I'm not interested in a bunch of music theorist's guesses as to what Bruckner would have or did write.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Bulldog on February 23, 2009, 02:21:52 PM
The lecture and performance of fragments sounds very interesting.  But I would not be interested in hearing the reconstructed finale in concert.  You can argue that Bruckner did not intend the 9th to end with the Adagio, but we know that and can appreciate that Bruckner would have gone farther.  From the various sources, it seems the finale exists in a set of sketches and a draft score, of which half the pages were stolen by souvenir hunters and lost.  It's clear we don't have Bruckner's final intentions, especially for the finale coda.  I'm not interested in a bunch of music theorist's guesses as to what Bruckner would have or did write.


Seconded. 8)
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: eyeresist on February 23, 2009, 04:16:07 PM
But I would not be interested in hearing the reconstructed finale in concert. ... I'm not interested in a bunch of music theorist's guesses as to what Bruckner would have or did write.
I think being dead-set against it would count as "interested" ;)
 
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Lilas Pastia on February 23, 2009, 05:21:37 PM
There are certainly pros and cons on the matter. Among the obvious pros is the indisputable fact that Bruckner worked tirelessly on that finale. And chief among the cons is the indisputable fact that Bruckner worked tirelessly on that finale. What is also indisputable is that he failed to arrive at any kind of working program for it. When I hear one of the completions I hear two things: first, each attempt at a completion arrives at a different solution, therefore no-one can claim to present the composer's thoughts with any certainty, let alone any legitimacy. Second, by the time he was working on the movement, Bruckner's language seemed to have evolved to the point where it couldn't follow the others without jarring results. Harmonically it doesn't sound tortured and ambiguous, orchestrally it is much sparer than the first two, and rythmically it isn't like any other Bruckner finale. Until the coda arrives, it sounds more like the first movement of an unwritten 10th than the last movement of the 9th.

BTW I don't like the various completed Mahler 10ths. It sounds like Mahler after a severe diet. Lots of bones, little flesh and no muscle. Gone are the almost overfleshed, luxuriant of textures, the charismatic themes and hedonistic musical programs of 1-8. Gone also is the decadent opulence of the cadaverous 9th. I hear  the outlines of a symphony, not the real thing.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Cato on February 23, 2009, 05:52:11 PM
There have been claims that the Finale is complete, but lost, that his students and others took pages of the Finale as souvenirs.  The infamous Schalk Brothers are usually mentioned in this context.   A variation on this story is that the Finale was not quite complete, but that many pages still disappeared as souvenirs.

The more one thinks about this claim, the harder it is to accept it: would his students really do this, allowing his last masterpiece to be truncated?

If the claim is that they wanted to prevent any completions, to prevent a faux 60 % Bruckner-Finale, why let anything behind?

Could they have known how powerful the Adagio is, in comparison to the seemingly tamer Finale, and decided to sabotage it?  Also unlikely: not impossible, however.

If Bruckner was indeed working on the Finale on the day of his death, it seems unlikely that he would have earlier told them to take pages away as souvenirs in the event of his death. 

And yet the question remains: where are the pages musicologists says are missing?  If not souvenir hunters, then what?  Simply misplaced in the archives throughout the decades?

 
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: nut-job on February 23, 2009, 06:14:20 PM
There have been claims that the Finale is complete, but lost, that his students and others took pages of the Finale as souvenirs.  The infamous Schalk Brothers are usually mentioned in this context.   A variation on this story is that the Finale was not quite complete, but that many pages still disappeared as souvenirs.

At this point they are not claims.  Various sources I have come across agree that Bruckner left an orchestrated draft with page numbers in his own hand.  He was evidently not satisfied with, since he suggested the Te Deum as a substitute finale in perfoermance.  Roughly half of the pages have turned up in various peoples private papers, so the souvenir hunter story is supported by evidence.   The only thing we know about Bruckner's final draft is that he was not satisfied with it.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Haffner on February 24, 2009, 05:21:14 AM
At this point they are not claims.  Various sources I have come across agree that Bruckner left an orchestrated draft with page numbers in his own hand.  He was evidently not satisfied with, since he suggested the Te Deum as a substitute finale in perfoermance.  Roughly half of the pages have turned up in various peoples private papers, so the souvenir hunter story is supported by evidence.   The only thing we know about Bruckner's final draft is that he was not satisfied with it.




This is very interesting, thanks for the information!
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: MishaK on February 24, 2009, 08:14:09 AM
He was evidently not satisfied with, since he suggested the Te Deum as a substitute finale in perfoermance. [...] The only thing we know about Bruckner's final draft is that he was not satisfied with it.

That is not quite right. It is not that he was not satisfied with it. The problem is that he needed a couple more months to finish it. There are a number of passages that he simply hadn't composed yet or hadn't orchestrated yet. The reason he suggested the Te Deum as a finale (an inadequate substitute at best) was simply that what he had of the finale at the time he made the comment was very much incomplete.

When I hear one of the completions I hear two things: first, each attempt at a completion arrives at a different solution, therefore no-one can claim to present the composer's thoughts with any certainty, let alone any legitimacy.

At this point there is a lot of overlap between the few most recent completions because more original material has been unearthed. The large chunks that Bruckner had already fully orchestrated are the same.

Second, by the time he was working on the movement, Bruckner's language seemed to have evolved to the point where it couldn't follow the others without jarring results. Harmonically it doesn't sound tortured and ambiguous, orchestrally it is much sparer than the first two, and rythmically it isn't like any other Bruckner finale. Until the coda arrives, it sounds more like the first movement of an unwritten 10th than the last movement of the 9th.

I'm not sure I agree with that either. If you had said that the eintre 9th symphony is quite different than Bruckner's other symphonies, I would somewhat agree. But with the caveat that the versions of the other symphonies that we are familiar with are massively revised versions. If you listen to some of the original versions, you'll see that the 9th is a part of that same langiuage, albeit quite more advanced. The main themes in the finale exhibit typical Brucknerian rhthms and the development of ideas is very much in line with what he usually does. What is very unusual is the beginning of the finale. But then again, how else would you do it? Given where the Adagio leaves off, these gasping, groping, tentative sighs that open the finale are just about the only logical next step. Where we really have little clue as to what Bruckner wanted was the coda actually which was supposed to be this mega fugue of all the prior themes of the symphony plus some key themes of the 5th, 7th and 8th.

Again, a large portion of the various completions is original material, fully orchestrated. What Harnoncourt has the VPO play in his lecture are all the complete surviving fragments that were known at the time of that recording. That is quite a substantial bit. As he explains in the lecture, there are a few developments where we don't know how he wanted to modulate from the key of one segment over to the key of the next and then the coda is a big unknown. The main segments are otherwise quite done. The problems of the earlier completions was on the one hand a lack of some of these fragments that were subsequently unearthed and secondly overzealous editing by the person doing the completing, who often "cleaned up" harmonic dissonances and beefing up the orchestration etc., which is why the version Talmi recorded sounds like some Hollywood kitsch and not Brcukner.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on February 24, 2009, 09:17:53 AM
Leaving aside the questions raised in this thread, there's another reason why I'm glad Bruckner never finished the finale - the finales to his symphonies are always (with the single exception of the 5th) the weakest movement.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Sean on February 24, 2009, 06:55:25 PM
The Samale, Phillips and Mazzuca version was revised in 2007 with further work from Cohrs: in the first version the extraordinary passion and anger at the end appears more abruptly, and perhaps more effectively, but in the revision it's more integrated and you can hear the clashing lines more clearly coming together beforehand- this is as good as it's going to get.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Lilas Pastia on February 24, 2009, 07:33:08 PM
Conductor Marco Armiliato was conducting Adriana Lecouvreur last weekend at the Met. In an interesting interview he explained why Verdi is the greatest opera composer he can think of (and I agree with him ;D). In a single chord Verdi can change the whole atmosphere of a scene, and therefore alter its psychological and emotional direction. Not a bad observation, considering the effusively note-spinning, largely ineffective work he was conducting - but I digress.

In total contrast with Verdi's, Bruckner's way with transitions was an elaborate, arduous, sometimes tentative and uncertain one. While I agree that large sections of the finale stem directly from Bruckner's hand and mind, only the Master could possibly make sense of them as parts of a whole. Bruckner's art of transitions is intellectually inscrutable and spiritually inspired. That mixture of grandiose 'solar' symphonic vistas and lurking, hesitant, 'lunar' transitional material remains to this day one of classical music's most impenetrable secrets.

Whatever insights and levels of expertise scholars' bring to the problem of Bruckners ninth's Finale, his connecting tissues will not yield their secrets easily.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Lilas Pastia on February 24, 2009, 07:42:25 PM
Leaving aside the questions raised in this thread, there's another reason why I'm glad Bruckner never finished the finale - the finales to his symphonies are always (with the single exception of the 5th) the weakest movement.

Good observation - finales are difficult movements and composers come to wildly different solutions. But I'm not sure I'd agree with your assessment. As is the case with Beethoven's own final movements, the finales of Bruckner's symphonies generally aim to wrap up the whole work - but not overpower it (as Mahler would do in his many of his symphonies). IMO, Bruckner's 1, 2, 3, 5 (as you rightly mention) and 8 are up to the task. In the case of 6 its kernel remains the soft, moist core of the slow movement, whereas 7 attempts to mimick Beethoven's own 7th in terms of structural balance (but fails to, even if it's a valiant attempt). Bruckner was acutely aware of that 'Finale problem' with regard to the 9th.

Edited for typos -it's been a long day...
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 24, 2009, 07:52:18 PM
Leaving aside the questions raised in this thread, there's another reason why I'm glad Bruckner never finished the finale - the finales to his symphonies are always (with the single exception of the 5th) the weakest movement.

I would agree with Lilas that certainly the finale of 8 is as masterly as that of 5. In honesty, I've never heard the sketches for the finale of 9, but whether Bruckner ran out of time or was struggling with the movement, there's one other reason why the surviving three movements can't be considered complete - and that is that Bruckner never ended a symphony in a remote key from the home tonic. (Mahler and Nielsen did so, but not Bruckner). An opening movement and scherzo in D minor, followed by an Adagio in E major, would most likely have been succeeded by a finale starting in D minor and resolving in D major. I'd like to hear that Harnoncourt, but I'd never support a version of 9 that ended with a reconstructed finale. (I can't listen to any completed Mahler 10's for the same reason, and I'm uncomfortable with the surviving version of the Mozart Requiem.)
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Sean on February 24, 2009, 08:04:14 PM
Don't forget the short orchestral piece Bruckner dialogue by Einem where he muses on some of the fragments.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Lilas Pastia on February 24, 2009, 08:20:53 PM
Never heard of that. Any reference or reorded material ??
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Sean on February 24, 2009, 08:40:28 PM
Never heard of that. Any reference or reorded material ??

The piece alternates between quoting a few moments of the sketches and rhapsodizing on them rather touchingly: it's not an attempt to complete anything.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: vandermolen on February 25, 2009, 02:41:55 AM
There are certainly pros and cons on the matter. Among the obvious pros is the indisputable fact that Bruckner worked tirelessly on that finale. And chief among the cons is the indisputable fact that Bruckner worked tirelessly on that finale. What is also indisputable is that he failed to arrive at any kind of working program for it. When I hear one of the completions I hear two things: first, each attempt at a completion arrives at a different solution, therefore no-one can claim to present the composer's thoughts with any certainty, let alone any legitimacy. Second, by the time he was working on the movement, Bruckner's language seemed to have evolved to the point where it couldn't follow the others without jarring results. Harmonically it doesn't sound tortured and ambiguous, orchestrally it is much sparer than the first two, and rythmically it isn't like any other Bruckner finale. Until the coda arrives, it sounds more like the first movement of an unwritten 10th than the last movement of the 9th.

BTW I don't like the various completed Mahler 10ths. It sounds like Mahler after a severe diet. Lots of bones, little flesh and no muscle. Gone are the almost overfleshed, luxuriant of textures, the charismatic themes and hedonistic musical programs of 1-8. Gone also is the decadent opulence of the cadaverous 9th. I hear  the outlines of a symphony, not the real thing.


I agree with this - I think that it works magnificently as a three movement work, with the adagio being Bruckner's 'farewell to life'. When Bruckner realised that he would not live to complete the work I gather that he suggested that his Te Deum be played in lieu of the finale. Maybe this is the best solution for those who are dissatisfied with the three movement format.  On the other hand I think that Anthony Payne's completion of Elgar's Third Symphony works well - although this is not the work that Elgar would have written had he lived on.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: jlaurson on February 25, 2009, 03:40:14 AM
Never heard of that. Any reference or reorded material ??

FYI:

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/02/29296.jpg)
G. von Einem: Bruckner Dialogue, Op. 39 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000059BQ/goodmusicguide-20)
(Also includes: Schubert's Unfinished Symphony & Haydn Sy.103
Lovro von Matacic  conducts the Vienna SO.
Orfeo 235901)
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Cato on February 25, 2009, 05:03:15 AM
The Finale to Bruckner's Ninth can be found as the opening movement of Mahler's Tenth!    :o
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 25, 2009, 05:15:58 AM

I agree with this - I think that it works magnificently as a three movement work, with the adagio being Bruckner's 'farewell to life'. When Bruckner realised that he would not live to complete the work I gather that he suggested that his Te Deum be played in lieu of the finale. Maybe this is the best solution for those who are dissatisfied with the three movement format. 

You really think so? I think it's a ghastly idea, totally out of keeping with the mood and structure of the three completed movements.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Herman on February 25, 2009, 05:47:47 AM
Leaving aside the questions raised in this thread, there's another reason why I'm glad Bruckner never finished the finale - the finales to his symphonies are always (with the single exception of the 5th) the weakest movement.

In the case of 6 its kernel remains the soft, moist core of the slow movement,

IMO the finale of nr 6 is the best judged finale of Bruckner’s symphonies. The finale of nr 8 is definitely (for me) to heavy after a lot of heavy stuff.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: jlaurson on February 25, 2009, 06:01:09 AM
The Finale to Bruckner's Ninth can be found as the opening movement of Mahler's Tenth!    :o

That makes for a good quip, but the two pieces couldn't be further apart. If anything, the finale of Mahler's Ninth might fit the Bruckner Ninth... it's Mahler at his closest to quiescence and tranquility... without wrung-out question-marks littering the way. The 10th, however, is the most wrought-up work Mahler ever wrote.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Superhorn on February 25, 2009, 08:31:11 AM
  I could not disagree more with Spitvalve's blanket statement about all the Bruckner finales except the 5th being the "weakest" parts of the symphonies. If this seems so, it could be the fault of some performances.
  Admittedly,the finales can be problematical,but the notion of them being"weak" may be the result of them departing so much from what is considered academically correct form in a symphony. And they also contain some of Bruckner's most fascinating and inspired music.
  And I still maintain that now I have heard the reconstructions, the music is so extraordinary that I now miss it when I hear only the first three movements.

     ::)     ::)      ::)     ::)
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: nut-job on February 25, 2009, 09:11:13 AM
You really think so? I think it's a ghastly idea, totally out of keeping with the mood and structure of the three completed movements.

I'm not sure Bruckner meant that the Te Deum would be a substitute finale, but that it could be used to cap off the program.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Cato on February 25, 2009, 09:39:16 AM
Cato wrote:


"The Finale to Bruckner's Ninth can be found as the opening movement of Mahler's Tenth!"

That makes for a good quip, but the two pieces couldn't be further apart. If anything, the finale of Mahler's Ninth might fit the Bruckner Ninth... it's Mahler at his closest to quiescence and tranquility... without wrung-out question-marks littering the way. The 10th, however, is the most wrought-up work Mahler ever wrote.

(My emphasis)

The Mahler Ninth finale actually occurred to me simultaneously with the Mahler 10th: and I chose the latter for the quip (yes, I am not serious here) because it is a little more harmonically and motivically adventurous than the former, although there is a case to be made for it!  The Bruckner Ninth's radicality seems just a little more in line with the Tenth's opening movement, which at least matches, if not surpasses, the drama of the Adagio in the Bruckner.

Imagine the two back-to-back on a concert program!  Pass out the Prozac with the cough drops!   0:)
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich on February 25, 2009, 10:14:27 AM
IMO the finale of nr 6 is the best judged finale of Bruckner’s symphonies. The finale of nr 8 is definitely (for me) to heavy after a lot of heavy stuff.
As an Atheist I can say, the finale of B8 is nothing more than the proof of Gods existence. :D
Listened to the Harnoncourt / B9 mvmt 4 a bit. The lecture seems interesting. Least I can say is, the music sounds very Brucknerish. The last Notes of it, well, they seem to introduce something gorgeous. We don't know what. :(
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: vandermolen on February 25, 2009, 01:39:14 PM
I'm not sure Bruckner meant that the Te Deum would be a substitute finale, but that it could be used to cap off the program.


Yes, that's my thought too.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: nut-job on March 01, 2009, 11:24:38 AM
The Mahler Ninth finale actually occurred to me simultaneously with the Mahler 10th: and I chose the latter for the quip (yes, I am not serious here) because it is a little more harmonically and motivically adventurous than the former, although there is a case to be made for it!  The Bruckner Ninth's radicality seems just a little more in line with the Tenth's opening movement, which at least matches, if not surpasses, the drama of the Adagio in the Bruckner.

I am generally puzzled by comparisons between Mahler and Bruckner.  Aside from the fact that they wrote symphonies that are very loud and go on for a long time, I see them as diametrically opposed. 

Bruckner is the epitome of the German symphonic tradition, to the extent that he sometimes seems like a parody.  The symphonies are based on thematic development, and are organized through essentially musical argument (contrasting and development of themes, harmony, key relationships, etc). 

Mahler introduced extra-musical elements into his symphonies.  They strike me as Burlesques, with explosions of sound based on his sometimes odd philosophical notions.  I've just listened to Mahler's 3rd and athough he can craft music that is constructed symphonically (the finale) most of it is like a bizarre pageant.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Haffner on March 01, 2009, 02:25:27 PM
I am generally puzzled by comparisons between Mahler and Bruckner.  Aside from the fact that they wrote symphonies that are very loud and go on for a long time, I see them as diametrically opposed. 

Bruckner is the epitome of the German symphonic tradition, to the extent that he sometimes seems like a parody.  The symphonies are based on thematic development, and are organized through essentially musical argument (contrasting and development of themes, harmony, key relationships, etc). 

Mahler introduced extra-musical elements into his symphonies.  They strike me as Burlesques, with explosions of sound based on his sometimes odd philosophical notions.  I've just listened to Mahler's 3rd and athough he can craft music that is constructed symphonically (the finale) most of it is like a bizarre pageant.




This is a really interesting point (or set of points). Mahler's symphonies often do sound like a "sound-novel" (probably more so than more forthrightly programmatic composers like Strauss ever did); they often included chapters within chapters, running the aural gamut. I can't put it better than you did above, it can be much like a really good art compilation-book. There will be things in the book you really don't like, or find boring. But there are also things that you seem to practically live for, and those things in themselves seem to redeem the rest, and keep you from moving the book off of the coffee table.

Bruckner was more orthodox, but in a far more exciting way than Brahms (my opinion). Brahms' symphonies sometimes seemed to just be carrying the torch, whereas Bruckner assimilated the harmonic cuckootude of Wagner and latter era Beethoven to marvelous effect.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: nut-job on March 01, 2009, 04:44:48 PM
This is a really interesting point (or set of points). Mahler's symphonies often do sound like a "sound-novel" (probably more so than more forthrightly programmatic composers like Strauss ever did); they often included chapters within chapters, running the aural gamut. I can't put it better than you did above, it can be much like a really good art compilation-book. There will be things in the book you really don't like, or find boring. But there are also things that you seem to practically live for, and those things in themselves seem to redeem the rest, and keep you from moving the book off of the coffee table.

Bruckner was more orthodox, but in a far more exciting way than Brahms (my opinion). Brahms' symphonies sometimes seemed to just be carrying the torch, whereas Bruckner assimilated the harmonic cuckootude of Wagner and latter era Beethoven to marvelous effect.

Mahler symphonies sometimes strike me as operas in which we are not told the story, lashings of sound explode from the orchestra to illustrate some idea that is in Mahler's mind but which does not grow organically from the music.   

Bruckner does assimilate some of Wagner's sound world into Beethoven's idiom, but ultimately I regard Brahms as by far the greater composer.  In Bruckner the emotions of are too differentiated.  He takes some idea or impression and extends it to the nth degree, which can be extraordinary if not subtle.  What impresses me about Brahms is how varied and precise his palette is, how he can in one passage express both joy and grief, happiness and sadness, in continuously varying proportions.  And he can do it without allowing the overall impression to become confused or fuzzy.  An example is the third movement of the third symphony, wistful, a bit sad without being sappy or morose, such subtle control of mood is alien to Bruckner.

Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 01, 2009, 06:35:03 PM
Not wanting to appear insulting, I can't help but think of such statements as those as - to put it charitably - youthful expressions of artistic impressions. There is no more need to defend Brahms as there is to deify Bruckner. I am personally at a point in my life in which I think of Brahms's third as one of the most perfect works of art ever written. I see no contradiction with my long held sentiment of Bruckner being the more visionary composer and Brahms the more formally perfect one. Each had their claim to perfecting the ideal of german classic-romantic music. I don't think I'm alone though in predicting a more interesting future to Bruckner on the concert scene and in the recording studio. Bruckner has explored avenues that still titillate and bug scholars as well as audiences. Brahms' aesthetic has now safely been digested by both and can now be dissected and analysed as what it is: the summation of an aesthetic and intellectual movement that was to be shred to pieces while it was still alive. IMHO both encapsulate what the late-classical and romantic german era produced as a summation of their ethos and epoch - more so than Liszt or Wagner whose music proved to be the culminating paeans to a 19th century that could not breed a future.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: Haffner on March 02, 2009, 06:03:41 AM
I can't help but think of such statements as those as - to put it charitably - youthful expressions of artistic impressions.


I am personally at a point in my life in which I think of Brahms's third as one of the most perfect works of art ever written.


I can't help but think of such statements as those as - to put it charitably - youthful expressions of artistic impressions.

I agree with the first and last quotes, fully.
Title: Re: Why Don't More Conductors Do the Completed Bruckner Ninth ?
Post by: FredT on March 02, 2009, 09:33:43 AM
John Berky has the first recorded performance of the first Carragan version of the completed 9th on his website abruckner.com This recording is available for free download and features the Utrecht Symphony (now the Netherlands Philharmonic) under Herbert Soudant.

My own opinion is that the Finale does not work well. It just seems too lightweight and uninteresting coming after the monumental writing before it.