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Bruckner Symphony No. 3 (1877 and 1889 versions)

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 20, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

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1
30
21:21
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2
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15:39
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3
30
7:16
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4
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15:19
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5
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18:06
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Disc 2
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17:33
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2
30
13:23
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3
30
6:39
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4
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12:18
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: New Philharmonia Orchestra of Westphalia
  • Conductor: Johannes Wildner
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (January 20, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000W3XPW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,393 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 (1877 and 1889 versions), New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia, Johannes Wildner

Bruckner fans are well aware of the "Bruckner problem," namely that Symphonies 1-4 and 8 underwent several revisions, either by Bruckner himself or by various well-meaning editors. It used to be thought that Bruckner's students Schalk and Lowe exercised undue influence on these revisions, trying to make the symphonies more "listener-friendly" for a Viennese audience, but recent studies show that Bruckner had more of a hand in these revisions himself and that he didn't hesitate to reject changes that he didn't approve of.

The Third Symphony underwent two major revisions and some additional less significant ones after being composed in 1873. The 1877 version was clearly made by Bruckner himself and (with the exception of the coda to the scherzo added in January 1878) is the version first performed by the Vienna Philharmonic with Bruckner conducting. Unfortunately, the orchestra was under-rehearsed and hostile to Bruckner, and the performance was pretty much a disaster. But a young Mahler was in the audience and was greatly impressed, so much so that he got the score and arranged it for piano duo. The 1877 version is somewhat shorter than the original 1873 version and leaves out quotes from Wagner's operas that were in the original. (The symphony was dedicated to Wagner.)

The symphony underwent another major revision in 1889, prior to its first publication in 1990. The symphony was further shortened, with important changes to the finale, and the orchestration was revised considerably, such as making the brass parts less prominent. It's believed that Schalk had a hand in this revision, but to what extent is unknown.
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For those who like to listen to how a composer re composes a single work. This is interesting to compare the 2nd and 3rd versions of this symphony. Each version beyond the first reduces themes and makes the music more compact. I don't always agree with this. The first is superior as it is Bruckner's initial thoughts on the work and is perfect just the way it was first conceived. Recording is excellent. Wildner is great and his orchestra plays very well. If you are into Bruckner, this is a must.
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