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Bruckner: Symphony, No. 2

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Audio CD, June 26, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

We continue our astonishing Bruckner cycle with the rarely performed 2nd Symphony. As in the case in the 1st, Venzago has chosen a top orchestra of relatively small instrumental dimensions. 'After the many new recordings of the Bruckner symphonies, finally an interpretation that genuinely exhibits character and in a very musical way offers the listener the opportunity to complement his picture of Bruckner'(Pizzicato 3/12).

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Northern Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Mario Venzago
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (June 26, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B007S6R3E0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,040 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alex Brown on October 28, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Anybody collecting Mario Venzago's controversial Bruckner cycle (currently Symphonies 0, 1, 4 & 7 have been released) will already have some idea of what to expect in this recording of the 1877 edition of Symphony No 2: a slim orchestral sound, swift tempos and flexible phrasing.

Each release in the cycle so far has been with a different orchestra. This recording is with the mostly excellent Northern Sinfonia. Straight away the sound is tellingly "HIP" with a startlingly spare use of vibrato in the opening cello phrases. More startles come with the very free rubato in the phrasing (and throughout the performance). In an interview in the accompanying booklet Venzago argues for the use of "agogic freedom" in interpreting Bruckner, and in its own terms I find this rhetorical approach very persuasively deployed here, in this "Symphony of Pauses".

The Adagio is gorgeous, with the string playing allowed more warmth than in the outer movements and some beautiful playing from the horns and woodwinds in particular - all allowed to emerge unforcedly in the resonant (but not over resonant) acoustic of the recording venue: Hall One, The Sage, Gateshead. Technically, this recording sounds excellent.

The idea of Venzago as a fast Bruckner conductor does not hold for the Adagio. His interpretation takes 17' 42" - two minutes slower than that of Gunther Wand's Cologne RSO recording!

One particular merit of Venzago's Bruckner is its discipline in keeping the brass integrated into the orchestral texture during climaxes. This allows Bruckner's obsessively chatty string writing to be heard, which forms such an important part of the overall argument of the works - though at times (the climax of the Adagio for example) it might seem that just too much is going on.
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