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Bruckner – Symphony No.4 'Romantic' Hybrid SACD - DSD

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, June 15, 2010
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Editorial Reviews



Product Details

  • Orchestra: Minnesota Orchestra
  • Conductor: Osmo Vänskä
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (June 15, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: BIS
  • ASIN: B003KRAS02
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,881 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Can it be only three years ago that the Minnesota Orch. was riding high, glowing from rave notices in New York and bringing this Bruckner Fourth on tour to London for a spotlight at the Proms? Now so much lies in ruins and dust, the whole enterprise having imploded over a bitter labor dispute. with the best musicians seeking to jump ship and no real resolution in sight, this lovely performance may survive as a relic of past glory - let's hope not. Vanska had no reputation as a Brucknerian, on disc at least, so it's refreshing to hear how energetic and alive his approach is, even more so, I think, than his sibelius.

An overall timing of 63 min. puts the reading at a remove from Karajan's stately, grandiloquent 70 min. on EMI with the Berlin Phil. The shorter timing is just a hint that Vanska isn't out to build a cathedral. He is urgent and propulsive in the first movement, and where Karajan used the extra space for reverence, there's no religiosity here. In the wrong hands Bruckner without reverence can feel shallow, but Vanska is saved by his feeling of immediacy, as if the phrases can't wait to burst their bonds. There's more than one way to yearn for exaltation.

Unfortunately, on my audio system the recorded sound is thin, hard, and shrill at loud volume. This demerit was severe enough to make the performance unlistenable. Audio systems differ so much that others may not face the same problem.

For those who focus on the vexed question of editions, this recording is of the newest 1888 edition, a once denigrated version that has now gained approval. The changes were summarized in a Fanfare magazine review: "If you've never heard this edition before, what can you expect?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Kepes on November 7, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I listened to this recording because it is a recording of the 1888 version of the symphony, as revised by Benjamin Korstvedt for the Bruckner Gesamtausgabe. Unfortunately his liner notes are the best part of this release.

What I hear on this recording is a high level orchestra playing notes that could belong to a Bruckner symphony. The orchestra can play loud but the climaxes are meaningless. They play the notes but nothing happens. The playing for the lyrical theme groups are unbelievably stiff and pretty dry. The textures are remarkably clear and transparent: one can hear that nobody at any time in this performance is engaged in any kind of deep musical involvement. I couldn't believe how horrible and stiff the playing was as I listened through the disc. I just had to keep going to the end! Of course the orchestra sounds 'good' and they are in tune and all of that, but really I can't believe this kind of a performance would ever be released as something for people to listen to as representing Bruckner. A shame since most conductors who 'do' Bruckner are often very invested in his music.

I don't think it's very productive to write negative reviews, but truly this disc is perhaps disastrously symbolic of the stereotype that local precision in classical music has taken priority over musical orientation/involvement. Vanska's Beethoven recordings are equally bad if not worse, compounded by the fact that at least this recording can be justified as representing the 1888 version of the symphony (which I don't think it really does anyway).

Many of the changes in the 1888 edition give the timpani a more rhythmic and incisive role, and the shadings and performance indications also give the symphony a more specific shape and dramatic edge. This recording just doesn't carry that out.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on January 29, 2014
Format: Audio CD
The Beast and Mister Liar-Liar-Pants- On-Fire - Albert Speer - coined the concept of Ruin Value ("Ruinenwert). Namely, when buildings become ruins, they should transform into aesthetic monuments, much like the rubble of Greece and Rome. Little did our buddies know that Germany itself would become a testing-ground for such a principle . . .

Ruinenwert can also be applied to music. Knappertsbusch's 1944 performance of Bruckner's Fourth with the Berlin Philharmonic is one such instance. Sonically, it has been ravaged by time. Even so, its majesty is not in doubt (Anton Bruckner Symphonie No. 4 in E-Flat 'Romantic').

I question whether Osmo Vänskä's performance of the same symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra, recorded in 2010, lays claim to longevity. The conductor is clearly a natural in Bruckner; the 1888 edition - in use here - is my favourite and the recording is first-class. Nevertheless the orchestra in question, whilst it bets the house, is thin and ordinary, particularly in the strings.

I thoroughly enjoyed this performance for its duration; there is no compulsion to return to it. In a century's time, will listeners be crawling over its ruins in search of gold and glory? Me wonders.
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