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  • Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C Minor
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C Minor

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Audio CD, June 13, 2000
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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor - Ed. Haas - 1. Allegro moderatoPierre Boulez15:09Album Only
listen  2. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor - Ed. Haas - 2. Scherzo: Allegro moderatoPierre Boulez13:43Album Only
listen  3. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor - Ed. Haas - 3. Adagio: Feierlich langsam; doch nicht schleppendPierre Boulez24:56Album Only
listen  4. Bruckner: Symphony No.8 in C minor - Ed. Haas - 4. Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnellPierre Boulez22:24Album Only

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Frequently Bought Together

Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C Minor + Mozart: Piano Concertos for Piano and Orchestra No.21 in C Major, K.467 / No.27 in B-flat Major, K.595 + Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Petrushka / Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (June 13, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00004TL2N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,105 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

When word got out that Pierre Boulez was planning to record the mammoth Eighth Symphony of Anton Bruckner, the reaction in some quarters was akin to the announcement that a leading Marxist intellectual had accepted the CEO position at General Motors. While Boulez has already acclimated the music world to his latter-day interest in the core symphonic repertory with his recent performances of Mahler, the sense of incongruity with Bruckner's mystical solemnity seemed too great a leap to expect from the famous apostle of the avant-garde.

Forget about those prejudices--Boulez's accomplishment here is arguably even more successful than his accounts of Mahler. It also offers a fascinatingly fresh view of the great symphonist, who some feel will finally come into his own in the 21st century. Stereotypes of Boulez's razor-sharp, "cerebral" bias don't do justice to the sensuous pleasure he can elicit from the Vienna Philharmonic's musicians, a detailed alertness to Bruckner's instrumental touches that are too often overshadowed by focus on his architectonics. Boulez, of course, has a command of the latter as well, and his brisk pacing of the Robert Haas compilation/edition creates a sense of momentum and flow that's particularly striking in his brilliant realization of the Scherzo and the Finale.

True, there's less of the "apocalyptic" (an epithet sometimes given to this symphony), of the crushing tragedy, one hears in Karajan's canonical interpretation or the fine version by Skrowaczewski, and Boulez's chary avoidance of pauses in the celestial Adagio cheats us of the near-death-experience-in-music that comes through in Celibidache's glacial but visionary concert recording. But that sense of detail--witness the balance of horns and strings in the Adagio's closing pages--counts for much. Moreover, this live recording gains warmth from the acoustics of the Abbey Church of St. Florian--where Bruckner served as organist, and where his body is buried--and benefits from excellent engineering. Ironic as it might seem, Boulez may indeed win new converts to Bruckner with this performance. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

Just stop reading now and buy it.
Eric Gross
It is one of the most impressive accounts of the Eighth symphony I've ever heard.
Similarly the slow movement presses ahead a little too much at times.
Alexander Leach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Tansal on June 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have been waiting for the release of this performance since I first heard of its recording in September of 1996. For anyone tracking the recordings of Pierre Boulez, the typical reaction upon hearing that he had recorded a Bruckner symphony is: "Boulez conducting Bruckner?" I've been a fan of many of Boulez's recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and so I was very curious to hear his version of this, my favourite of Bruckner's symphonies. I had read his reason for making the recording was that he thought rather highly of the Adagio. I was half expecting to find a recording that rushed through the first two movements only to perform the Adagio, and then breeze through the finale as well. Knowing how dull a performance can sound when Boulez is disinterested in the piece, and how he can at times sound too clinical, I was a bit worried about what this account may bring. Well, now that I've heard this recording, I can rest easy. It is one of the most impressive accounts of the Eighth symphony I've ever heard. My introduction to this piece was through Herbert von Karajan's last recording (of four) of this piece, with the Vienna Philharmonic. Boulez also records with the same orchestra, and they perform with the same transcendent beauty here as they did with Karajan soon before his death. There are many differences between the two recordings. Karajan's is slower and is thus represented on two discs, significantly increasing the cost. It is still a favourite of mine, even after having heard easily a dozen other recordings. However, when people would ask me for a recommendation for this piece, they would balk at the price of Karajan's recording. Well, now I can wholeheartedly recommend Boulez's account on a single disc, and thus half the price.Read more ›
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you believe you understand the power of music to speak in spiritual language then prepare yourself. Boulez and the Vienna Philharmonic have approached the altar of the Bruckner Symphony No. 8 in a way that brings to mind all of the master conductors of the past century and for me he supercedes all other standards in this energizing, uplifting, transcendental recording. Repeated hearings only open new windows of understanding about how Bruckner approached the Sacred Ideal in this organ-like symphonic architectural wonder. The clarity we have come to expect from Boulez is keenly present to uncover lines hidden by other conductors' lack of vision. This is a mighty and magnificent performance that deserves every honor it is gathering. Celebrate yourself and buy it to play whenever the world is too much with you!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kosmic Leo on April 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This has long been my favorite recording of the 8th. There is just something very special about Boulez's approach. The details are as clear as one could want, while still allowing one to bask in the sheer beauty and glow of the resonant cathedral acoustics. Boulez has a tremendous gift for highlighting the structure of the symphony, obviously drawing parallels to the organ-like terracing that Bruckner often achieved in his compositions. Another reason this recording stands out is because it is so direct, while yet conveying a tremendous amount of warmth and humanity. The first movement has wonderful flow and intensity, even if the climax isn't quite as overpowering as with Karajan or Wand. The Scherzo has a real galloping quality thanks to the brisk pace, and even the slightly faster than normal pace for the Adagio does not detract from the depth and intensity. The climax of the Adagio is overwhelming and the final bars are incredibly serene, with the string basses resonating grandly and the horns floating above the din as if they were coming down from Heaven itself. The final movement is handled superbly as well, while the finale is the best I've ever heard with a tremendous build up and final release, with every detail coming through well.

The fact that this amazing performance captures the entire version without any cuts, all on a single CD, makes for a very convenient way to hear all of Bruckner's wonderful music without having to pay $30 or switch CD's half-way through the symphony.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By dvimus on July 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The days are gone when recordings of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony were a rarity, but despite that great recordings have remained elusive. Haitink was too dour and the normally relaiable Gunter Wand got into quite a mess on his RCA recording. Karajan's mid 70's version was probably the only reliable choice and his tended towards the rhetorical. Not so with this new Boulez recording. Every detail is carefully thought out but never do you feel Boulez gets in the way of the music. Unlike almost all other recordings, the double-dotted rhythm of the first movement is correct and played naturally. Boulez resists the temptation to overstate the conclusion of the short first movement, realising there is still much further to go, placing the emphasis instead on the third movement and the finale which is surely what Bruckner intended. The third movement with that yearning melody in D flat is here played with such poingency and feeling that you immediately sense this is where Bruckner intended the heart of his greatest symphony.
Boulez's judging of tempos of each movement is exceptional throughout, broadening out at the big climaxes and pushing the tempo in the build ups. Never is there a feeling the music has lost direction, the big problem with Guilini, also on DG. The Vienna Philharmonic know this work possibly better than any other orchestra and here they play it with an intensity that they lack for Guilini. Boulez is prepared to honour Bruckner's dynamics to the letter, avoiding the temptation of others, including Haitink, to 'edit' the big brass tuttis. In this performance they shine out in their full glory. The strings have that famous polish of the VPO and the quality of their tone will rank alongside the finest work they have committed to disk.
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