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Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major

Anton Bruckner , Kent Nagano , Bavarian State Orchestra Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Bavarian State Orchestra
  • Conductor: Kent Nagano
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Masterworks
  • ASIN: B004ZHEI0C
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,599 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107: 1. Allegro moderato
2. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107: 2. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam
3. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107: 3. Scherzo. Sehr schnell - Trio. Etwas langsamer
4. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107: 4. Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell

Editorial Reviews

CD Kent Nagano

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Civilised and beautifully played September 8, 2013
This Seventh Symphony strikes me as a very successful performance, albeit slightly domesticated in comparison with the savage beauty of Knappertsbusch's astonishing 1949 recording with the VPO, still my favourite recording despite its relatively primitive sound. Nagano secures powerful and graceful playing in the opening Allegro without finding the yearning intensity that Knappertsbusch brings to the heartfelt cry from the violas. However, textures are light and transparent and there is no lack of gravitas; one always feels that Nagano knows where he is going with the music. The same clarity allied with a suspicion of some lack of passion informs his direction of the Adagio; it is here that Nagano's grasp of the long line is most apparent. This is a restrained, noble account whose impact is enhanced by the golden aureola suffusing the orchestral sound, which is in turn further mellowed by the warm ambience of a cathedral acoustic similar to the sonic landscape of the Ebrach Festival recordings conducted by Gerd Schaller. Even though this is live, there is virtually no audience noise. Bruckner's Scherzos are pretty much bombproof when played by an orchestra and conductor of quality and so it proves here. The Finale is just a tad too civilised but Nagano achieves a telling contrast between the two alternating themes of the angular, aggressive brass chords boldly blasted out and the smooth legato of the conciliatory, consolatory string theme.

The Seventh is editorially the least contentious of Bruckner's symphonies; the vexed question of the cymbals, triangle and timpani at the climax of the Adagio is decided here with their inclusion. Timings here are very similar to Karajan's celebrated 1970-71 recording.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sounds good to me . . . April 27, 2013
I rarely disagree with Santa Fe Listener, and I should admit straight off that I have not heard a lot of Bruckner (I'm working on that), so what I say should be not be taken as any expert opinion but rather simply as a record of a reaction. I'll get to Karajan and Jochum, I'm sure, and we'll see then if my opinion of this recording has altered. First of all, the sound seemed very good if not in the highest degree refined, but that lack of refinement could be a matter of the orchestra's sound or of the venue: this was recorded live in a cathedral in Ghent. That said, I felt that I heard a lot of the texture, to an extent that one sometimes doesn't in a live recording. Second, the overall pacing seemed fine; I checked the Karajan DG recording times, and movement by movement, they are almost uncannily similar to Nagano's. I was struck too by the way in which Bruckner has made sure that the endings of the movements are all very different. Three are brassily climactic, but they have a different feel and texture, and this performance captures that. The first movement seemed to alternate between assertive, brass-heavy massed sound, which is exciting in its own right, and passages that one can only call graceful. I thought Nagano handled these very well. There's a lot of variety among the brassy parts and the graceful parts: the ear never tires. The slow movement doesn't stray far from the expressive character of its opening, but the way that Bruckner varies both the phrasing and the textures in the ebb-and-flow of what seems to me a lullaby-like expression is masterful. In this movement at times, I heard something of the sound of some of Wagner's orchestral preludes and at others something closer to a Mahler slow movement. Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bruckner in the Land of the Rising Sun July 8, 2013
The Japanese once resolutely excluded the West and its corruption from the realm. Following a visitation by Matthew Perry, thereafter they sent Russian fleets to the bottom of the Pacific with aplomb and crashed Zeroes onto the decks of American carriers. Now they are conducting Bruckner and going mad on those zany TV=shows. Where will it all end? Should we re-fortify Singapore? Thank god Mishima is not around nowadays to see such things . . . .

Stupendously recorded and backed by an orchestra that has the composer in its bones, Nagano offers us another instalment of Bruckner Lite which is so much the rage nowadays. Within its carefully defined parameters, it imparts pleasure. I enjoyed it more than the inert outing by Mariss Jansons and the BRSO (Nagano imparts more tension to the score in a comparative sense). It avoids being episodic. The tracery of violins in the coda of the first movement - one of my lodestars in the Seventh - is well done. The finale is bouncy enough.

And yet, as Karajan once rightly observed, Bruckner inhabits the same world as the torrs of the Megalithic Age. This Bruckner Seventh is too civilised for its own good. Everything is explicable in terms of crotchets and quavers: one never senses that wider forces are in play.

Just as a Westerner might approach a Japanese-centric task - say, flying a Zero - with a great deal of trepidation (be it subliminal or otherwise), could one suggest that the reverse is true of our newly acquired buddies when the Western Canon beckons? Namely, that caution is likely to militate proceedings to whatever degree?

This is a nice Bruckner Seventh and no more. The Mayor of Hiroshima says so too.

PS, I have been repeatedly informed that Nagano is an American of Japanese ancestry. Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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