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Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 - Daniel Barenboim & Staatskapelle Berlin

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Daniel Barenboim is an expert in exploiting the impact of cyclical performances of composers works: This time he focuses his sharp intellect on all six of Anton Bruckners mature symphonies. Der Tagesspiegel described Barenboim's performance of the works with the Staatskapelle Berlin on six nearly consecutive evenings in June 2010 as a superhuman accomplishment and went on to praise how: His Bruckner is conceived and performed very theatrically, like an opera without words. Bruckners famous Romantic Symphony No. 4 forms the prelude to a spectacular DVD series from Accentus Music and Unitel Classica, exploring Bruckners symphonic cosmos.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anton Bruckner, Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim
  • Directors: Andreas Morell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Accentus
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2013
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AA9QIAC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,700 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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By Gerhard P. Knapp on August 11, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Daniel Barenboim is invariably full of surprises. Some of his recent work (my focus here is on the DVD medium) is revelatory and sublime: listen to his Mahler Nine and his interpretation of the Chopin piano concerti, to name just two beautiful examples. When it comes to Bruckner, I never was a fervent admirer of his post-Furtwänglerian approach in the past, but remained hopeful that he might have found new vistas recently. At least in this rendition of the Fourth, this is not the case. Upon arrival of Franz Welser-Möst's brand-new Blu-Ray disk of Bruckner's Fourth, I re-visited both Barenboim (whom I found disappointing and therefore initially did not want to review at all) and Christian Thielemann (see my review) for a somewhat oblique comparison: a "straight" comparison is not possible, because Welser-Möst uses a different edition of the score (see my forthcoming review). Thielemann (with the Münchner Philharmoniker, unitel 2009) gives an intense and highly subjective reading of the Fourth in the 1880/1881 version, whereas Barenboim - in excellent video and audio - with the great Staatskapelle Berlin delivers an unmemorable run-through of essentially the same so-called "final version" (18878/1880) as edited in 1936.

Please don't get me wrong: everything is played flawlessly, the tempi seem mostly "right", the ensemble is very fine, but I have yet to hear any new insights in this reading. It is perfectly executed routine, lacking in passion and in "presence" - and it once more leaves me unmoved in the end. If you want a very fine and ultimately noncommittal performance of the Fourth, go for it. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a searing, probing and very personal re-creation of this masterwork, listen to Thielemann and Welser-Möst.

There are many admirers of Daniel Barenboim, whom I respect. Some might disagree. Constructive dissent is always welcome. Peace.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I have not heard this actual disc, but I did catch this concert of Bruckner's 4th. on You Tube. I thought it good but not great.Bruckner can withstand a variety of interpretations, and Barenboim, although fairly slavishly following Furtwangler's approach certainly has legitimate points to make.

My problem with this lies in the price. There are only 70 mins. of music on this disc. Accentus dashed off the last six symphonies with Barenboim and the BRSO in a week or so, from a series of concerts. (One wonders how well they could have been prepared and rehearsed.) This would suggest a certain economy of scale in production costs. Bluray discs hold enormous amounts of data, over four hours of playing time. Why wasn't this whole enterprise put out as a set, on 2 or even 3 discs for $50-60? The C major label has put out many discs with generous content:- Dausgaard with 4 major symphonies, Buchbinder's Beethoven concerto set, Jarvi"s Schumann set(I could go on and on)all at single disc price. Even Euroarts, not noted for its generosity, put out Barenboim's Mozart set(over four hours on one disc) for a bargain price.

Amazon, who normally offers pre-release prices of $28, is complicit by asking $35 for all its latest pre-releases, including this one. I'm at the point where I'm placing an embargo on bluray purchases, unless they offer unusual value. Instead, I'm buying CD sets that you can get (of older, notable performances) from Amazon vendors both here and in Europe, where the cost is $2-3 per disc. You don't like one of the discs, it can become a coaster.

P.S. 4/8/2013. I see that this disc can now be bought for about $20 from Amazon Marketplace vendors (which is all it's worth).
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