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Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 Hybrid SACD - DSD

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Editorial Reviews

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - Bernard Haitink, direction

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Bernard Haitink
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (November 16, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: BR Klassik
  • ASIN: B00442M0MQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,474 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAME on March 11, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Haitink is surpassing even Karajan in re-recording his basic repertoire, this being his third go at the Bruckner Fifth, the first one being from 1972 with the Concertgebouw and the second from 1989 with the Vienna Phil., both on Philips. His great virtue in Bruckner is to sound sensible and respectful of the score. No one expects the genius of Furtwangler from Haitink, yet his assured musicality counts for a lot (speaking of Furtwangler, his inspired wartime account of the Fifth Sym. from Oct. 1942 has been amazingly well refurbished with the advanced techniques used by Pristine Audio). With age Haitink has become a bit flat-footed at times, but in general his readings don't change much, keeping to the musical middle ground.

This is a live concert from Jan. 2010, and whatever age may have done to Haitink's conducting generally, he leads an assured Bruckner Fifth that has been captured in rich, vivid sound -- there's really no rival who comes close sonically except for Maazel, whose new Bruckner cycle released by the same label with the same Bavarian Radio SO is also splendidly recorded. In my experience, BR Klassik wins the prize hands down for the best sonics from an orchestra's house label, although the NY Phil. has recently been doing great things with their MP3 versions of live concerts. Getting back to Bruckner, the Fifth is a difficult work because of its sprawling material, abrupt changes, and repetitiousness. The first decision that Haitink makes is to soften the stark contrasts in the opening movement between the moods of chorale, fanfare, and lyrical melody. Karajan and others take the opposite tack, providing very strong dramatic contrasts, which in theory I favor, but in the Bruckner Fifth the stark juxtapositions can be nerve-racking, so I welcome Haitink's decision.
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Format: Audio CD
I regard Bruckner's Fifth as his greatest utterance. It's less music and more cosmology. If the first chapter of the Book of Genesis had gone missing, it could serve as a substitute.

Dedicated and sober, Bernard Haitink is a known quantity. Rarely one to summon fire from heaven, he delivers rock-solid performances with all the fluency of Fedex. That the Bruckner Fifth is charged with the majesty of God - or the concept thereof - is beyond him. There's not an ion of visceral excitement in this superbly played, patient and well recorded performance. Like so many others - even the legendary Furtwangler - he falls for the sucker-punch in the "slow movement"; much to the satisfaction of Usain Bolt, the sprint finishes in 16'07". Come the finale's coda, the Chorus of Giants is respectful and devoid of transcendence.

Ever so ominously, Barenboim's second cycle with the Berliners could be likened to a string of mass-produced sausages (say, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8) but the Fifth was exceptional (even if the slow movement is another misfire) Bruckner: Symphony No. 5. There, the Chorus of Giants sounds like a who's who of Scripture where the One enthroned makes all things new. Much the same could be said of Karajan '76 and Jochum '85.

So why tarry with this?
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Many of the BR-Klassik are truly remarkable - for their outstanding performances, the superb orchestra, and featuring several performances of both Haitink and Jansons (maybe two of the top five conductors alive). Here, Haitink conducts Bruckner's 5th and the performance is first rate. The sound is better than his earlier account with the Concertgebouw for Philips, which for whatever reason the parent label decided to eliminate and we get to laugh seeing Argerich recordings on Decca when she never recording those things for them. But back to the matter at hand, this Bruckner 5 is top notch and I recommend the Jansons Bruckner 7 on the same label, and the other recordings on BR-Klassik by both conductors and the Bavarian Radio. (Maazel, I do not.....)
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12-26-13 AS THE previous reviewer stated, this is the 3rd ecording of the Bruckner 5th Symphony by Maestro Haitink, with different orchestras and it may be his best. This release was recorded in super audio on Feb. 20,2010 in the Munich PHILHARMONIE and runs a sumptuous 75:35.
The openiung series of plucked note in their downward staircaSE, ARE BARELY AUDIBLE, BUT WHEN THE ORCHESTRA ENTERS WITH IT'S FANFAREtheme, he main theme of the movement and actually the central idea of the whole work, their first appearance is stunning and rich.HAITINK RESISTS THE COMMON PRACTICE OIf speeding up to the first theme as most conductyors do. He maintains the tension and tempo which I AGREE WITH.Marked simply Intro-Adagio, allegro, there is from the composer a clear demarkation between the two sections, whic Haitink faithfully observes.Throughout the movement, and indeed the entire symphony, the masetro controls the volume controls very nicely and one gets the impression that he is doing a concert/demo for us. However, that doen't mean it is cold or matter of factly played . This is a concert like performance and we ARE his audience. The movement end with strong and heroic restatements of the main theme, putting a grand bow on the package.
The Adagio is marked "sehr langsam," and Haitink plays it as it is instructed.After the intro, the smooth transition, at 02:00 leads us into one of Bruckner's lushest and most beautiful themes in all his work, warmly stated by the full string choir of the Bavarian RADIO, IT IS ELEGANT, NOBLE AND TOUCHING. Once again, Haitink's orchestral swells are finely tailored and cleanly presented. This is one of the many trademarks of this great maestro, and something you can hewar on all his ecordings.
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