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Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Well known for his treatment of Mahler,conductor, teacher, and professional speaker Benjamin Zander now takes on Bruckner. Music director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and a faculty member at the New England Conservatory, Benjamin Zander is famous for his popular pre-concert lectures.

Anton Bruckner has been called the "Wagner of the Symphony." In the liner notes to the new Telarc recording, Richard Rodda states that "his symphonies have often been called `cathedrals of sound,' and the phrase is appropriate both for the mood that they convey and for their implication of grandeur." Rodda adds: "a twentyminute Bruckner symphony would be as ludicrous as the massive baldachino of St. Peter's dropped onto the altar of the neighborhood parish church."

"In working on the Bruckner Fifth, I became aware of how close his music is to Schubert," said Zander, who strives in this performance to emphasize the song-like quality of the symphony. "I avoided the very slow tempi that have become common in contemporary interpretations and emphasized the sprightly, forward moving, urgency of the music."

  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Benjamin Zander
  • Composer: A. Bruckner
  • Audio CD (February 24, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B001P9PX3O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,037 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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The symphony is wonderful, and the accompanying memoir/explanatory disc is the best explanation of a piece of music for the non-technical listener I've ever heard. I wish Zander would do more of these.
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Format: Audio CD
Please see the reviews for the hybrid SACD release of this recording. I don't understand Telarc's marketing strategy regarding the availability of both a CD-only and a hybrid-SACD for virtually (if not exactly -- that depends upon the retailer) the same price. In a forum such as this, it often means that one of these will be listed without the recommendations given the other. Except for this marketing oddity, Zander's Bruckner 5th is a keeper!!!
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Format: Audio CD
At the time of writing, this album is being offered new for about $16, including both CDs. While I have quibbles about the performance and the discussion, overall I feel the release is very satisfying and enterprising.

To comment on another review of this disc, Zander is not declaring this work to be the greatest symphony ever written. That declaration was made by William Carragan, who worked on one of the posthumous completions of the finale of Bruckner's 9th symphony. Zander considered the Bruckner 5th to be "among a handful of the masterpieces of this genre". Oddly enough, the conductor does not mention which other works made this list. What I found mildly irritating, and this was far more of a nuisance than a grievance, was how much time was spent discussing the conductor's father's time fighting for the Germans in WWI. While on the one hand I can empathize with a person finding outlets for spiritual consolation in times of extreme distress and hardship, and I am glad this symphony was his portal to a light that outshone the darkness of war, on the other hand I have not much empathy for hearing about how difficult things were for the German military. Perhaps since the conductor is speaking about his father, considerable forbearance must be made for this. Notwithstanding that, I admire the soldier's respect for this great work, solely upon examining a study score (the Schalk edition, not Haas!), never having heard the work performed. Having gotten that off my chest, the supplementary discussion CD is otherwise excellent and the cathedral blueprint on two sides is brilliant too. I would love to see more recordings like this, where the conductor walks the listener through the whole work.
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Format: Audio CD
After reading everywhere how marvelous this performance was, imagine my frustration of waiting more than six months and being unable to find an SACD pressing available for purchase, be it from Amazon and elsewhere where it was back-listed and expected soon.

Finally, I could take it no longer, and I bought a "normal" pressing which to my chagrin proved to be a perfectly respectable, but not extraordinary, performance of this marvelous work. For the life of me, I could not understand what had caused the critical excitement many months before....

But completely unexpected one day, the mailman showed up with a package from England: a long forgotten order of this Zander performance of Bruckner's Symphony No.5 in SACD. With very little initial excitement indeed, I put it on the player, but I was soon transported into wonderment as Bruckner's architecture clicked and came to life as never before, and I realize how important it had been to wait for SACD to bring its magic to bring the music to life.

It is nothing less than a crime to deny music lovers this seasoning to help bring some music to life.....
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