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Terrifically-Heroic Performance In Smudgy ArmorJune 1 2012
Douglas S. Halfen
- Published on Amazon.com
The BBC Symphony Orchestra will never be confused with the Berliner or Wiener Philhamoniker, but they aren't the Palookaville Pops, either, and this DVD attests to what near-magnificence they can accomplish under a GREAT conductor.
In fact, Wand seems to want to "make a statement" with this performance -- it's probably the most bracing, animated Bruckner ever recorded under his baton, ESPECIALLY for the 5th symphony! The first movement is splendidly straightforward (with some excellent sonorities from the brass at key moments), and he deftly balances the quieter passages against the explosive blasts. But the Adagio, the tragic heart of the symphony, proceeds at a most-vigorous pace -- very dramatic, and quite engaging!
The Scherzo/Trio land back in more conservative territory, but the Finale is simply stunning. Wand takes the reins off the horse and steps on the gas at some surprising points; in fact, I think he catches the orchestra off-guard with a few spontaneous touches! The BBCers respond admirably, though the occasional flub (especially from an increasingly-tired brass section, which is all-too-understandable in this symphony) cuts my star-rating by one. This is _not_ a technically-perfect performance, and I spot a few moments where the sections clearly become a bit "unglued" -- but they always recover nicely. The thunderous applause at the end was WELL-deserved.
Thus, I'll gladly be returning to this performance in the future!!!