Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor
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Faut-il, pour livrer une interprétation historique de la Neuvième symphonie d'Anton Bruckner, laisser du temps au temps ? C'est ce que semble vouloir nous dire l'expérience proposée par Gunter Wand. À plus de 80 ans, le chef allemand signe là un de ses meilleurs enregistrements. Cette symphonie magistrale et divine (Anton Bruckner lui-même la dédia au "Bon Dieu") résume tout l'art du compositeur allemand. Même si elle reste inachevée, on retrouve dans cette partition gigantesque tout le savoir-faire orchestral de Bruckner. Véhémences sonores, utilisation réaliste du pouvoir évocateur de chaque instrument sont deux des plus grands talents de Bruckner. Tel un peintre, il joue et dispose d'une infinité de couleurs qui, mises côte à côte, provoquent des émotions singulières. Dans cette ultime symphonie, on est frappé par les ampleurs dynamiques de l'écriture, admirablement rendues par la direction intelligente de Gunter Wand. Une rencontre historique pour un enregistrement qui le sera certainement. --Jeanne Semprin
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But well over a hundred years since his death his extraordinary gifts as a symphonist are held in awe and most orchestras have made his works a staple in their repertoire. All but the mighty 9th. Fortunately this magnum opus is gaining more frequent playings by important orchestras and conductors: Pierre Boulez just gave us his examination and majestic performance with the LA Philharmonic, revealing once again how this contemporary composer can reveal hidden secrets in the massively romantic symphonies. The recording here is by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Gunther Wand and is a joy in every way.Read more ›
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Wand's handling of the ninth is no less inspired. His tempos are firm, yet expressively flexible. The opening movement begins eerily, almost mundanely, but soon erupts in a forceful passion. Wand's amazing ability to build and subsequently release tension is artfully showcased in this work. Climaxes sound unearthly; pianos, like whispers. The frightening and tonally complex Scherzo is equally exciting. Foreshadowing the tonality of Schoenburg and the rhythms of Stravinsky, the Scherzo's demonic qualities are brought out under Wand's hand. However, the real highlight of the disc is the monumental Adagio. Its beauty is unmatched in the repertoire, building powerfully, but fading, like a dream, into nothingness. It is, in a way, a fitting way for Bruckner to leave this earth. Wand's interpretation is equally fitting for this movement. He allows the music to unfold naturally and majestically while still maintaining his precise control. Never has the Philharmonic sounded so alive - even under Karajan, the strings have never sounded so rich, so pure, so beautiful. This is the only recording of the ninth that truly is a fitting testament to Bruckner.
But well over a hundred years since his death his extraordinary gifts as a symphonist are held in awe and most orchestras have made his works a staple in their repertoire. All but the mighty 9th. Fortunately this magnum opus is gaining more frequent playings by important orchestras and conductors: Pierre Boulez just gave us his examination and majestic performance with the LA Philharmonic, revealing once again how this contemporary composer can reveal hidden secrets in the massively romantic symphonies. The recording here is by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Gunther Wand and is a joy in every way. The pacing of the symphony is astute, the joyful 2nd movement with all of its references to Bruckner's earlier symphonies is played with a magnificent range of sonics, and the intensely spiritual 3rd movement with all of the uses of the Dresden Amen melodies builds in awe-inspiring intensity like a heart bursting with longing and acceptance of life on earth ending. The symphony ends in a gentle exhale of stunned quiet, the release of the spirit from the corporeal body. This is a live performance thankfully free of any aural evidence of an audience, but imbued with the physical tension that only live recordings can completely embrace. The Berlin Philharmonic is up to its highest standards of playing and Wand lets the symphony breathe. Highly recommended.
My opinion ofn the art of interpretation, chiefly for orchestral works is simple. I believe that if a conductor, any conductor, leads the music "straight forward" and obserrves the tempo markings as even the mn-on-the-street would define them, and he doesn't place himself between the audience and the music, then he has done his job, and done it as he SHOULD do it. I don't hand out "extra credit for this, because I expect Maestro X to perform the compositions as they were written. Wse spend far too much time and energy with those inner debates over the most minute of details and nuances, and we really need to step back and view the Symphony as a unified whole. It is the totality if the composer's thoughts at the time of composition, and, if torn up and redone from scratch in a few days, it may sound completely different, as expected. Each day is, naturally, a new dawn with something about it that is different and singularly unique.
Wand does this back step examination of, say this 9th Symphony in d-minor, and presents it as a whole effort, but two additional things come through in his performances. Number One) he conducts from a historical perspective, (Bruckner's historical perspective), thus the maestro reaches back to previous works to add to the blend of ideas, emotions and feelings when conducting, in this example, the d-minor Symphony. His Second feature is that he conducts from the heart. Viewing him on the DVD I mentioned above I was surprised at his dead-pan expression as it did not match the visceral intensity of the sound, but I am sure he spoke in rehearsal about this. He never, that I have seen, showed any facial contortions, podium gymnastics or angst ridden gestures aimed at the orchestra. He never needs to, because that is in the score left to us by the author.
I guess with headphone scrutiny and 100% concentration, I might be able to discern between this recording and the one with the NDR Orchestra made in the 1980's, but for me, it is a matter of the subtle little differences between orchestras----Berlin vs. Hamburg The first one is "world-class," the second is in the"very good' tier. And, as for the interpretation? I'd say about the same, both being powerful, majestic, evocative in places, and presented with respect, devotion and affection for the composer and his work.
I own all the NDR recordings but for #1 and #0, and this valdadictorian 9th is truly the farewell Symphonyof the compoer has left for our enjoyment. His scherzo, the best one that Bruckner ever wrote is bouncy, festive, thumping swirling, whirling and jam-packed with rhythm. As a distant sibling of the 3rd Symphy's own dance movement, this one has more refinement and focus. The opening movement's 26:12 is quite generous and the spatial resolution of the BMG soundstage is more than adequate for this epic foray into the sound universe of Anton Bruckner.
But, it is the long arcing Adagio hat cowns this great Symphonyand even a rushjob by some hack can't obscure the majestic intent of this splendid conclusion. Titled "Adagio:langsam, feierlich" the reasonable length of 25;12 IS ECLIPSED ONLY BY
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