Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner: Symphony No 1 ('Vienna' Version, 1891, Ed Brosche)

Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner: Symphony No 1 ('Vienna' Version, 1891, Ed Brosche)

Article excerpt

Bruckner [GC][GP]

Symphony No 1 ('Vienna' version, 1891, ed Brosche)

Lucerne Festival Orchestra / Claudio Abbado

Accentus [F] ACC30274 (50' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Concert Hall of KKL, Lucerne,

August 17 & 18,2012

Bruckner's First from Abbado in Lucerne, now on a single CD

Buyer beware: if you snapped up DG's Claudio Abbado Symphony Edition, released earlier this year to celebrate the great man's 80th birthday, you already own this recording. Feel free to move on; the next review awaits.

But that technicality aside, this live First Symphony recorded at the 2012 Lucerne Festival is a mandatory listen for any self-respecting Brucknerhead. Abbado arrives at the rare 'Vienna version, 1891' after recording Bruckner's original 1866 'Linz' version three times, twice with the Vienna Philharmonic. Wand, Chailly and Rozhdestvensky also opted for Vienna; everybody else, from Karajan and Jochum to Mario Venzago and Simone Young, prefers Linz. And at a time of life when most conductors would be happy to present their settled view, why Abbado's latter-day conversion?

He is, you feel, utterly beguiled by the beautiful mysteries of this symphony's split-infinitive harmonies and carnival-mirror gestures. Far from taking a settled view or even considering such a luxury desirable, the symphony has clearly been resonating through Abbado's imagination for decades (his first recording dates back to 1972) and here he dives ever deeper into the eddy, grappling with an idea of what Bruckner's First symbolises both on its own terms and as a pointer towards the composer's future. …

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