Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner: Symphony No 9

Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner: Symphony No 9

Article excerpt

Bruckner

Symphony No 9 (ed Nowak) Lucerne Festival Orchestra / Claudio Abbado DG [F] 479 3441GH (63' * DDD) Recorded live at the Concert Hall of KKL Lucerne, August 21-26, 2013

Most of the differences between this Bruckner Ninth Symphony, which was recorded in concert just five months before Claudio Abbado's death in January, and the rather less flexible version he made in 1996 with the Vienna Philharmonic (also live, and also for DG) are relatively subtle. I note near the very outset of the work a wind chord that on the original broadcast wasn't quite unanimous is now fairly tight, so I am assuming a limited amount of 'patching', though there are no audible edits.

The contrasting qualities of the two orchestras are brought to the fore around 12'13" into the first movement (11 '28" on the VPO disc)--the interplay between winds and strings, which is more expressively drawn on the Lucerne disc. Also, there's added presence among the pulsing basses as the coda to the first movement builds. The blinding light suggested near the start of the Adagio, where brass choirs exchange declamatory fanfares (1'56"), is also clearer on the new disc. Then again, put on the start of either Scherzo and you could as well be listening to the same recording, such was Abbado's consistency. …

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