Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner * Wagner: Bruckner Symphony No 4 (1878/80 Version)

Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner * Wagner: Bruckner Symphony No 4 (1878/80 Version)

Article excerpt

Bruckner * Wagner

Bruckner Symphony No 4, 'Romantic' (1878/80 version) (a) Wagner Parsifal--Good Friday Music (b) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; (b) Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Wilhelm Furtwangler Praga Digitals (F) [SACD] PRD/DSD350130 (78' * DDD/DSD) Recorded live in (b) Cairo, April 25,1951; (a) Stuttgart, October 22,1951

Since Furtwangler and the Vienna Philharmonic took the Romantic Symphony on a tour of Germany in the autumn of 1951, there has been a sea change in the matter of playing and thinking about Bruckner. Even recordings of Palestrina and Bach from that time are more recognisable now as representing a distinct and unchanging artefact than this performance of what often sounds, quite simply, like a different piece. Not only in the notes themselves, such as the Scherzo's superfluous modulations and the trumped-up passage into the Trio, or the finale's percussive fixings, brushed and crashed cymbal and all, but more crucially in the symphony's speed and direction of flow.

At least, it's generally assumed these days that the symphony has a flow. …

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