Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner: Symphony No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Bruckner: Symphony No 1

Article excerpt

Bruckner

Symphony No 1 (Linz version, ed Nowak)

Munich Philharmonic Orchestra / Valery Gergiev

Munchner Philharmoniker (F) MPHIL0008 (51' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Stiftsbasilika St Florian, Linz, September 25, 2017

Bruckner

Symphony No 3 (1889 version, ed Nowak)

Munich Philharmonic Orchestra/Valery Gergiev

Munchner Philharmoniker (F) MPHIL0009 (55' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Stiftsbasilika St Florian, Linz,September 25, 2017

These new recordings in Gergiev's Bruckner series derive from a single concert given in the monastery of St Florian. When I reviewed the cycle's inaugural release of the Fourth Symphony (11/16), I observed that Gergiev's otherwise laudable interpretation was undermined by problems with the sound and production. This time around there are no issues with the recording quality but some other factors prevent these new releases from being fully recommendable.

In the case of the First Symphony, Gergiev's performance is for the most part direct and compelling, the faster movements underpinned by a propulsive bass line and sense of purpose that communicate a strong degree of excitement. The Adagio too is very fine, with luminous playing and a passionate climax. There's some occasionally fussy rubato in the first movement and dynamic contrasts are neglected at times, but these I can live with. More problematic, however, are the frequent rasping and puffing sounds made by the conductor, among the most conspicuous I've heard in a recording and especially distracting in the Scherzo. …

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