Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bruckner, Anton. (1824-1896) Symphony No. 1 in C minor. First version, "Linzer" 1866, WAB 101.

New acquisition.
Bought in June 2017.
First listen: 21-6-2017.
Label: CPO.
CD 2 from 11.
Recording dates: November 2010.
Recording venue: Tapiola Hall, Kulttuurikeskus, Espoo, Finland.
Recording engineer: Jacob Händel.
Running time: 44:32.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Performed by:
Tapiola Sinfonietta, Mario Venzago.

I admired a certain picture for its beauty colours and expression, in which the effect of light and shade were extraordinary fine, yet when it was restored and cleaned after 250 years, I was utterly flabbergasted, for what I perceived as a complete and true image turned out to be something totally different. This is how I perceive Venzago's interpretations of the Bruckner symphonies. The only thing which I feel you can argue about are the tempi, but even those make perfect sense, once you adapted to what is on offer. He argues quite rightly that the Bruckner of today is not the Bruckner he originally was, hence the analogy with which I started my thoughts. Sure the first movement "Allegro" is fast, as is the Scherzo, but the clarity and pinpoint detail you get, make a good case for this approach. For this is what you get, all desks are audible, every melody line in front of you, timpani as clear as a bell. There is unity, as if all melodies are internally connected, and this is exactly why it feels right. Nothing is lost in a wash of sound, or blown away by an excess of brass, all is cleanly delineated. The harmony and balance is gorgeous, and all the added sentimentality is gone, and a pure romanticism is emerging like a phoenix from the ashes. Articulation is razor sharp, and the remarkable bursts of speed are exhilarating. A cultured sound it is! And still, there is a lot of intensity to those notes Bruckner penned down, and his personal sense of melancholy is deeply felt. Breathless energy and a scintillating finale crowns this symphony. This is essential listening.
The sound is top notch.


Graupner, Christoph. (1683-1760. Partitas for Harpsichord, Volume 4.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: July 2017. First listen: 21-7-2017. Label: Analekta. Recording dates: June 2004 Recording venue: ...