Friday, June 23, 2017

Bruckner, Anton. (1824-1896) Symphony No. 2 in C minor. (1877)

New acquisition.
Bought in June 2017.
First listen: 23-6-2017.
Label: CPO
CD 3 from 11.
Recording dates: November 2011.
Recording venue: Hall One, The Sage Gateshead, England.
Recording engineer: Jacob Händel.
Running time: 56:30.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Northern Sinfonia, Mario Venzago.

For most people who will listen to this symphony the tempi might be the deal breaker, nothing else will is my opinion. But if you embrace Venzago's take on Bruckner's symphonies, it has to be unconditional, anything else will not do. Otherwise it will be a purely academic exercise without any intrinsic value. And that again would lower the interest into a mere one play time ever.
The first movement has a tempo marking "Moderato", but in Venzago's hands it is at most times a brisk "Allegro". At first I had to adjust that it's outlook normally perceived as "majestic", gets now the title "elated serenity", swiftly executed and clearheaded. Its downsizing in orchestral forces revealed so many details that my head still boggles from the experience. So undone of all the ballast of 50 years of recording tradition, the tighter tempi, makes for a more organic interpretation and fit in its melodic context much more comfortably. There are really so many melody lines, never heard before that grabs your attention, that I perceive this symphony as a new work. Take the second movement, "Andante. Feierlich, etwas bewegt". It has such an attractive lilt in its tempi, and thereby revealed an astonishing piece of restless energy and burning spiritual aspirations. Magical, depicting subtlety, gorgeous intonation, and unknown colours and nuance. So sincere, yet passionate and without any added intellectualism. On every level emotionally as well as musically, the music's drama and poetry are in perfect alignment. There is absolutely nothing cliche, predictable or routine. And in this light I might recommend the absolutely stunning third movement. Sensationally conceived, it ticks every one of my senses. One of the many genius movements Bruckner wrote. There is a victory and freedom in Venzago's take that blew me away in thinking it a unbelievable triumph. All the searching and suffering combined in a single expression. This is the kind of thing a genius can do! 
The orchestra respond really well to its conductor, and the recording 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: ...