Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bruckner, Anton. (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 in E flat major. Last version of 1879/80, WAB 104. Top recommendation.

Anton Bruckner.

New acquisition.
Bought in June 2017.
First listen: 29-6-2017.
Label: CPO.
CD 5 from 11.
Recording dates: August 2010.
Recording venue: Casino Basel, Musiksaal, Switzerland.
Recording engineer: Andreas Werner.
Running time: 61:15.
Relevance to me: Essential.
Reference performance and interpretation.

Works performed:
See heading.

Works performed by:
Sinfonieorchester Basel, Mario Venzago.

The Fourth symphony is a massive work of monumental proportions. Most classical music lovers know it, and if not, they at least know the third movement. The orchestration of this work is massive and yet Venzago makes it sound as light as a feather in the summer breeze. The Romantic weight he brings to it is impressive, and brought to the fore in jubilant expression. It is a fact that this last version sounds as a brand new work. The almost vibrato less playing, and the strict adherence never to overplay each other, makes for a detailed orchestral balance that allows you to hear all what is between the first strings and brass on the backside. That in itself is a novelty in performances of Bruckner's symphonies. It makes also for a better understanding of the technical side, and it connects dots which I could never before connect. Coupled with the in my ears right tempi, it flows quite easily in this new guise, and brings so much more to the music, that I consider this a reference performance. It never sounded more beautiful as in this interpretation. Vanzago keeps a tight grip on the proceedings, allowing the crescendos and decrescendos to be audible. Dynamics are carefully applied in such a way that every desk is allowed its due, which is also a novelty. All in all, I find the whole series to be perfectly poised, but the Fourth stands out in all in glorious colours and tonal excellence this orchestra can muster.  A perfect performance. Sound is top notch.

Riisager, Knudåge. (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition, Volume I.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: November 2017. First listen: 21--11-2017. Label: Dacapo. Recording dates: September 2010 & Februa...