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Günter Wand - Bruckner: Symphonies No 5, 6, 8 & 9; Haydn, Schubert

Bruckner / Haydn / Schubert / Wand
Release Date: 08/16/2005 
Label:  Tdk   Catalog #: COWANDBOX1  
Composer:  Anton BrucknerFranz Joseph HaydnFranz Schubert
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 4 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Anyone who loves Günter Wand’s performances of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, and enjoys watching as well as hearing performances, should delight in this set.



The performances were recorded at opening concerts of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Lübeck, in July of 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2001. Wand conducts the orchestra that he led as principal conductor and conductor emeritus for the last 20 years of his life. If not quite as polished as the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he also performed and recorded in his golden years, the North German Radio Symphony of Hamburg is nevertheless a first-rate orchestra that, under Wand’s meticulous and inspiring direction, makes a Read more powerful effect with these great symphonies. The conductor looks his age—he was born in 1912 and died in 2002—and takes a bit of time to get from the wings to the podium, but his concentration and control are every bit as strong in the last as in the first of these concerts. The Eighth Symphony, at 90 minutes, and the Ninth, at 65, are a bit slower than today’s average performance of each, but consistent with the conductor’s performances at least as far back as the later 1980s. The Fifth and Sixth, at 75 and 56 minutes respectively, are rather brisk by today’s standards, and also consistent with his earlier recordings. The Eighth and Ninth Symphonies belong to a different world from those earlier works; Bruckner expanded the size and instrumentation of his orchestra, a change that started with the Seventh Symphony, and achieved a new level of serious and solemn expression. There is a similar difference between the charming Symphony No. 76 by Joseph Haydn and the “Unfinished” Symphony of Franz Schubert: Wand dispatches the cheerful work in 21 minutes, while taking 31 for his dark and brooding interpretation of Schubert’s masterpiece. Haydn preceded Bruckner’s Sixth in the 1996 concert, while Schubert preceded Bruckner’s Ninth in 2001—a concert of two unfinished symphonies.


Wand’s way with Bruckner begins with the obvious virtues: he knows every note of these scores, and knows how they relate to one another in phrases, sequences, sections, and movements. He knows when to highlight a solo or an important counter-melody. He encourages his players to micromanage their dynamics and rubato to give proper shape to Bruckner’s musical rhetoric. He appreciates that for all the loud playing by the brass instruments that punctuate Bruckner’s symphonies, the basic sound begins with a large and expert body of strings, and the string sonorities begin with the double basses—there are 10 of them for the Eighth and Ninth Symphonies. Otherwise, he does not impose a musical personality of his own; one feels that one is hearing Bruckner, a very great composer, in four very great symphonies. As many have already observed, these DVDs are a joy to experience.





FANFARE: Robert McColley
Picture Format: 4:3 (DVD I), 16:9 anamorphic (DVD II, II + IV)
Sound Format: LPCM stereo
Running Time: 82 mins. (DVD I) 80 mins. (DVD II) 96 mins. (DVD III) 100 mins. (DVD IV)
Booklet Languages: English, French, German
Recording Date: 1996-2001

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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 5 in B flat major, WAB 105 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875-1876; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Symphony no 6 in A major, WAB 106 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879-1881; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Symphony no 8 in C minor, WAB 108 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
4.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, WAB 109 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1896; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Symphony no 76 in E flat major, H 1 no 76 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1782; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
6.
Symphony no 8 in B minor, D 759 "Unfinished" by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 

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