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Schubert: Symphony No 5; Brahms: Symphony No 1 / Wand

Brahms / Ndr Sinfonieorchester
Release Date: 09/26/2006 
Label:  Tdk   Catalog #: COWAND7  
Composer:  Franz SchubertJohannes Brahms
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Günter Wand / Schubert Symphony No. 5 & Brahms Symphony No. 1
Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Germany, 1997

NDR Sinfonieorchester
Günter Wand

Günter Wand (1912–2002) made an imperative contribution not only to our understanding of Bruckner but also to that of Schubert as a symphonist. Both composers were particularly close to his heart and his international breakthrough came – late in his life - with his highly-acclaimed Bruckner and Schubert recordings 1974-81.

One of the last grand old men of the baton, Wand was able to invest the music that he conducted with a structure that also made a powerful appeal to the emotions. In the television recordings from the
Read more Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival that are now released for the first time on DVD, Günter Wand and his inimitable style of conducting are brought back to life in a particularly impressive way.

Wand’s Schubert is distinguished above all by its inspired perfection, a perfection that reflects his inner attitude to the music: “A certain innocence, a certain purity, it’s wonderful, a balm for the soul. Music has this effect, even though it is written without any intention of creating such an effect.” As a Bruckner interpreter he has contributed enormously to our present-day understanding of the composer and his readings of the symphonies invariably concentrated on their texture and hence, their spirit.

During the great final phase of his career, documented here on DVDs, Wand devoted himself increasingly to Bruckner’s and Schubert’s works and his interpretations became more and more free, revealing both heartfelt emotion and musical intelligence. He developed a trademark fidelity towards the composers, which led to insightful readings of their works. Wherever possible Wand returned to the versions representing most clearly the composer’s intentions – be it the “urtext” or scrupulously restored versions.

In spite of the international acclaim that he received, the publicity-shy Günter Wand remained the very antithesis of the itinerant star conductor, preferring to concentrate his energies on Cologne and Hamburg. In this way he became one of the most extraordinary interpreters of our day, trusting in the composer and approaching the music of the past and present not only with analytical acumen and in a spirit of fidelity to the original but also with a very real spirituality.

Günter Wand’s unfailing sense of proportion and balance, together with the “unity in diversity” favoured by classical aesthetics, are arguably the most typical elements of his performances. This is as true of the motifs and themes as it is of the individual parts of each movement and, above all, of the relationship between the movements. For Günter Wand, clarity and precision in terms of the most meticulous articulation, phrasing and balance – all of them the result of relentless rehearsals – were the indispensable prerequisites for a kind of music making that was none the less filled with emotion.

When the members of the NDR Sinfonieorchester - the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra - elected Günter Wand as their conductor emeritus for life in 1987, he had just turned seventy-five and had been their principal conductor for five years. The year 1987 also marked Wand’s début at the then recently founded Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, inaugurating a tradition that, with the exception of a single year’s absence due to illness, he was to maintain until 2001. He died on 14 February 2002, shortly after his ninetieth birthday, revered by the whole of the musical world as the last great conductor of his generation and as a Brucknerian of uniquely commanding stature.

With this second part of the Gunter Edition, TDK will have, altogether, released 8 DVDs of Günter Wands legacy to symphonic interpretation in the 21st century and to the success of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. The DVDs also offer a rare occasion to grasp the atmosphere of his collaboration with the NDR Sinfonieorchester in a filmed concert. The DVDs come in two attractive boxes, each containing 4 DVDs, accompanied by booklets including extensive and informative essays on Günter Wand, his understanding of the composers and of the works on the respective DVD. These essays are written by musicologist and Bruckner expert Wolfgang Seifert, who also published a biography on Günter Wand in cooperation with the conductor in 1999.

This, the second box of the Güter Wand Edition, includes includes the popular Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 4 (“Romantic”) and 7, Schubert’s symphonies 5, 8 (“Unfinished”) & 9 as well as Beethoven’s third Leonore and the first symphony by Brahms. Already released in the first edition have been Bruckner symphonies nos. 5, 6 and 8 in their original or restored versions as well as an elegant, but rarely performed Haydn Symphony and the “Unfinished” symphonies by Bruckner and Schubert.

Sound: PCM-Stereo
Picture Format: 16:9 widescreen
Region: 0 (all)
Running Time: 81 minutes
Subtitles: none
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 in B flat major, D 485 by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1997 
Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Günter Wand
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1997 

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