Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphony No. 7
Günter Wand, cond; North German RSO
TDK COWAND8 (DVD: 69:02) Live: Lübeck 8/28/1999
This recording, taken from the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 1999, is a valuable reproduction of Günter Wand’s final thoughts on Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony. The NDR Symphony Orchestra has gone a long way together with the German maestro; and fortunately for us listeners, that collaboration has now been released on DVD.
This recording of the
Seventh shows us the fruits of the work that conductor and orchestra made together during their long collaboration. Beginning with the first bars it’s clear Wand knows the score of this symphony inside out; it first appeared on his program around 1947, and therefore half a century of performing and recording the work has enriched his profound knowledge of Bruckner. The orchestra plays with enthusiasm and confidence. Wand’s conducting is never insistent, but always suggestive and free. His natural feeling for pacing and breathing is really remarkable.
The first movement is solemn and gracious; the introduction played by the cello section is gorgeous, and the development offers us only more of that same beauty. Individual solos in every section of the orchestra are always inspired and the ensemble playing is very professional. Just occasionally the woodwinds lack stable intonation. The second movement is one of Bruckner’s most beautiful Adagios, and Günter Wand definitely knows what to make of it. Maybe this isn’t the most enthralling performance on disc, but it’s certainly a very inspired and moving one. Wand has always been a loyal Haasian, so those used to hearing Leopold Nowak’s reinstated cymbal clash will be waiting in vain. Tempos are generally well chosen; however, in the third movement Scherzo Wand chooses slower tempos, thus losing some natural flow. The finale is vivid and Wand puts all the details of the score in the spotlight without losing sight of the big phrasing.
The image and sound quality are also very good, with a nice variety of camera shots. Wand’s conducting is captured from several interesting positions, and we are given the feeling we’re part of the orchestra. The fine acoustics of the Lübeck Music and Congress Hall contribute to the already bright and rich orchestral sound.
Euroarts released a recent video recording with Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra: an interesting performance, especially because of Abbado’s chamber-music-like approach. Karajan’s last recording with the Vienna Philharmonic or Jochum with the Staatskapelle Dresden remain the landmark audio recordings.
Thanks to TDK’s recent releases of new and older Günter Wand video material, we’re now able to discover more of the grand artistry of this sincere personality of German postwar music-making.
FANFARE: Bart Verhaeghe
Picture format: NTSC 16:9
Sound format: LPCM Stereo
Region code: 0 (All Region)
Booklet notes: English, French, German
Running time: 69 mins
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 7 in E major, WAB 107 by Anton Bruckner
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Written: 1881-1883; Vienna, Austria
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