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Bruckner: Symphony No 7; Gluck: Iphigenie En Aulide Overture / Walter, New York Philharmonic

Release Date: 10/14/2008 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1424   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Christoph W. GluckAnton Bruckner
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Throughout his later decades, Bruno Walter (1876- 1962) was considered to be one of the world's most noteworthy Brucknerians. Among his valedictory recordings, his most prized are arguably those of Bruckner's Fourth, Seventh and Ninth Symphonies with the Los Angeles-based Columbia Symphony Orchestra, recorded between 1959 and 1961.

Yet Walter came to conduct Bruckner relatively late in his career. His first known Bruckner performance was a 1914 performance of the Fourth. Walter admitted that he himself did not feel entirely comfortable conducting Bruckner's music until 1927, when he was over fifty years of age, as a result of enforced rest and contemplation caused by a bout of double pneumonia. Until almost twenty years after
Read more his death, in 1962, none of the numerous surviving live Bruckner recordings had come to light. Suddenly, within a few short years, a number of live Bruckner Ninths started appearing. Six are now known, including three with the New York Philharmonic. A relatively early Bruckner Fourth (from 1940) surfaced, and a unique recording of the Bruckner Eighth (from 1941) was undoubtedly the highlight of the new discoveries. All the while, no broadcast of the Seventh could be found. This was especially unfortunate, given that Walter's tempi slowed down markedly after his heart attack in 1957.

On 27 December 1953, Columbia Records recorded Walter conducting the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (as it was then known) in Bruckner's Symphony No.9, a live concert that was also broadcast. The following year, on 23 December 1954, Columbia recorded the entire, non-broadcast concert, in which the Bruckner Symphony No.7 was included in the programme. The next afternoon, in another concert that was not broadcast, Columbia again recorded the exact same programme. While the 1953 Columbia recording of the Ninth has not, apparently, survived (although, fortunately, broadcast tapes do), both 1954 concerts exist in their entirety. (It is not altogether clear, however, which recording is from which concert: only the 23 December concert is mentioned in Columbia's paperwork, and the tapes are undated, simply being listed as 'A' and 'B'.)

- Extract from the album boolet note © Jon M. Samuels, 2008
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Works on This Recording

Iphigénie en Aulide: Overture by Christoph W. Gluck
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1772-1774; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: December, 1954 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York 
Length: 10 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Symphony no 7 in E major, WAB 107 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Bruno Walter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1883; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: December, 1954 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York 

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