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Bruckner: Symphony No 6; Bach/Webern: Ricercare / Dohnányi


Release Date: 08/30/1998 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 436153   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anton BrucknerJohann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is an extraordinarily bold and vivid account of what is unaccountably still the least fashionable of Bruckner's mature symphonies. Certainly, it is rare—on record, if not in the concert-hall—to hear the famously exact Cleveland Orchestra playing with so much colour and emotional frankness. John Pellowe's recording is also remarkable. The Severance Hall sound is as analytical as ever; yet on this occasion it also provides the kind of multifaceted perspectives that help give a Bruckner symphony its special character. Listening to this recording, one is left in little doubt that this is Bruckner's most strikingly scored symphony to date, its ''tumultuous surface sparkling like the Homeric seas'' as Sir Donald Tovey put it many years ago, Read more when Bruckner was even more of a closed book to the average Briton than he is today.

Recording after recording of the Sixth has come apart at the seams as a result of the conductor's inability to gauge the pulse of the two outer movements. Bruckner's tempo indications and his bowing marks both imply a certain breadth of utterance that has to be reconciled none the less with pulsing rhythms and demystified textures. No one sorts this out better than Klemperer; he has hawk-like patience and a hawk-like keenness of vision. Dohnanyi sets a very good basic tempo in the first movement, which he then proceeds to modify in ways that don't always accord with Bruckner's carefully documented wishes; and quite a good tempo in the finale. The flux is not always Bruckner's. However, as Eugen Jochum often proved, a living response to Bruckner can be mightily effective, like one of those mountain hikes when you cover the terrain and arrive at your destination exhilarated, if perhaps a touch guilty in the knowledge that you missed the odd turning and fudged a mile or two of the prescribed route. Jochum-like, Dohnanyi comes close to winning me over here, even in the first movement.

His reading of the two inner movements deserves nothing but praise. He allows the Adagio the space it needs. (Klemperer is quicker, though, from the keening start onwards, always wonderfully articulate emotionally.) The quality of the Cleveland sound in the grieving C minor funeral lament at fig. D (5'01'') is such as to make one want to rank this slow movement alongside those of the better-known Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. And how beautifully the slow movement's coda is handled and characterized. This is pure Meistersinger, Bruckner dressed in Sachs's garb.

The slowish, minor-key Scherzo is also perfectly judged. Indeed, I found myself playing the Trio twice. Rarely can this sweet academic debate between horns, woodwinds and strings have sounded more irresistible or affecting than it does here. Of course, we know how it is all going to end; it is there in Bruckner's script. I don't remember, though, a choir of orchestral horns that has insisted with such charming certainty that God created heaven in C major.

After so fabulously played a Bruckner Sixth, the finale all complexity and clamour, the sudden dip into the cooler waters of Webern's hallucinatorily beautiful orchestration of the Ricercar from Bach's Musical Offering is as welcome as a solitary stroll at eventide.

-- Richard Osborne, Gramophone [10/1994]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 6 in A major, WAB 106 by Anton Bruckner
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879-1881; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/07/1991 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 55 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: 1881 Original, Leopold Nowak Edition, 1952. 
2.
Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079: no 5, Ricercar a 6 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/01/1993 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 7 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Orchestrated: Anton von Webern (1935) 

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