Notes and Editorial Reviews
Recorded live in concert in January, 1998, the Gunter Wand/Berlin Philharmonic Bruckner Fourth was released in Europe that fall. It got a rave review in Gramophone and garnered that magazine's disc of the year award. You might assume that RCA might capitalize on the publicity and bring the disc out in the United States. After all, didn't they rush release David Helfgott's Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto, lest any self-respecting American collector not be able to buy it? It took more than a year, however, for this award-winning disc to reach our shores. Given the number of excellent Bruckner Fourths already in the catalog, including two previous versions from Wand, was this new one worth the wait?
The answer is a resounding yes, on all counts.
Start with those exquisitely shaded string murmurs embedding and supporting the most sublimely intoned opening horn solo imaginable. The wind and brass interplay is contoured with the utmost refinement, yet still radiates energy and inner momentum. Likewise, the slow movement unfolds in a controlled yet flexible manner, replete with elegant muscle. The scherzo reveals the Berlin Philharmonic at its full-throated apex, and the antiphonal clarity of the opening brass salvos is a marvel to behold. Lastly, Wand navigates the sometimes-diffuse finale like an experienced pilot who hasn't lost his feeling for adventure en route to the final destination. The engineering is drop-dead gorgeous, with mike placement that is a little closer in focus compared to Wand's 1991 NDR effort. What's more, the Berlin Philharmonic plays better for Wand than in its previous Bruckner Fourths under Karajan, Muti, Barenboim, and (God help us) Knappertsbusch. It might be too rash to declare Wand/Berlin the best Bruckner Fourth on disc, but it proudly takes its place alongside divergently great interpretations by Böhm/Vienna (Decca), Jochum/Dresden (EMI), Celibidache/Munich (EMI), and Ormandy/Philadelphia (Sony). Don't miss it.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 4 in E flat major, WAB 104 "Romantic" by Anton Bruckner
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1998
Venue: Live Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany
Length: 68 Minutes 40 Secs.
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (1874 - 1886).
Be the first to review this title