Discussion:
Best/worst Bruckner symphony (poll)
Add Reply
A. Brain
2008-10-12 07:32:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.

For me, the easy winner is 7.


I am not sure about the loser.

For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4). The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)

I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor. But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability. With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.


I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts. A few
are fairly memorable.

An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music. He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.

One of the regulars at my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking) is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion. On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom. I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.

Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....

A couple of things I have mentioned before: The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE, the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.

Ok, so here's the concert experience:


My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth. Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades. He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German. Bruckner is hardly new to him. His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.

But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc. I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.

Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain



Remove NOSPAM for email.
d***@aol.com
2008-10-12 08:14:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
7, 8, and 9 exhibit a greater mastery of more ambitious forms than the
first six symphonies. Bruckner's single greatest achievement was the
slow movement of the 8th. The slow movements of the 7th and the 9th
exist on a similarly exalted plane, but the single vast form that is
the slow movement of the 8th was a greater compositional tour de force
than the sectional slow movement of the 7th or the more episodic slow
movement of the 9th.

-david gable
Gerard
2008-10-12 08:38:23 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
The Fourth is in the running for worst
Why is that?
Sol L. Siegel
2008-10-12 16:28:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 12 Oct 2008 10:38:23 +0200, "Gerard"
Post by Gerard
Post by A. Brain
The Fourth is in the running for worst
Why is that?
IMOVHO, Bruckner never did get the finale quite right. But "worst" is
such a relative term that it scarcely matters to me.

My unfavorite, besides the obvious F minor, is the Vienna version of
1, which to my ears is a bloated distortion of a brilliant original.

Favorite: 9. And may all those who "appropriated" sheets of sketches
of the finale as "mementos" from his apartment in the days after his
passing be locked in rooms in which only the notes they stole will be
played full blast on bad, out-of-tune accordions for all eternity - or
at least until such time as some materials from the missing coda turn
up.

- Sol L. Siegel, Philadelphia, PA USA
Juan I. Cahis
2008-10-12 21:23:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Dear Sol & friends
Post by Sol L. Siegel
On Sun, 12 Oct 2008 10:38:23 +0200, "Gerard"
Post by Gerard
Post by A. Brain
The Fourth is in the running for worst
Why is that?
IMOVHO, Bruckner never did get the finale quite right. But "worst" is
such a relative term that it scarcely matters to me.
My unfavorite, besides the obvious F minor, is the Vienna version of
1, which to my ears is a bloated distortion of a brilliant original.
Favorite: 9. And may all those who "appropriated" sheets of sketches
of the finale as "mementos" from his apartment in the days after his
passing be locked in rooms in which only the notes they stole will be
played full blast on bad, out-of-tune accordions for all eternity - or
at least until such time as some materials from the missing coda turn
up.
- Sol L. Siegel, Philadelphia, PA USA
Hallelujah!!!!!!!!

Fully agreed!!!!!!!!


Thanks
Juan I. Cahis
Santiago de Chile (South America)
Note: Please forgive me for my bad English, I am trying to improve it!
weary flake
2008-10-13 16:26:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Sol L. Siegel
Favorite: 9. And may all those who "appropriated" sheets of sketches
of the finale as "mementos" from his apartment in the days after his
passing be locked in rooms in which only the notes they stole will be
played full blast on bad, out-of-tune accordions for all eternity - or
at least until such time as some materials from the missing coda turn
up.
The bruckner 9 "finale" of Marthe is not really related to the 9th,
to my ears; it is really a fantasia on bruckner, composed by marthe.
It is bombastic fun, and relistening to it recently inspired me to
purchase the new marthe 5th; it has an organ piece not related to
bruckner at all, composed by Nitsch and is modernistic junk: a lot
of static chords, which may be fine if I happened to like the chords
being sit on, but would prefer to hear chords that are more
crowd-pleasing.

All of the 9ths "4th movements" I'm aware of are 2 disc sets except
for Naito and Bosch; Only Wildner on Naxos respectably puts the
finale all by itself on the second disc; the others somewhat
presumptiously place the 3rd and 4th movements together on the
second disc, instead of placing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the first
disc alone, and leaving the "4th" on the second disc.
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-13 18:52:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by weary flake
Favorite: 9.  And may all those who "appropriated" sheets of sketches
of the finale as "mementos" from his apartment in the days after his
passing be locked in rooms in which only the notes they stole will be
played full blast on bad, out-of-tune accordions for all eternity - or
at least until such time as some materials from the missing coda turn
up.
All of the 9ths "4th movements" I'm aware of are 2 disc sets except
for Naito and Bosch;
Naito's performance of the 9th is awsome and the Finale is the latest
version of William Carragan's completion which comes with significant
improvements.

Lionel Tacchini
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-13 18:55:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by weary flake
All of the 9ths "4th movements" I'm aware of are 2 disc sets except
for Naito and Bosch;
Inbal's and Samale's recordings of the completed 9th also fit on a
single CD.
So did a performance by Herreweghe which has not been published.

Lionel Tacchini
Matthew B. Tepper
2008-10-13 19:40:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
weary flake <***@hotmail.com> appears to have caused the following
letters to be typed in news:wearyflake-DA2FAA.09260913102008
All of the 9ths "4th movements" I'm aware of are 2 disc sets except for
Naito and Bosch; Only Wildner on Naxos respectably puts the finale all by
itself on the second disc; the others somewhat presumptiously place the 3rd
and 4th movements together on the second disc, instead of placing the 1st,
2nd and 3rd on the first disc alone, and leaving the "4th" on the second
disc.
Yoav Talmi/Oslo Philharmonic on Chandos has the canonical three movements on
one disc, and the conjectural Carragan finale and the sketches on disc two.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
weary flake
2008-10-17 02:26:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by weary flake
Post by Sol L. Siegel
Favorite: 9. And may all those who "appropriated" sheets of sketches
of the finale as "mementos" from his apartment in the days after his
passing be locked in rooms in which only the notes they stole will be
played full blast on bad, out-of-tune accordions for all eternity - or
at least until such time as some materials from the missing coda turn
up.
The bruckner 9 "finale" of Marthe is not really related to the 9th,
to my ears; it is really a fantasia on bruckner, composed by marthe.
It is bombastic fun
Oh, I'm wrong about that; the bombastic fun parts of all the "finales"
are the Bruckner scraps! Still, it doesn't sound related to the actual
9th symphony.
woytek
2008-10-12 11:27:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
9th is one of the greatest monuments of western culture (especially
interpreted by Futrwangler and Celibidache - earlier SWR broadcast).
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 11:38:38 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by woytek
9th is one of the greatest monuments of western culture
This is the way I feel as well, although I would find it hard to say
why.
To me, it has a place right up together with the late Beethoven piano
sonatas and quartets.

Lionel Tacchini
woytek
2008-10-12 12:11:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
This is the way I feel as well, although I would find it hard to say
why.
To me, it has a place right up together with the late Beethoven piano
sonatas and quartets.
Preparation for death ?
Farewell to the world ?
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 12:25:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by woytek
Post by Lionel Tacchini
This is the way I feel as well, although I would find it hard to say
why.
To me, it has a place right up together with the late Beethoven piano
sonatas and quartets.
Preparation for death ?
Farewell to the world ?
It's not what I find in it. There is no need to prepare for death,
even the dumbest, poorest, busiest of us make it.

Lionel Tacchini - optimistic by nature ;-)
woytek
2008-10-12 12:42:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
It's not what I find in it. There is no need to prepare for death,
even the dumbest, poorest, busiest of us make it.
Amen :)
Toby Winston
2008-10-13 01:02:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by woytek
9th is one of the greatest monuments of western culture
This is the way I feel as well, although I would find it hard to say
why.
To me, it has a place right up together with the late Beethoven piano
sonatas and quartets.
Lionel Tacchini
I personally feel the 9th is Bruckner's greatest achievement (the 7th
and 8th come pretty close in my view). It seems to me that he
struggles with his faith and his mortality more in the 9th than in
earlier works. I agree it is one of Western culture's most inspired
moments; a desert island work for certain.
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 11:30:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
Clearly the 9th to me, in spite of its unfinished state.
For a completed work, I would possibly say the 8th but I suspect
Bruckner himself would have selected the 5th.
Post by A. Brain
I am not sure about the loser.
Keeping with those Bruckner did want published, certainly the 1st is
the one sounding "youngest" in terms of artistry, while remaining
quite an exciting thing. I love it, of course.
Post by A. Brain
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4).  The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
Boehm's 4th is a holy cow, certainly well played but disregarding
original performance practice which clearly involves differentiated
tempo usage within movements. Jochum, to stay among the holy
Brucknerians, does justice to that and achieves much more convincing
results in terms of rhetoric.
Post by A. Brain
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor.
Actually not, provided they start from the right scores. However, most
of the needed help has been erased when the Haas editions came out
Post by A. Brain
 But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability.  With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
The effect of "incongruous paragraphs" comes out of wrongly chosen
tempo relationships within movements. It is nearly always present when
the conductor sticks to a unique tempo throughout (a direct
consequence of the Haas editions) and also when he comes with
something going against the structure of the whole. There are plenty
of traditional examples of such mistakes, like starting the 7th slowly
and increasing the pace up to the 3rd subject (it works best exactly
the other way around, with a weighty, solemn 3rd subject, check out
Klemperer), or rushing the entrance of the Finale in the 8th as well
as the end of the 3rd subject in the exposition (Jochum did badly
there). Some of the most nonsensical Bruckner interpretations in this
regards were given by Salonen (the most ridiculous 4th I have heard)
or Maazel.

As to cuts, Bruckner himself already made some which usually work
quite well, but serious scholars tend to agree that the first versions
of the works are more satisfying both in terms of form and effect,
provided they receive appropriate renditions and the listener brings
the ability to concentrate on the music for quite a long time. This
especially applies to the first versions of the 2nd and 3rd
symphonies.

Lionel Tacchini
Dawg
2008-10-12 12:04:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
As to cuts, Bruckner himself already made some which usually work
quite well, but serious scholars tend to agree that the first versions
of the works are more satisfying both in terms of form and effect,
provided they receive appropriate renditions and the listener brings
the ability to concentrate on the music for quite a long time. This
especially applies to the first versions of the 2nd and 3rd
symphonies.
The above surely wouldn't apply to the 4th. I remember Inbal recorded
the 'original' 4th, and I found it quite hideous, and quite different,
compared to the revised versions available.

And as regards Boehm's 4th, there is a sense of purpose right from the
outset, that for me, marks this out as one of the greater recordings of
the work. It is wonderfully recorded, as well as played.

Some of the better conductors in these works are Tintner, and the
recordings by Celibidache are amongst the very best. All the rest, as
Celi himself said, are ....???

Basically, Celi was quite close to the truth though. As for the best
symphonies, then they are clearly the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th. The 8th is
only interesting because of its wonderful adagio. Rosbaud's 7th is up
there with the best.

And forget the earlier symphonies at one's peril too.

Imho, of course.

Ray (Dawg) Hall, Taree
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 12:21:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dawg
Post by Lionel Tacchini
As to cuts, Bruckner himself already made some which usually work
quite well, but serious scholars tend to agree that the first versions
of the works are more satisfying both in terms of form and effect,
provided they receive appropriate renditions and the listener brings
the ability to concentrate on the music for quite a long time. This
especially applies to the first versions of the 2nd and 3rd
symphonies.
The above surely wouldn't apply to the 4th. I remember Inbal recorded
the 'original' 4th, and I found it quite hideous, and quite different,
compared to the revised versions available.
The first version of the 4th (1874) is so different from the next
(1881, aka 1878/80) that comparison barely applies, especially
considering that the last two movements were replaced by entirely new
ones.
Post by Dawg
Some of the better conductors in these works are Tintner, and the
recordings by Celibidache are amongst the very best. All the rest, as
Celi himself said, are ....???
I don't believe in Celibidache ;-)
He defined his own approach to Bruckner's music, which is in
contradiction to the original.
His work was one of re-creation more than interpretation, Brukner/
Celibidache, like we have Bach/Busoni, Mussorgsky/Ravel, Rimsky/
Korsakov etc ...

Lionel Tacchini - not sure I got them all right ...
m***@comcast.net
2008-10-12 16:59:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
I don't believe in Celibidache ;-)
He defined his own approach to Bruckner's music, which is in
contradiction to the original.
His work was one of re-creation more than interpretation, Brukner/
Celibidache, like we have Bach/Busoni, Mussorgsky/Ravel, Rimsky/
Korsakov etc ...
Are you referring to Celibidache in Munich or overall? Some of his
Munich Bruckner recordings are implausibly slow,
while others, e.g. 3, 4, and 6, are superbly well-paced. Gunter Wand
made some excellent Bruckner recordings in Munich during
or immediately after the Celi era.

Marc Perman
rkhalona
2008-10-12 18:02:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
I don't believe in Celibidache ;-)
He defined his own approach to Bruckner's music, which is in
contradiction to the original.
His work was one of re-creation more than interpretation, Brukner/
Celibidache, like we have Bach/Busoni, Mussorgsky/Ravel, Rimsky/
Korsakov etc ...
Are you referring to Celibidache in Munich or overall?  Some of his
Munich Bruckner recordings are implausibly slow,
while others, e.g. 3, 4, and 6, are superbly well-paced.  Gunter Wand
made some excellent Bruckner recordings in Munich during
or immediately after the Celi era.
Marc Perman
I agree. Celi's 4th and 6th from Munich are excellent. The Sixth, in
particular, remains unsurpassed for my taste.

RK
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 18:50:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
I don't believe in Celibidache ;-)
He defined his own approach to Bruckner's music, which is in
contradiction to the original.
His work was one of re-creation more than interpretation, Brukner/
Celibidache, like we have Bach/Busoni, Mussorgsky/Ravel, Rimsky/
Korsakov etc ...
Are you referring to Celibidache in Munich or overall?  Some of his
Munich Bruckner recordings are implausibly slow,
while others, e.g. 3, 4, and 6, are superbly well-paced.
I refer to the latest Celibidache of the Munich era. His 4th was then
between 79and 86 mn long, which is nowhere near the ca. 62 mn of the
metronome markings. The very best renditions of this work by the likes
of Jochum, Kabasta, Andreae or more recently Harnoncourt and Akira
Naito are all quite close to those 62 mn. Furtwängler would be as
well, if he didn't indulge in an extremely slow 2nd movement.
What Celi did with the 4th works in an amazing way leaving no doubt as
to his ability to turn works into something else while keeping them
satisfying. He was a creator somehow.
 Gunter Wand made some excellent Bruckner recordings in Munich during
or immediately after the Celi era.
I think Wand's Bruckner improved until the very end. His BPO
recordings and the performances he gave at the same time in Munich had
more of the required flexibility.

Lionel Tacchini
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 12:39:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
The 8th is only interesting because of its wonderful adagio. Rosbaud's 7th is up
there with the best.
Anyone who feels this way should listen to Dennis Russel Davies'
recording on Arte Nova, where he makes the best sense of the Finale I
have heard so far, a movement which is easily made to sound episodic
when yielding to the tempation of the spectacular. He chose to conduct
the first version of 1887.

Lionel Tacchini
Norman M. Schwartz
2008-10-12 12:48:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
I have at least 2 complete symphony sets (Jochum/DG and Tintner/Naxos) +
some scattered individuals, mostly 7s and 4s.
That tells my story, I like 7 and 4 best, probably 7 ahead of 4, so I don't
listen to the others very often, so I can't have any "worsts". Since anyone
wouldn't want to listen to their "worsts" often, how could they be that
familiar with them to be able to compare and rank them?, doesn't make much,
if any, sense to me. Nonetheless from that which I've learned here, I will
better familiarize myself with 9.
Simon Roberts
2008-10-12 16:00:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
In article <jKhIk.267281$***@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>, A.
Brain says...
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
My favorites are 9, 8 and 7, in that order, followed by 5 and 3. I would happily
never again listen to #4. (If I were allowed to keep only one recording of a
Bruckner symphony, it would probably be the VPO/Giulini DG recording of no. 9.)

Simon
A. Brain
2008-10-13 04:45:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
My favorites are 9, 8 and 7, in that order, followed by 5 and 3. I would happily
never again listen to #4. (If I were allowed to keep only one
recording of a
Bruckner symphony, it would probably be the VPO/Giulini DG recording of no. 9.)
Well, 4 is not THAT bad. Has there ever been a
thread on "Works I would happily never listen to
again"?

There's a long list of Richard Strauss works I
could come up with.
--
A. Brain



Remove NOSPAM for email.
Simon Roberts
2008-10-13 17:08:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
In article <pnAIk.68420$***@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>, A. Brain
says...
Post by A. Brain
Post by Simon Roberts
My favorites are 9, 8 and 7, in that order, followed by 5 and 3. I would happily
never again listen to #4. (If I were allowed to keep only one recording of a
Bruckner symphony, it would probably be the VPO/Giulini DG recording of no. 9.)
Well, 4 is not THAT bad.
I didn't say it was (even slightly) bad; I just don't like it.

Simon
b***@gmail.com
2008-10-14 02:39:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
says...
Post by A. Brain
Post by Simon Roberts
My favorites are 9, 8 and 7, in that order, followed by 5 and 3. I would happily
never again listen to #4. (If I were allowed to keep only one recording of a
Bruckner symphony, it would probably be the VPO/Giulini DG recording of no. 9.)
Well, 4 is not THAT bad.
I didn't say it was (even slightly) bad; I just don't like it.
There's no difference, unless you're suggesting there's some universal
"bad". But then there still is no difference, because you'd be
wrong.


J
Simon Roberts
2008-10-14 14:09:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by b***@gmail.com
Post by Simon Roberts
says...
Post by A. Brain
Post by Simon Roberts
My favorites are 9, 8 and 7, in that order, followed by 5 and 3. I would happily
never again listen to #4. (If I were allowed to keep only one recording of a
Bruckner symphony, it would probably be the VPO/Giulini DG recording of no. 9.)
Well, 4 is not THAT bad.
I didn't say it was (even slightly) bad; I just don't like it.
There's no difference, unless you're suggesting there's some universal
"bad".
There doesn't have to be a "universal 'bad'" for there to be a difference.

Simon
Matthew Silverstein
2008-10-14 18:46:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by b***@gmail.com
There's no difference, unless you're suggesting there's some universal
"bad". But then there still is no difference, because you'd be wrong.
Do you feel the same way about other sorts of badness--moral badness, for
example?

Matty
A. Brain
2008-10-14 07:44:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Simon Roberts
I didn't say it was (even slightly) bad; I just don't like it.
Here's a review of the concert my brother attended. He told
me the conductor had stepped in for Chailly, and that the
concert was supposed to be the Mahler 10--probably another
reason he was disappointed. On hearing that it was van
Zweeden, I recalled that he was the MD/conductor of some
American orchestra. Turns out it's the one in what we call
"that town north of here" (which still has the worst classical
station in the country).


http://preview.tinyurl.com/44n2y3
--
A. Brain



Remove NOSPAM for email.
Matthew B. Tepper
2008-10-14 16:00:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Here's a review of the concert my brother attended. He told me the
conductor had stepped in for Chailly, and that the concert was supposed to
be the Mahler 10--probably another reason he was disappointed. On hearing
that it was van Zweeden, I recalled that he was the MD/conductor of some
American orchestra. Turns out it's the one in what we call "that town
north of here" (which still has the worst classical station in the
country).
http://preview.tinyurl.com/44n2y3
No, Tom Deacon's protegée Bonnie Grice is still at large, meaning there's a
possibility of a station that's even worse.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of my employers
rkhalona
2008-10-12 16:29:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4).  The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor.  But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability.  With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.
I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts.  A few
are fairly memorable.
An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music.  He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.
One of the regulars at  my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking)  is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion.  On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom.  I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.
Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....
A couple of things I have mentioned before:  The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE,  the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.
My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth.  Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades.  He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German.  Bruckner is hardly new to him.  His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.
But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc.  I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.
Trivia:  Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain
Remove NOSPAM for email.
I think the 9th, in its unfinished state, is his best work (the
Finale, IMO, doesn't measure up to what
he did complete).

Worst? My vote goes to the original 4th. The (later) hunting
scherzo is a huge improvement.

The Sixth is the one I love best. That Adagio is simply lovely.

RK
Curtis Croulet
2008-10-12 17:21:36 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
Best: Eighth.

Worst: 1889/1890 Third. Particularly, the final version of the Adagio is a
hacked-up mess. The sprawling 1873 version is much better. But the
Bruckner symphony I least look forward to hearing is the standard 1878/80
Fourth. I'm giving Bruckner a pass over the early F minor and "Nullte"
symphonies.

The 1874 Fourth is, IMHO, generally "better" and more interesting than the
conventional 1878/80 version. 1874 contains some gauche moments, but it
also contains glorious things that Bruckner inexplicably removed from the
final versions.

The Ninth and Fourth (the usual versions) were the only Bruckner symphonies
I knew for several years, starting around 1960. After nearly 50 years of
listening to the Ninth, I'm still not quite sure that I grasp it. Maybe the
unrelenting pessimsim of the three completed movements turns me off. I
agree with Ramon: the finale in its post-hoc completions doesn't live up the
the first three movements, and I don't think Bruckner could have done much
better with basically inferior material. But the symphony desparately needs
the huge, summing-up finale Bruckner envisioned. Those who've read my posts
here and in private forums over the years know that my opinions of these
matters have wavered. I've finally concluded that even the most skilled
hands will never overcome the inferior and mostly uninteresting material
Bruckner left us.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-12 18:53:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
The Ninth and Fourth (the usual versions) were the only Bruckner symphonies
I knew for several years, starting around 1960.  After nearly 50 years of
listening to the Ninth, I'm still not quite sure that I grasp it.  Maybe the
unrelenting pessimsim of the three completed movements turns me off.  I
agree with Ramon: the finale in its post-hoc completions doesn't live up the
the first three movements, and I don't think Bruckner could have done much
better with basically inferior material.  
Just wait a bit, someone has written a new completion and what I've
heard was quite interesting.

Lionel Tacchini
Juan I. Cahis
2008-10-12 21:32:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
The Ninth and Fourth (the usual versions) were the only Bruckner symphonies
I knew for several years, starting around 1960. After nearly 50 years of
listening to the Ninth, I'm still not quite sure that I grasp it. Maybe the
unrelenting pessimsim of the three completed movements turns me off. I
agree with Ramon: the finale in its post-hoc completions doesn't live up the
the first three movements, and I don't think Bruckner could have done much
better with basically inferior material. But the symphony desparately needs
the huge, summing-up finale Bruckner envisioned. Those who've read my posts
here and in private forums over the years know that my opinions of these
matters have wavered. I've finally concluded that even the most skilled
hands will never overcome the inferior and mostly uninteresting material
Bruckner left us.
Sorry Curtis, but I strongly disagree!!!!

I find the Ninth Finale material one of the most outstanding material
Bruckner ever composed. I agree that it is very *different* to
anything he composed before, but it is superb, and it is our problem,
not his, to adapt us to his newer style. How would be possible to be
indifferent with the demoniac ending of the Fugue, for example? Where
did Bruckner compose anything so demoniac like that? And apart of the
Chorale of the Fifth Finale, where do you find a most imposing Chorale
than the one of the Ninth Finale?


Thanks
Juan I. Cahis
Santiago de Chile (South America)
Note: Please forgive me for my bad English, I am trying to improve it!
Toby Winston
2008-10-13 01:10:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Post by Curtis Croulet
The Ninth and Fourth (the usual versions) were the only Bruckner symphonies
I knew for several years, starting around 1960.  After nearly 50 years of
listening to the Ninth, I'm still not quite sure that I grasp it.  Maybe the
unrelenting pessimsim of the three completed movements turns me off.  I
agree with Ramon: the finale in its post-hoc completions doesn't live up the
the first three movements, and I don't think Bruckner could have done much
better with basically inferior material.  But the symphony desparately needs
the huge, summing-up finale Bruckner envisioned.  Those who've read my posts
here and in private forums over the years know that my opinions of these
matters have wavered.  I've finally concluded that even the most skilled
hands will never overcome the inferior and mostly uninteresting material
Bruckner left us.
Sorry Curtis, but I strongly disagree!!!!
I find the Ninth Finale material one of the most outstanding material
Bruckner ever composed. I agree that it is very *different* to
anything he composed before, but it is superb, and it is our problem,
not his, to adapt us to his newer style. How would be possible to be
indifferent with the demoniac ending of the Fugue, for example? Where
did Bruckner compose anything so demoniac like that? And apart of the
Chorale of the Fifth Finale, where do you find a most imposing Chorale
than the one of the Ninth Finale?
Thanks
Juan I. Cahis
Santiago de Chile (South America)
Note: Please forgive me for my bad English, I am trying to improve it!
Just a thought I had the other day. I am sure many of your reactions
will be in the "duh" category. Anyway, it is interesting that
classical music is the only genre I can think of in which the most
inspired and best works were written at the end of life. Pop and rock
(and to some extent Jazz) has a reverse correlation. Anyway, a simple
and obvious thought for many of you of course, but interesting
nonetheless. Paul McCartney and Elton John are two names off the top
of my head who have written nothing of merit for decades. Dutilleux on
the other hand, if he wrote a new work, or Carter, would interest me
greatly. I would never guess for example Vaughan Williams 9th was the
work of a man in his 80's, but I can spot washed up pop music
performers a mile away.
rkhalona
2008-10-12 22:34:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
 I've finally concluded that even the most skilled
hands will never overcome the inferior and mostly uninteresting material
Bruckner left us.
I am not ready to go as far because I still allow for the possibility
of someone doing an interesting job
and making more sense of the Finale than the people who have taken a
crack at it up to now, but
I basically agree with you. The various completions available
actually detract from the unfinished 9th.
My opinion, of course.

RK
Curtis Croulet
2008-10-13 07:07:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by rkhalona
I am not ready to go as far because I still allow for the possibility
of someone doing an interesting job and making more sense of
the Finale than the people who have taken a crack at it up to now, > but I
basically agree with you. The various completions available
actually detract from the unfinished 9th. My opinion, of course.
Didn't Bruckner pretty much complete the exposition of the finale? If this
is as good as it gets, then I stick with my belief that the finale cannot be
salvaged to create something worthy of the previous movements. But I'm glad
Juan holds the opposite opinion, and I know others agree with him. I hope
to live long enough to be proven wrong. I have nothing vested in my
opinion; it's simply the way I hear it.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Juan I. Cahis
2008-10-13 12:30:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Didn't Bruckner pretty much complete the exposition of the finale? If this
is as good as it gets, then I stick with my belief that the finale cannot be
salvaged to create something worthy of the previous movements.
Well, there are many classical movements from many Composers that they
are very good because the tunes that appear in the exposition are very
beautiful (Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, First Movement, for example),
but also there are many classical movements that they are very good
because, although the tunes that appear in the exposition are not very
great, the development that the Composer creates of them is really
masterful (Mendelssohn's Overture to Midsummer Night Dream, for
example).

Thanks
Juan I. Cahis
Santiago de Chile (South America)
Note: Please forgive me for my bad English, I am trying to improve it!
d***@aol.com
2008-10-14 00:11:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Well, there are many classical movements from many Composers that they
are very good because the tunes that appear in the exposition are very
beautiful (Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, First Movement, for example),
but also there are many classical movements that they are very good
because, although the tunes that appear in the exposition are not very
great, the development that the Composer creates of them is really
masterful (Mendelssohn's Overture to Midsummer Night Dream, for
example).
I don’t necessarily disagree, but you wouldn’t be drawing this
distinction if you were talking about Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
19th-century composers suddenly wanted to pour long limbed lyrical
melodies into their expositions. Then they were stuck with them when
it came time to fragment and develop them: already for Schubert and
Mendelssohn, “sonata form” could be something of a procrustean bed,
and it created problems for even such giant musical intelligences as
Schubert’s. Compare the famous long lyrical melody that is the
principal theme of the Unfinished to the first movement of any
symphony by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven
never dreamed of working with such material.

Two of the movements that were hardest hit by this problem are both
found in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy. The first movement opens
promisingly enough with a long sectional slow introduction before we
ever get to the exposition. It opens with a wonderful slow fugato
that is followed by an equally wonderful lyrical melody for
accompanied solo viola: so far, so good, and, so far, there’s nothing
that has anything to do with “exposing” and “developing” sonata-style
material. Then comes the exposition, and even it is pretty good. But
then we get to the development section, and the piece simply falls
apart. Berlioz loved the manic energy and mercurial violence he’d
heard in, say, Beethoven’s 7th, and he tried desperately to do
something analogous with fragments of his lyrical melodies, but, for
all his Beethoven idolatry, his language was nothing like Beethoven’s,
and he simply couldn’t pull it off. Berlioz imitated, not the
language, but the sound of Beethoven with his own style, and it didn’t
work terribly well within the procrustean sonata framework that he
also accepted. As for the finale, I agree with Matthew Tepper that
it’s a more or less total disaster.

Berlioz, Bruckner, and Mahler did better as they discovered novel ways
to make the spinning out of long limbed melody “developmental” and
abandoned the slavish imitation of Beethoven. Bruckner and Brahms
were wisely more apt to take Schubert as a model. A lot of people
don’t like it because it’s so complex and "modern," but the first
movement of Mahler’s 7th, a movement in which he’s completely
transformed “sonata form,” creating a form sui generis, is a tighter
and far more successful form than the sprawling first movement of the
3rd. The first movement of the 3rd grinds to a halt at certain of the
joints prescribed by the form, draining all of the built-up energy.
The form then resumes with zero energy. In the first movement of the
7th, the material is in constant evolution from the get go, and, while
material recurs, it always returns radically transformed within an
ongoing process.

In the outer movements of the 9th, Mahler is in a position to create
new kinds of Mahlerian forms that were viable substitutes for sonata
form and as ambitious as any of Beethoven's. In the first movement,
Mahler cleverly spends an eternity piecing together a long limbed
melody out of tiny fragments, gradually building up to a succession of
increasingly imposing climaxes—three in all—over a long span of time.

Schumann’s self-consciously classicizing symphonies are more
conservative than the radical piano music he wrote a decade earlier—
Carnaval, the Fantasy, the Davidsbündlertänze—and they suffer from
their self-conscious competition with Beethoven.

-david gable
Toby Winston
2008-10-14 04:13:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Well, there are many classical movements from many Composers that they
are very good because the tunes that appear in the exposition are very
beautiful (Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, First Movement, for example),
but also there are many classical movements that they are very good
because, although the tunes that appear in the exposition are not very
great, the development that the Composer creates of them is really
masterful (Mendelssohn's Overture to Midsummer Night Dream, for
example).
I don’t necessarily disagree, but you wouldn’t be drawing this
distinction if you were talking about Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
19th-century composers suddenly wanted to pour long limbed lyrical
melodies into their expositions.  Then they were stuck with them when
it came time to fragment and develop them: already for Schubert and
Mendelssohn, “sonata form” could be something of a procrustean bed,
and it created problems for even such giant musical intelligences as
Schubert’s.  Compare the famous long lyrical melody that is the
principal theme of the Unfinished to the first movement of any
symphony by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven:  Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven
never dreamed of working with such material.
Two of the movements that were hardest hit by this problem are both
found in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy.  The first movement opens
promisingly enough with a long sectional slow introduction before we
ever get to the exposition.  It opens with a wonderful slow fugato
that is followed by an equally wonderful lyrical melody for
accompanied solo viola:  so far, so good, and, so far, there’s nothing
that has anything to do with “exposing” and “developing” sonata-style
material.  Then comes the exposition, and even it is pretty good.  But
then we get to the development section, and the piece simply falls
apart.  Berlioz loved the manic energy and mercurial violence he’d
heard in, say, Beethoven’s 7th, and he tried desperately to do
something analogous with fragments of his lyrical melodies, but, for
all his Beethoven idolatry, his language was nothing like Beethoven’s,
and he simply couldn’t pull it off.  Berlioz imitated, not the
language, but the sound of Beethoven with his own style, and it didn’t
work terribly well within the procrustean sonata framework that he
also accepted.  As for the finale, I agree with Matthew Tepper that
it’s a more or less total disaster.
Berlioz, Bruckner, and Mahler did better as they discovered novel ways
to make the spinning out of long limbed melody “developmental” and
abandoned the slavish imitation of Beethoven.  Bruckner and Brahms
were wisely more apt to take Schubert as a model.  A lot of people
don’t like it because it’s so complex and "modern," but the first
movement of Mahler’s 7th, a movement in which he’s completely
transformed “sonata form,” creating a form sui generis, is a tighter
and far more successful form than the sprawling first movement of the
3rd.  The first movement of the 3rd grinds to a halt at certain of the
joints prescribed by the form, draining all of the built-up energy.
The form then resumes with zero energy.  In the first movement of the
7th, the material is in constant evolution from the get go, and, while
material recurs, it always returns radically transformed within an
ongoing process.
In the outer movements of the 9th, Mahler is in a position to create
new kinds of Mahlerian forms that were viable substitutes for sonata
form and as ambitious as any of Beethoven's.  In the first movement,
Mahler cleverly spends an eternity piecing together a long limbed
melody out of tiny fragments, gradually building up to a succession of
increasingly imposing climaxes—three in all—over a long span of time.
Schumann’s self-consciously classicizing symphonies are more
conservative than the radical piano music he wrote a decade earlier—
Carnaval, the Fantasy, the Davidsbündlertänze—and they suffer from
their self-conscious competition with Beethoven.
-david gable
What are your thoughts about such symphonists as Holmboe or Simpson,
who were very skilled at form, but who could not write four bars that
anyone could remember if their lives depended on it. My current
thought is that both should have written more books and less (or no)
music. Both seem to me like some academic ordeal with no payoff. I
could list lots of other composers that would fall in this category.
Geez I could go on for days mentioning so called composers who could
not write anything remotely memorable. In America we have Piston,
Schuman, and the yawn inducing like. I could go on of course.I rant,
but of well.
d***@aol.com
2008-10-14 16:02:10 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Toby Winston
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Well, there are many classical movements from many Composers that they
are very good because the tunes that appear in the exposition are very
beautiful (Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, First Movement, for example),
but also there are many classical movements that they are very good
because, although the tunes that appear in the exposition are not very
great, the development that the Composer creates of them is really
masterful (Mendelssohn's Overture to Midsummer Night Dream, for
example).
I don’t necessarily disagree, but you wouldn’t be drawing this
distinction if you were talking about Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
19th-century composers suddenly wanted to pour long limbed lyrical
melodies into their expositions.  Then they were stuck with them when
it came time to fragment and develop them: already for Schubert and
Mendelssohn, “sonata form” could be something of a procrustean bed,
and it created problems for even such giant musical intelligences as
Schubert’s.  Compare the famous long lyrical melody that is the
principal theme of the Unfinished to the first movement of any
symphony by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven:  Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven
never dreamed of working with such material.
Two of the movements that were hardest hit by this problem are both
found in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy.  The first movement opens
promisingly enough with a long sectional slow introduction before we
ever get to the exposition.  It opens with a wonderful slow fugato
that is followed by an equally wonderful lyrical melody for
accompanied solo viola:  so far, so good, and, so far, there’s nothing
that has anything to do with “exposing” and “developing” sonata-style
material.  Then comes the exposition, and even it is pretty good.  But
then we get to the development section, and the piece simply falls
apart.  Berlioz loved the manic energy and mercurial violence he’d
heard in, say, Beethoven’s 7th, and he tried desperately to do
something analogous with fragments of his lyrical melodies, but, for
all his Beethoven idolatry, his language was nothing like Beethoven’s,
and he simply couldn’t pull it off.  Berlioz imitated, not the
language, but the sound of Beethoven with his own style, and it didn’t
work terribly well within the procrustean sonata framework that he
also accepted.  As for the finale, I agree with Matthew Tepper that
it’s a more or less total disaster.
Berlioz, Bruckner, and Mahler did better as they discovered novel ways
to make the spinning out of long limbed melody “developmental” and
abandoned the slavish imitation of Beethoven.  Bruckner and Brahms
were wisely more apt to take Schubert as a model.  A lot of people
don’t like it because it’s so complex and "modern," but the first
movement of Mahler’s 7th, a movement in which he’s completely
transformed “sonata form,” creating a form sui generis, is a tighter
and far more successful form than the sprawling first movement of the
3rd.  The first movement of the 3rd grinds to a halt at certain of the
joints prescribed by the form, draining all of the built-up energy.
The form then resumes with zero energy.  In the first movement of the
7th, the material is in constant evolution from the get go, and, while
material recurs, it always returns radically transformed within an
ongoing process.
In the outer movements of the 9th, Mahler is in a position to create
new kinds of Mahlerian forms that were viable substitutes for sonata
form and as ambitious as any of Beethoven's.  In the first movement,
Mahler cleverly spends an eternity piecing together a long limbed
melody out of tiny fragments, gradually building up to a succession of
increasingly imposing climaxes—three in all—over a long span of time.
Schumann’s self-consciously classicizing symphonies are more
conservative than the radical piano music he wrote a decade earlier—
Carnaval, the Fantasy, the Davidsbündlertänze—and they suffer from
their self-conscious competition with Beethoven.
-david gable
What are your thoughts about such symphonists as Holmboe or Simpson,
who were very skilled at form, but who could not write four bars that
anyone could remember if their lives depended on it. My current
thought is that both should have written more books and less (or no)
music. Both seem to me like some academic ordeal with no payoff. I
could list lots of other composers that would fall in this category.
Geez I could go on for days mentioning so called composers who could
not write anything remotely memorable. In America we have Piston,
Schuman, and the yawn inducing like. I could go on of course.I rant,
but of well.- Hide quoted text -
I am more or less as underwhelmed as you are, although I probably have
a slightly higher opinion of Piston than you do. It's hard enough to
write a good tune, let alone a movement as ambitious as the first
movement of the Eroica: many have tried and almost as many have
failed.

The USA did have Charles Ives who basically mastered the symphony on
the model of Dvorak in his first three symphonies before attempting
something more original and idiosyncratically Ivesian in the 4th
Symphony, Holidays Symphony, Three Places in New England, and 2nd
Orchestral Set.

-david gable
Juan I. Cahis
2008-10-14 13:56:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Well, there are many classical movements from many Composers that they
are very good because the tunes that appear in the exposition are very
beautiful (Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4, First Movement, for example),
but also there are many classical movements that they are very good
because, although the tunes that appear in the exposition are not very
great, the development that the Composer creates of them is really
masterful (Mendelssohn's Overture to Midsummer Night Dream, for
example).
I don’t necessarily disagree, but you wouldn’t be drawing this
distinction if you were talking about Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.
19th-century composers suddenly wanted to pour long limbed lyrical
melodies into their expositions. Then they were stuck with them when
it came time to fragment and develop them: already for Schubert and
Mendelssohn, “sonata form” could be something of a procrustean bed,
and it created problems for even such giant musical intelligences as
Schubert’s. Compare the famous long lyrical melody that is the
principal theme of the Unfinished to the first movement of any
symphony by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven
never dreamed of working with such material.
Two of the movements that were hardest hit by this problem are both
found in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy. The first movement opens
promisingly enough with a long sectional slow introduction before we
ever get to the exposition. It opens with a wonderful slow fugato
that is followed by an equally wonderful lyrical melody for
accompanied solo viola: so far, so good, and, so far, there’s nothing
that has anything to do with “exposing” and “developing” sonata-style
material. Then comes the exposition, and even it is pretty good. But
then we get to the development section, and the piece simply falls
apart. Berlioz loved the manic energy and mercurial violence he’d
heard in, say, Beethoven’s 7th, and he tried desperately to do
something analogous with fragments of his lyrical melodies, but, for
all his Beethoven idolatry, his language was nothing like Beethoven’s,
and he simply couldn’t pull it off. Berlioz imitated, not the
language, but the sound of Beethoven with his own style, and it didn’t
work terribly well within the procrustean sonata framework that he
also accepted. As for the finale, I agree with Matthew Tepper that
it’s a more or less total disaster.
Berlioz, Bruckner, and Mahler did better as they discovered novel ways
to make the spinning out of long limbed melody “developmental” and
abandoned the slavish imitation of Beethoven. Bruckner and Brahms
were wisely more apt to take Schubert as a model. A lot of people
don’t like it because it’s so complex and "modern," but the first
movement of Mahler’s 7th, a movement in which he’s completely
transformed “sonata form,” creating a form sui generis, is a tighter
and far more successful form than the sprawling first movement of the
3rd. The first movement of the 3rd grinds to a halt at certain of the
joints prescribed by the form, draining all of the built-up energy.
The form then resumes with zero energy. In the first movement of the
7th, the material is in constant evolution from the get go, and, while
material recurs, it always returns radically transformed within an
ongoing process.
In the outer movements of the 9th, Mahler is in a position to create
new kinds of Mahlerian forms that were viable substitutes for sonata
form and as ambitious as any of Beethoven's. In the first movement,
Mahler cleverly spends an eternity piecing together a long limbed
melody out of tiny fragments, gradually building up to a succession of
increasingly imposing climaxes—three in all—over a long span of time.
Schumann’s self-consciously classicizing symphonies are more
conservative than the radical piano music he wrote a decade earlier—
Carnaval, the Fantasy, the Davidsbündlertänze—and they suffer from
their self-conscious competition with Beethoven.
-david gable
Dear David, thanks a lot for your great and illuminating analysis. My
point was to stress to our friend Curtis that you should not necessary
have marvelous tunes in the Exposition of a Sonata Form Movement in
order to have a superb Movement as a whole. Good examples are
Reinecke's Symphonies, their tunes are marvelous and very enjoyable,
but his Symphonies are not in the first rank.

In my opinion, the opposite happens in Bruckner's Ninth Finale. Maybe
the tunes in the Exposition Section are not the most "tuneful" he
wrote, but the structure of the Movement (in any of both the major
completions, SC(MP) or Carragan) makes it, in my opinion, one of the
most imposing and shocking movement he ever wrote or sketched.


Thanks
Juan I. Cahis
Santiago de Chile (South America)
Note: Please forgive me for my bad English, I am trying to improve it!
RX-01
2008-10-17 11:15:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Curtis Croulet
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
Best: Eighth.
Worst: 1889/1890 Third.  Particularly, the final version of the Adagio is a
hacked-up mess.  The sprawling 1873 version is much better.  But the
Bruckner symphony I least look forward to hearing is the standard 1878/80
Fourth.  I'm giving Bruckner a pass over the early F minor and "Nullte"
symphonies.
The 1874 Fourth is, IMHO, generally "better" and more interesting than the
conventional 1878/80 version.  1874 contains some gauche moments, but it
also contains glorious things that Bruckner inexplicably removed from the
final versions.
The Ninth and Fourth (the usual versions) were the only Bruckner symphonies
I knew for several years, starting around 1960.  After nearly 50 years of
listening to the Ninth, I'm still not quite sure that I grasp it.  Maybe the
unrelenting pessimsim of the three completed movements turns me off.  I
agree with Ramon: the finale in its post-hoc completions doesn't live up the
the first three movements, and I don't think Bruckner could have done much
better with basically inferior material.  But the symphony desparately needs
the huge, summing-up finale Bruckner envisioned.  Those who've read my posts
here and in private forums over the years know that my opinions of these
matters have wavered.  I've finally concluded that even the most skilled
hands will never overcome the inferior and mostly uninteresting material
Bruckner left us.
--
Curtis Croulet
Temecula, California
33°27'59"N, 117°05'53"W
Interesting. I find the reconstructed finale the best thing "Bruckner"
composed after the finale of the 8th.

RX-01
j***@aol.com
2008-10-12 18:03:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
No winner. I couldn't choose.
Post by A. Brain
I am not sure about the loser.
No loser.

Once you like one Bruckner symphony, they all start to fall into place
and you end up liking them all.
Post by A. Brain
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
The Matacic/Philharmonia Brucker 4 (plus overture)?

--Jeff
A. Brain
2008-10-14 07:44:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by j***@aol.com
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
No winner. I couldn't choose.
Post by A. Brain
I am not sure about the loser.
No loser.
Once you like one Bruckner symphony, they all start to fall into place
and you end up liking them all.
Post by A. Brain
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
The Matacic/Philharmonia Brucker 4 (plus overture)?
I had not recalled this, but one of my old Penguin Guides
specifically refers to Brain playing in that recording of the
Fourth. I asked my brother if he knew and he said he
thought it might be some recording by Barbirolli. I don't
recall any recordings of Bruckner by Barbirolli.

Which brings me to another trivia question: What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
--
A. Brain



Remove NOSPAM for email.
Dawg
2008-10-14 08:20:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Post by j***@aol.com
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
No winner. I couldn't choose.
Post by A. Brain
I am not sure about the loser.
No loser.
Once you like one Bruckner symphony, they all start to fall into place
and you end up liking them all.
Post by A. Brain
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
The Matacic/Philharmonia Brucker 4 (plus overture)?
I had not recalled this, but one of my old Penguin Guides
specifically refers to Brain playing in that recording of the
Fourth. I asked my brother if he knew and he said he
thought it might be some recording by Barbirolli. I don't
recall any recordings of Bruckner by Barbirolli.
Which brings me to another trivia question: What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler

Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many more
of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than Bruckner,
however.

Ray (Dawg) Hall, Taree
Gerard
2008-10-14 14:55:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dawg
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many
more of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than
Bruckner, however.
Karajan: Bruckner, small amount of Mahler.
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-14 17:00:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Gerard
Post by Dawg
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many
more of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than
Bruckner, however.
Karajan: Bruckner, small amount of Mahler.
Walter, Klemperer, Horenstein did both.

Lionel Tacchini
Andy
2008-10-14 20:38:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by Gerard
Post by Dawg
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many
more of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than
Bruckner, however.
Karajan: Bruckner, small amount of Mahler.
Walter, Klemperer, Horenstein did both.
Lionel Tacchini
Did anyone record both a Mahler and a Bruckner cycle? I can think of
Solti and Haitink.
Gerard
2008-10-14 20:45:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andy
Did anyone record both a Mahler and a Bruckner cycle? I can think of
Solti and Haitink.
Chailly.
Inbal.
Johannes Roehl
2008-10-14 20:58:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andy
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by Gerard
Post by Dawg
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many
more of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than
Bruckner, however.
Karajan: Bruckner, small amount of Mahler.
Walter, Klemperer, Horenstein did both.
Furtwängler: Bruckner, very little Mahler
Post by Andy
Did anyone record both a Mahler and a Bruckner cycle? I can think of
Solti and Haitink.
Gielen did all of Mahler and Bruckner 3-9, close enough for me...

Johannes
Dawg
2008-10-15 00:27:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Johannes Roehl
Post by Andy
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by Gerard
Post by Dawg
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many
more of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than
Bruckner, however.
Karajan: Bruckner, small amount of Mahler.
Walter, Klemperer, Horenstein did both.
Furtwängler: Bruckner, very little Mahler
Post by Andy
Did anyone record both a Mahler and a Bruckner cycle? I can think of
Solti and Haitink.
Gielen did all of Mahler and Bruckner 3-9, close enough for me...
Johannes
Barenboim is creeping up to a half Mahler cycle also. Has done 7 and 9
with different orchestras, and I think No.5, and certainly has performed
No.4 a fair bit. Boulez is another conductor who will be creeping up on
a half Bruckner cycle. Maybe with time, both conductors might get near
the completion of their respective cycles, and then they can be included
as both Mahler/Bruckner completists.

I would be interested to know, as well, how far Rosbaud got with each
composer, as he has recorded stellar stuff of both Mahler, and Bruckner.

Ray (Dawg) Hall, Taree
A. Brain
2008-10-14 22:56:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dawg
Post by A. Brain
Post by j***@aol.com
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
No winner. I couldn't choose.
Post by A. Brain
I am not sure about the loser.
No loser.
Once you like one Bruckner symphony, they all start to fall into place
and you end up liking them all.
Post by A. Brain
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
The Matacic/Philharmonia Brucker 4 (plus overture)?
I had not recalled this, but one of my old Penguin Guides
specifically refers to Brain playing in that recording of the
Fourth. I asked my brother if he knew and he said he
thought it might be some recording by Barbirolli. I don't
recall any recordings of Bruckner by Barbirolli.
Which brings me to another trivia question: What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Lenny = Mahler, very little Bruckner
Jochum = Bruckner, very little Mahler
Barbirolli = Mahler, hardly any Bruckner
Tintner = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Celi = Bruckner, small amount of Mahler
Regardless of the small sample above, I have the feeling that many
more of the considered 'greater' conductors did more Mahler than
Bruckner, however.
Ray got most of the ones I was thinking of,
but I would add Boehm, who recorded very
little Mahler. And I am shocked that one of the
few Mahler recordings he did, an indispensable
Rueckert and Kindertotenlieder with DFD,
coupled with the Kubelik "Traveling Salesman"
songs, has been neglected by DGG. (It was
long available only as an "import" here and
appears now to be only available on one of those
ArkivCDs.) The LP version of this and the CD
as well have been among my most treasured
recordings for decades.
--
A. Brain



Remove NOSPAM for email.
d***@aol.com
2008-10-14 15:48:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Which brings me to another trivia question: What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Boulez has been conducting Mahler for most of his life and has
conducted all nine Mahler symphonies: he led the world premiere of
the Waldmärchen from Das Klagende Lied. But he’s only taken up
Bruckner fairly recently, and, to my knowledge, he’s only conducted
the 8th and the 9th symphonies.

-david gable
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-14 17:01:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Which brings me to another trivia question:  What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Boulez has been conducting Mahler for most of his life and has
conducted all nine Mahler symphonies:  he led the world premiere of
the Waldmärchen from Das Klagende Lied.  But he’s only taken up
Bruckner fairly recently, and, to my knowledge, he’s only conducted
the 8th and the 9th symphonies.
The 5th and 7th too.
d***@aol.com
2008-10-14 18:22:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by d***@aol.com
Which brings me to another trivia question:  What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Boulez has been conducting Mahler for most of his life and has
conducted all nine Mahler symphonies:  he led the world premiere of
the Waldmärchen from Das Klagende Lied.  But he’s only taken up
Bruckner fairly recently, and, to my knowledge, he’s only conducted
the 8th and the 9th symphonies.
The 5th and 7th too.
Any recordings of a Boulez performance of the 7th floating around?

-david gable
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-14 18:55:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by d***@aol.com
Which brings me to another trivia question:  What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Boulez has been conducting Mahler for most of his life and has
conducted all nine Mahler symphonies:  he led the world premiere of
the Waldmärchen from Das Klagende Lied.  But he’s only taken up
Bruckner fairly recently, and, to my knowledge, he’s only conducted
the 8th and the 9th symphonies.
The 5th and 7th too.
Any recordings of a Boulez performance of the 7th floating around?
Both were recorded of course, I don't believe anything gets played by
any major orchestra without being preserved nowadays, but I cannot
answer about the floating.
The 5th was played by the Chicago SO on Oct 28th 2000, the 7th by the
VPO on June 5th 2005.
They should be good candidate for self produced CDs or download offers
from the orchestras. Surely the CSO would do better to publish this
than anything by Haitink which he recorded elsewhere several times
before.
They should also have a 9th from 1999 under Boulez.

Lionel Tacchini
Lionel Tacchini
2008-10-14 19:01:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by d***@aol.com
Post by Lionel Tacchini
Post by d***@aol.com
Which brings me to another trivia question:  What
conductors recorded Bruckner or Mahler, but little
or none of one or the other?
Boulez has been conducting Mahler for most of his life and has
conducted all nine Mahler symphonies:  he led the world premiere of
the Waldmärchen from Das Klagende Lied.  But he’s only taken up
Bruckner fairly recently, and, to my knowledge, he’s only conducted
the 8th and the 9th symphonies.
The 5th and 7th too.
Any recordings of a Boulez performance of the 7th floating around?
Both were recorded of course, I don't believe anything gets played by
any major orchestra without being preserved nowadays, but I cannot
answer about the floating.
The 5th was played by the Chicago SO on Oct 28th 2000, the 7th by the
VPO on June 5th 2005.
They should be good candidate for self produced CDs or download offers
from the orchestras. Surely the CSO would do better to publish this
than anything by Haitink which he recorded elsewhere several times
before.
They should also have a 9th from 1999 under Boulez.
The 5th and 7th have been issued by some Karna Musik label as well as
a recent 9th with the LAPO:

http://www.abruckner.com/recordings/default.htm,search=Boulez

I am surprised not to see the VPO 9th which I believe was made
available for download for some time by the VPO.

Lionel Tacchini
j***@aol.com
2008-10-14 17:18:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Post by j***@aol.com
Post by A. Brain
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
The Matacic/Philharmonia Brucker 4 (plus overture)?
I had not recalled this, but one of my old Penguin Guides
specifically refers to Brain playing in that recording of the
Fourth. I asked my brother if he knew and he said he
thought it might be some recording by Barbirolli. I don't
recall any recordings of Bruckner by Barbirolli.
Barbirolli performances of 3, 7, 8, and 9 have been released by the
BBC on CD. None of those were early enough to include Dennis Brain,
plus they were with the wrong orchestras.

I don't know of any other early Philharmonia recordings that would
possibly include Brain, and I don't know any other early British
recordings off the top of my head that might qualify.

--Jeff
RX-01
2008-10-17 11:13:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
For me the worst Bruckner symphony is the 7th. I love the 2 first
movements, and the Scherzo is great, but I just find the finale too
heavy and dull, consisting of lower quality music material than the
rest of the symphony.

My favourite is the 8th or the 9th (provided that the latter is played
with the reconstructed finale. Otherwise an unfinished symphony just
doen't do it for me).

RX-01
e***@gmail.com
2017-11-13 15:23:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4). The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor. But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability. With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.
I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts. A few
are fairly memorable.
An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music. He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.
One of the regulars at my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking) is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion. On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom. I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.
Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....
A couple of things I have mentioned before: The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE, the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.
My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth. Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades. He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German. Bruckner is hardly new to him. His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.
But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc. I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain
Remove NOSPAM for email.
Best or Worst? All of them...
dvorak
2017-11-13 20:15:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4). The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor. But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability. With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.
I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts. A few
are fairly memorable.
An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music. He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.
One of the regulars at my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking) is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion. On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom. I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.
Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....
A couple of things I have mentioned before: The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE, the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.
My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth. Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades. He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German. Bruckner is hardly new to him. His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.
But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc. I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain
Remove NOSPAM for email.
No. 8 is not only Bruckner's greatest Symphony, but my candidate for the greatest Symphony ever.
c***@gmail.com
2017-11-13 20:33:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4). The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor. But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability. With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.
I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts. A few
are fairly memorable.
An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music. He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.
One of the regulars at my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking) is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion. On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom. I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.
Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....
A couple of things I have mentioned before: The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE, the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.
My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth. Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades. He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German. Bruckner is hardly new to him. His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.
But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc. I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain
Remove NOSPAM for email.
No. 8 is not only Bruckner's greatest Symphony, but my candidate for the greatest Symphony ever.
An odd statement considering your screen name :-) Or does it refer to the keyboard rather than the composer?

AC
dvorak
2017-11-14 00:51:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by dvorak
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4). The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor. But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability. With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.
I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts. A few
are fairly memorable.
An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music. He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.
One of the regulars at my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking) is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion. On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom. I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.
Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....
A couple of things I have mentioned before: The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE, the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.
My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth. Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades. He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German. Bruckner is hardly new to him. His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.
But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc. I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain
Remove NOSPAM for email.
No. 8 is not only Bruckner's greatest Symphony, but my candidate for the greatest Symphony ever.
An odd statement considering your screen name :-) Or does it refer to the keyboard rather than the composer?
AC
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's 8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
dk
2017-11-14 07:52:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's
8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Which is precisely the reason many
suffocate before they listen to
the end!

From painful personal experience,
I lost a girlfriend to the 8th!

dk
dvorak
2017-11-14 13:51:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's
8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Which is precisely the reason many
suffocate before they listen to
the end!
From painful personal experience,
I lost a girlfriend to the 8th!
dk
Then if you want to get her back play Bruckner's 5th Symphony...;)
dk
2017-11-14 21:07:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's
8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Which is precisely the reason many
suffocate before they listen to
the end!
From painful personal experience,
I lost a girlfriend to the 8th!
Then if you want to get her back
play Bruckner's 5th Symphony...;)
That would not work. That concert was
part of a concert series that spanned
the 4th through the 9th. She actually
sat through the first five, and gave
up after listening to the 8th. Then
we broke up.

That was almost 50 years ago....

dk
O
2017-11-15 03:09:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's
8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Which is precisely the reason many
suffocate before they listen to
the end!
From painful personal experience,
I lost a girlfriend to the 8th!
Then if you want to get her back
play Bruckner's 5th Symphony...;)
That would not work. That concert was
part of a concert series that spanned
the 4th through the 9th. She actually
sat through the first five, and gave
up after listening to the 8th. Then
we broke up.
That was almost 50 years ago....
Did you try starting at the end of the 8th, and playing them all
backward until she returned?

-Owen

P.S. this might have the side effect of also making you both 50 years
younger.

-O
Al Eisner
2017-11-16 21:07:14 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by O
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's
8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Which is precisely the reason many
suffocate before they listen to
the end!
From painful personal experience,
I lost a girlfriend to the 8th!
Then if you want to get her back
play Bruckner's 5th Symphony...;)
That would not work. That concert was
part of a concert series that spanned
the 4th through the 9th. She actually
sat through the first five, and gave
up after listening to the 8th. Then
we broke up.
That was almost 50 years ago....
Did you try starting at the end of the 8th, and playing them all
backward until she returned?
-Owen
P.S. this might have the side effect of also making you both 50 years
younger.
-O
But the Devil is in the details. (And I mean that literally.)

Al
dk
2017-11-17 01:14:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by O
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Post by dk
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's
8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Which is precisely the reason many
suffocate before they listen to
the end!
From painful personal experience,
I lost a girlfriend to the 8th!
Then if you want to get her back
play Bruckner's 5th Symphony...;)
That would not work. That concert was
part of a concert series that spanned
the 4th through the 9th. She actually
sat through the first five, and gave
up after listening to the 8th. Then
we broke up.
That was almost 50 years ago....
Did you try starting at the end of the 8th, and
playing them all backward until she returned?
Why bother? She failed the test.... ;-)
Post by O
P.S. this might have the side effect of
also making you both 50 years younger.
There are more effective methods than
listening to Bruckner! ;-)

dk
Raymond Hall
2017-11-17 06:26:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
If you take away the great Adagio of the 8th, there ain't much left.

Ray Hall, Taree
dk
2017-11-17 06:43:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
If you take away the great Adagio
of the 8th, there ain't much left.
Or perhaps there is too much left! ;-)

dk
Bozo
2017-11-15 18:35:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's 8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
Here is video of BBCSSO,Runnicles, playing Bruckner 8 at 2012 Proms :



While not ranking as " Mount Everest" , I much prefer Dvorak's 7th.
dvorak
2017-11-16 19:25:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bozo
Post by dvorak
Even though I love Dvorak, I still think Bruckner's 8th is the Mount Everest of Symphonies.
http://youtu.be/8Wbf5SVOXI0
While not ranking as " Mount Everest" , I much prefer Dvorak's 7th.
Dvorak's 7th Symphony is the most Brahmsian of the great Czech's super 9 Symphonies. Great choice as an alternative to Bruckner's 8th!
Bozo
2017-11-16 20:56:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Dvorak's 7th Symphony is the most Brahmsian of the great Czech's super 9 Symphonies. Great choice as > an alternative to Bruckner's 8th!
As you know, Dvorak composed both his great “American” Quartet, Op.96, and his Op.97 Piano Quintet , in Iowa, my home State. I was in Spillville once about 55 years ago ; you should visit :

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/09/arts/dvorak-s-spirit-returns-to-the-iowa-he-loved.html

http://www.startribune.com/spillville-iowa-a-charmer-off-the-beaten-track/186686911/

http://www.spillville.org

In addition to Dvorak's Symphonies 7 and 9, I am also a big fan of his Symphonies 4,5,6. Not 8.

Only Bruckners I listen to are 7 and 9, although admittedly it has been years since last heard any of Bruckner 1 thru 6.Maybe should listen again (?).
Ed Presson
2017-11-16 21:33:01 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
Dvorak's 7th Symphony is the most Brahmsian of the great Czech's super 9
Symphonies. Great choice as > an alternative to Bruckner's 8th!
snip<
Only Bruckners I listen to are 7 and 9, although admittedly it has been
years since last heard any of Bruckner 1 thru 6.Maybe should listen again
(?).

The Fourth might be worth a revisit. I still like it.

Ed Presson
dvorak
2017-11-16 21:49:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bozo
Post by dvorak
Dvorak's 7th Symphony is the most Brahmsian of the great Czech's super 9
Symphonies. Great choice as > an alternative to Bruckner's 8th!
snip<
Only Bruckners I listen to are 7 and 9, although admittedly it has been
years since last heard any of Bruckner 1 thru 6.Maybe should listen again
(?).
The Fourth might be worth a revisit. I still like it.
Ed Presson
Bruckner #4 and #7 are ideal ways to get into Bruckner. I introduced my daughter many years ago to the Bruckner 'Romantic' 4th and she has loved the work ever since.
dk
2017-11-17 01:15:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
Post by Bozo
Post by dvorak
Dvorak's 7th Symphony is the most Brahmsian of the great Czech's super 9
Symphonies. Great choice as > an alternative to Bruckner's 8th!
snip<
Only Bruckners I listen to are 7 and 9, although admittedly it has been
years since last heard any of Bruckner 1 thru 6.Maybe should listen again
(?).
The Fourth might be worth a revisit. I still like it.
Bruckner #4 and #7 are ideal ways to get into Bruckner. I
introduced my daughter many years ago to the Bruckner
'Romantic' 4th and she has loved the work ever since.
The 4th was the first Bruckner symphony I heard. I was 4.

dk
Bob Harper
2017-11-16 22:07:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bozo
Dvorak's 7th Symphony is the most Brahmsian of the great Czech's super 9 Symphonies. Great choice as > an alternative to Bruckner's 8th!
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/09/arts/dvorak-s-spirit-returns-to-the-iowa-he-loved.html
http://www.startribune.com/spillville-iowa-a-charmer-off-the-beaten-track/186686911/
http://www.spillville.org
In addition to Dvorak's Symphonies 7 and 9, I am also a big fan of his Symphonies 4,5,6. Not 8.
Only Bruckners I listen to are 7 and 9, although admittedly it has been years since last heard any of Bruckner 1 thru 6.Maybe should listen again (?).
For me it's Dvorak 6-9, with the occasional 5. Hard to make a choice
among the last 4; all masterpieces.

Yes, you should listen to Bruckner again, though I warn you there's no
piano part :) If pressed, I suppose I'd say 5, 8, and 9 (unfinished! I
haven't heard any completion that is remotely worthy of the first three
movements) in no particular order.

Bob Harper
MickeyBoy
2017-11-14 20:25:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by dvorak
No. 8 is not only Bruckner's greatest Symphony, but my candidate for the greatest Symphony ever.
H. C. Robbins Landon agrees with us.
Mr. Mike
2017-11-18 02:54:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Tue, 14 Nov 2017 12:25:25 -0800 (PST), MickeyBoy
Post by MickeyBoy
H. C. Robbins Landon agrees with us.
(originally posted by me here 2/16/08)

he Baffling Case of Anton Bruckner
by H. Robbins Landon
From High Fidelity (mid 1960s)

A couple of years ago, Vienna's famous concert organization, the
Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, sent out to its subscribers a
questionnaire asking them what kind of music they wanted to hear,
which composers, which works. Of the 4,000 persons queried, only 1,086
replied; on the whole, however, their preferences may be taken as
representative of those of the average conservative concertgoer in
Vienna. The answers were tabulated in two ways: first, by composer;
then by specific works. As anyone familiar with postwar Vienna might
surmise, Anton Bruckner came out on top, by a comfortable margin:
Bruckner, 337; Mozart, 277; Franz Schmidt, 270; Beethoven, 257; Haydn,
244; Richard Strauss, 244-and so on down to Schoenberg (77), Webern
(71), and Prokofiev (66). As for particular works, Bruckner's Eighth
Symphony won at 377 (Mozart's Jupiter got only 100 votes).

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon of Bruckner in Austria, it
should be explained that his popularity there has been rising steadily
ever since the First World War, and most sharply since the sensational
revelations of the early Thirties, when it was shown that the
published scores of Bruckner's famous symphonies had been "improved"
by well-meaning disciples. It is not always clear why Bruckner allowed
his original versions to be altered by conductors; but in at least one
case, the unfinished and towering Ninth Symphony, the retouchings by
Franz Schalk and Ferdinand Lowe were flagrant . falsifications of the
master's intentions; and there was no question that the
Originalfassung-first played in l932-of the Ninth was more powerful in
addition to being more authentic. As score after score appeared in the
"original version," not only was the musicological sensation among
scholars heightened but audiences in Austria and Germany had a chance
to reconsider Bruckner. Both the professional critics and the general
public came to wholehearted agreement that the original versions,
though longer, were more convincing than the "edited" scores. Bruno
Walter, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Hans Weisbach, Sigmund von Hausegger
switched from the "old" to the "new" and authentic versions. (Of
celebrated present-day conductors, only Knappertsbusch stubbornly
refuses to use the corrected scores.)

Gradually, to many Austrian and German music lovers, Bruckner came to
mean all things. As World War II progressed, it was to Bruckner that
they turned in times of bombing, darkness, and death. When Hitler's
death was announced over Hamburg Radio in those final cataclysmic days
of April 1945, it was the Adagio of the Seventh Symphony that
followed, illustrating (one presumes) the utter depth and despair into
which the German nation had been plunged. Even more than Wagner,
Bruckner came to mean the essence of German spiritual life: all that
was Dichter and Denker, all that was mystic and philosophic, seemed to
be summed up in the solemn grandeur of Bruckner's adagios. It was,
people felt, the ultimate expression of the Faustian nature in music.
The shattering emotional experience of the Eighth under Furtwangler,
played by the Vienna Philharmonic in the scarcely heated
Musikvereinsaal . during the somber winter of 1944, seemed to make all
the suffering worthwhile. An officer on leave in late 1944 wrote in
his diary, "The [Bruckner] Ninth with Hans Weisbach: now I know what
we are fighting for; to return to the Front will be easier."

The reverence for Bruckner in Vienna has, indeed, something
extramusical and feverish about it. The newest trend is to hiss
applause after performances of the Eighth and Ninth Symphonies, on the
principle that "profound silence" is the only appropriate tribute to
these two huge and emotionally racking works. The Viennese also
considered it entirely appropriate that St. Stephen's Cathedral
should, a couple of Vienna Festivals ago, have allowed the Vienna
Philharmonic Orchestra to give a concert there consisting of the
Bruckner Ninth Symphony , and his Te Deum. "Thank God," said one
Viennese to me, "they couldn't applaud in the Stefansdom. Besides,
it's almost a Mass, that symphony, isn't it?"

In the fifteen years during which I have lived in Vienna, I have
often-as a matter of statistical curiosity-asked people at a
Philharmonic Orchestra concert if they thought that Bruckner was a
greater composer than Beethoven. Most of them have replied: "Perhaps
not, but he says more to me." Those who have not attended a Bruckner
concert in Vienna can hardly imagine the concentration, the
dedication, with which audiences listen to the Masses and symphonies.
I have never felt a more charged atmosphere in any concert hall than I
did in the Musikverein after Furtwangler's performance with the
Philharmonic, shortly before his death, of the Bruckner Eighth. And
not only the audience is so emotionally involved; the players
themselves seem to take on a kind of rapt, otherworldly inwardness
when playing Bruckner. Everything combines to produce an atmosphere
closely akin to mass hysteria by the time the work is finished. The
very loudness of the last pages of the Eighth, in which it is
tradition to have a whole set of extra brass come in (making sixteen
horns, six trumpets, six trombones, and two bass tubas), is in itself
shocking. And thus the return to reality after the final unison notes
crash down is so difficult that applause really does seem out of place
(as, indeed, it often does after the performance of any great piece of
music).

But this is only one side of the picture. The composer is nowhere near
so universally admired as the existence of the Bruckner cult in
Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland would suggest. In other
countries and other cultures, Bruckner is often regarded with a
loathing fully as strong, and perhaps as unreasonable, as the
adoration in which he is held in Austria. I have seldom met someone to
whom Bruckner was simply "egal," and the violence of reaction which
his music calls forth constitutes what must be called the Bruckner
Problem.

Bruckner's music produces, and I think will continue to produce,
intense emotions, because it was born in a man whose simple,
peasant-like exterior concealed a swirling flood of passionate
feelings. When the Third Symphony was first performed in Vienna, the
audience was so shocked that it first laughed and then angrily walked
out of the hall, leaving the composer alone with the orchestra and a
few faithful followers. In the United States, people do not generally
walk out in the middle of . concerts; but I remember distinctly the
fury of some Bostonians who were treated to their first taste of
Bruckner's Eighth with Koussevitzky shortly after the last war. I was
invited to lunch at a house on Beacon Street the next day, and as the
discussion about the Eighth grew more and more heated, one man,
literally shaking with rage, put down his fork and left the table,
choking out as he stormed from the dining room: "It's the most
frightful, wicked music I ever heard."

I was exposed to a similarly violent reaction when I paid my first
visit to Denmark. We were sitting around the piano-one of Copenhagen's
leading conductors, a well-known Danish musicologist, several other
musicians, and myself-when the conversation fell on Bruckner. It was
then I realized that much of the Bruckner Problem in
non-German-speaking countries is political rather than musical.

"Karajan came up during the war and conducted Bruckner, I think it was
the Seventh Symphony," said the Danish conductor. "I'm sure he did it
well, but for us it represented everything about Germany we hate, the
marching boots, the concentration camps...." "Surely that's an
exaggeration," I said.

"You can't mix music and politics that way." And on the argument went,
till I sat down at the piano and began to play the beginning of the
Ninth Symphony. The company listened attentively, but after a few
minutes my host came over. "Please don't play it," he said, pushing a
glass of cognac into my hand; "it really makes me ill."

Several years later I was in Prague, talking to members of the Czech
Philharmonic Orchestra. We were discussing the group's repertoire, and
I asked if they did any Bruckner. "During the war and before, the
German Philharmonic Orchestra here [now the Bamberg Symphony] played a
lot of Bruckner; but it was for the German population. We Czechs can't
stand Bruckner; it reminds us of the Occupation." And the subject was
very abruptly changed.

Actually, this confusion of art and politics in connection with
Bruckner is partly the result of the Austro-German attitude which, as
I have tried to convey, borders on worship. If Bruckner's music
represents (as I think it must, at least subconsciously) the essence
of German spiritual life to the Austro-Germans, such peoples as the
Danes and Czechs probably react against it more for what it represents
than for what it is. Dragging politics into the Bruckner Problem has
only served to make it worse.

It does not help matters to include Bruckner with the parochial,
highly nationalistic composers who sprouted forth at the end of the
nineteenth century, such as Delius, Sibelius, Smetana, Elgar, and
Nielsen -composers whose present popularity exists almost exclusively
(and even Sibelius is hardly an exception any more) in the cultural
milieu to which they belonged. In other words, the English do not
dislike Bruckner for the same reason that the Austrians dislike or,
more truthfully, are bored by Elgar. The problem of Bruckner is surely
one that is, or should be regarded as, purely musical. Austrians
sometimes try to persuade doubting foreigners that in order to savor
Bruckner you must have seen St. Florian, the great Benedictine Abbey
in Upper Austria where Bruckner was organist; you must have soaked up
the atmosphere of Upper Austria, the lilting countryside, and so
forth. This is surely rubbish, just as it is foolish to say that to
like Delius you must lie on the grass by the Thames on a summer
evening. Of course it is obvious that the Landler, from Mozart and
Haydn down to Mahler, has had a strong effect on Austrian music; but
you can like a Landler or a waltz without ever having set foot on
Austrian soil. And to confuse the Bruckner Problem with local
"Kolorit" is certainly as bad as to bring politics or Weltanschauung
into the affair.

The first thing that labels a Bruckner Symphony as out of the ordinary
is its huge length compared to that of previous symphonic works. The
Eighth Symphony, for example, is almost three times as long as
Beethoven's Fifth. This, in itself superficial, observation means that
the listener must concentrate for some eighty minutes; it puts the
playing of a Bruckner symphony on a special level, otherwise occupied
(as far as length goes) only by Mahler. The large size of the
orchestra-not to speak of the technical difficulties demanded of the
brass section- also places the music out of the range of all but major
symphonic organizations. Thus, on the simplest level, the execution of
a Bruckner work involves problems unrelated to those of the standard
repertoire. It takes but one thought for an orchestral management to
schedule a Bach suite, a Schubert symphony, a Mozart concerto: it
takes at least two, even in Austria, to include Bruckner's Seventh,
Eighth, or Ninth on a program.

The moment one stops thinking about the Bruckner Problem and starts
listening to the music with an objective ear, however, it is not
difficult to see at once why the Austrians identify themselves, or
rather their cultural heritage, with this music: for Bruckner is a
vast summing up, a final passionate outpouring of a long and hallowed
tradition, the end beyond which it is not-and, as history has shown
us, has not been-possible to proceed. Mahler was by no means such a
repository of tradition as was Bruckner; Mahler leads forward, even to
Shostakovich. Bruckner leads nowhere (unless you are prepared to call
Franz Schmidt somewhere, which most non-Austrians are not): he is the
end of the long road.

In the Bruckner orchestral works, there are powerful echoes of the
great symphonic tradition: of Austrian baroque, with gigantic fugues,
proud trumpets, and rattling kettledrums; of Haydn's late Masses,
which were miraculous fusions of the late Viennese classical style and
the older contrapuntal forms; of the doom-ridden tremolos in the first
movement of Beethoven's Ninth-an atmosphere to which Bruckner,
trancelike, returns again and again. There are also traces of
Schubert's lyricism, and many of Bruckner's second subjects bear the
stamp of music's greatest song writer. In the scherzos, we have a
continuation of the famous Austrian dance tradition, one that
flourished in the Deutsche Tanze and Minuets which Haydn, Mozart, and
Beethoven wrote (and were not ashamed of writing) for court balls and
also for less formal occasions; this tradition turned into the early
waltz (Josef Lanner) and, of course, the Strauss dynasty. In the
orchestration of Bruckner's symphonies, there is always a strong
undercurrent of a mighty organ; and this is no accident, for Bruckner
began his career as an organist, and toured Europe-as far as London
-in that capacity. Finally, his orchestration and his harmonic
language owe a strong debt to Wagner, the composer who might be said
to have colored Bruckner's music more than anyone else. In short, when
a musically well-educated Austrian listens to Bruckner he hears, at
least in his subconscious, the mighty procession of his musical
culture.

After what I have written above, it sounds, on paper, as if Bruckner
were music's greatest eclectic; but if you knew no Beethoven and were
to read a scholarly German thesis on Beethoven's musical inheritance,
you might imagine that composer to have been a combination of Haydn
and Mozart but with more ff's. Bruckner's language, though we can
easily trace its sources, is highly original; once you know it, you
could turn on the radio and spot Bruckner at once even if the piece
were one you had never heard. For like all great synthesizers-Mozart
is perhaps the most celebrated example-Bruckner knew instinctively
which elements of his heritage to accept and which to reject.

The enormous forms in which his music is cast are necessary because
the material he presents is highly complex; it is also complicated,
which is not the same thing. Thus, in the Finale of the Eighth
Symphony, the coda unfolds itself like the reading of the Archangel at
Doomsday; and at the very end, preceded by jagged timpani fanfares,
every principal theme in the symphony comes in at once in a final and
apocalyptic flash of grandeur. But to arrive at this point, to make
this last affirmation of e pluribus unum, Bruckner had to construct a
long and involved movement, to build up, stone by stone, the mighty
edifice capable of receiving, at the end, such an overwhelming
superstructure. One of the things that bewilders many people about
Bruckner is this very size; we must always remember that he worked in
the largest possible forms; (There is, significantly, no important
short piece at all by Bruckner.) His mind worked precisely opposite
from that of a Persian miniaturist, in whose art our eye is caressed
by delightful details; in Bruckner, everything-even the smallest
detail-is constructed with an eye to the whole and is thus relatively
unimportant in itself.

In this sense, not only the Austrians but the rest of us too are
getting a Faustian summing-up in such a work as the Bruckner Eighth or
Ninth Symphony. Why, then, has this music- coming from a school whose
other members have written works cherished the world over-not gone the
way of earlier Austrian composers? Why has not Bruckner become a main
staple of our musical fare in the way that have Haydn, Mozart,
Beethoven, Schubert, or Johann Strauss?

A number of answers to this difficult question have been suggested,
but none appears to be wholly satisfactory. It is, for example,
possible to link Bruckner's fate with the fate of romantic music in
general: for with the upsurge of romanticism, the course of music
began to take that fateful direction towards nationalism which ended
in the pre-Schoenbergian chaos of a host of minor composers, all
working within their own countries and penetrating the international
concert world only with difficulty, or not at all. By conjuring up the
temptation of subjectivity, composers had to pay the devil's price:
isolation and misunderstanding. And if Schubert's path was
difficult-we must remember that he wrote his Ninth Symphony more or
less for the desk drawer-how much more tortuous was that of Bruckner,
who was, moreover, burdened by a total lack of worldly sophistication,
a hard, peasant's accent (his crude, primitive German was a sort of
society joke in Vienna), and a generally uncouth appearance. Still,
this naive exterior obviously had nothing to do with the visionary
grandeur of his music, and the argument connecting Bruckner and
romanticism can be effectively countered by citing other romantic
figures such as Mendelssohn or Tchaikovsky, whose music has not
experienced any difficulty in crossing the borders of the countries in
which it originated.

Still another argument, which one heard more frequently twenty or
thirty years ago than one does today, is the old anti-Wagnerian cry.
For many years it was the fashion to decry Wagner and, automatically,
Bruckner, whose music, as we know, owes much to Wagnerian methods. Yet
today Wagner is accepted as one of music's greatest geniuses,
certainly not to be classified as a problem any more. This argument,
too, does not bring us nearer the core of the matter. "I am tempted to
believe," writes a valued colleague, "that there is no explanation for
the feast-or-famine attitude towards Bruckner-except that we are
perhaps in the presence of a cultural lag that seems to be more
laggardly in some milieus than in others."

Granted this is true, someone reading this article a hundred years
from now will probably experience the same curious sensations with
which we read of mighty and earth-shaking aesthetic battles that took
place generations ago: battles with which we can hardly identify
ourselves emotionally, so long ago in space and time did they occur.
Personally, I do not doubt for a minute that Bruckner is the greatest
symphonist since Beethoven. Bruckner, I am convinced, is here to stay,
and it is up to us to face his music squarely. Like the tourist in the
Uffizi gallery in Florence who was told by the guard, "It is not the
pictures that are on trial, it is you," one might paraphrase, "It is
not Bruckner's music that is on trial...." Perhaps the answer to the
Bruckner Problem is as simple as that.
g***@gmail.com
2018-11-29 21:14:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by A. Brain
Just wondering after hearing the report on a concert explained
below.
For me, the easy winner is 7.
I am not sure about the loser.
For 7, I like Walter on Sony and Karajan on EMI, the
Karajan having been my "imprint" on what I recall as
a three LP set issued in the early '70s (coupled with
4). The Fourth is in the running for worst--or do I
just need to hear the Boehm that gets such rave reviews?
(I find it hard to believe that he could be enlightening
with this or any similar work, thinking as I do that the
best "Brucknerites" are also the best "Mahlerians".)
I can't recall which of the many guidebooks I have read
describe Bruckner's symphonies as needing major help
from the conductor. But I think the "problem" is coherence,
or what might be called "flow", what one experiences in
others' music as a sense of inevitability. With Bruckner,
there are or seem to be adjacent incongruous "paragraphs"
and longueurs that really should be cut in some of the works.
Bruckner might consider himself in good company here,
since he admired Wagner so much.
I have met lots of Bruckner enthusiasts. A few
are fairly memorable.
An older man gave me his extra
ticket to a recital here in Houston and we chatted about
music. He was retired from some oil company and
practically salivated while talking of how he missed hearing
Eschenbach conduct Bruckner.
One of the regulars at my favorite hang-out in Chicago
(except he doesn't go there anymore since the city
banned smoking) is instantly recognizable
as a curmudgeonly sort, chain-smoking and holding court
at a table spilling over with other poorly dressed middle-aged
men who are always vigorously arguing about something.
I wandered in one night after the opera and decided to
intrude on the group, hoping to enter perhaps a political
discussion. On finding out that I had just come from the
opera, he came around to Bruckner soon enough and knew
all the recordings and conventional wisdom. I bummed
a cigarette, some European brand, and soon enough was
dizzy on top of tipsy and therefore had an excuse to
get up and stagger back to my hotel a block away.
Twenty years ago I got a call from a lawyer from
Louisiana, a very strange guy from the "New Old
Money" crowd and who would fit right in
to a Capote short story or Tennessee Williams play.
The Houston Symphony was playing the Bruckner
8 and could I get a ticket for him, etc., and pick him
up at the airport since he doesn't drive....
A couple of things I have mentioned before: The Walter
Matthau character in the movie "Kotch" should be listening
to Bruckner, not Tchaikovsky, and in Albee's A DELICATE
BALANCE, the lonely middle-aged men who are neighbors
in some sterile suburb get together to listen to Bruckner.
My brother Dennis and his girlfriend attended the Chicago
Symphony Saturday night where the featured work was the
Bruckner Fifth. Dennis, like me, has been listening to classical
music for over three decades. He was a Mahler nut at age
16, started playing the cello in his late teens, and is a professor
of German. Bruckner is hardly new to him. His gf has a degree
in piano, and we're all trying to encourage his and her kids to
play instruments.
But they couldn't stand the Fifth, finding it repetitious,
pompous, boring, etc. I have had that reaction to some
other Bruckner symphonies, but not this one, having recently
listened with pleasure to the Jochum on DGG.
Trivia: Did the other Dennis Brain play in any recordings
of Bruckner symphonies?
--
A. Brain
Remove NOSPAM for email.
(Recent Youtube upload):

Bruckner - Symphony No.5 (recording of the Century : Eugen Jochum/Concertgebouw)
music lover
2018-11-30 06:08:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
I’m mostly familiar with Jochum’s valedictory concert with the Concertgebouw. The perfect hall for Bruckner and seems to me a great performance. Is it apocryphal that the encore was a repeat of the last movement?
Gerard
2018-11-30 11:35:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by music lover
I’m mostly familiar with Jochum’s valedictory concert with the Concertgebouw. The perfect hall for Bruckner and seems to me a great performance. Is it apocryphal that the encore was a repeat of the last movement?
Are there many recordings of Bruckner 5 by Jochum and the Concertgebouw Orchestra?
The one I have (Philips) is not recorded in the Concertgebouw, but in the Benedictine Abbey of Ottobueren.
Juan I. Cahis
2018-11-30 12:34:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Gerard
Post by music lover
I’m mostly familiar with Jochum’s valedictory concert with the
Concertgebouw. The perfect hall for Bruckner and seems to me a great
performance. Is it apocryphal that the encore was a repeat of the last movement?
Are there many recordings of Bruckner 5 by Jochum and the Concertgebouw Orchestra?
The one I have (Philips) is not recorded in the Concertgebouw, but in the
Benedictine Abbey of Ottobueren.
Yes, the live one I have is on Tahra on two CDs. Superb performance in
superb sound.
--
Enviado desde mi iPad usando NewsTap, Juan I. Cahis, Santiago de Chile.
Ricardo Jimenez
2018-11-30 14:47:30 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Fri, 30 Nov 2018 09:34:07 -0300, Juan I. Cahis
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Post by Gerard
I’m mostly familiar with Jochum’s valedictory concert with the
Concertgebouw. The perfect hall for Bruckner and seems to me a great
performance. Is it apocryphal that the encore was a repeat of the last movement?
Are there many recordings of Bruckner 5 by Jochum and the Concertgebouw Orchestra?
The one I have (Philips) is not recorded in the Concertgebouw, but in the
Benedictine Abbey of Ottobueren.
Yes, the live one I have is on Tahra on two CDs. Superb performance in
superb sound.
The one on Spotify is a 2001 reisue of a disc from 1964 by Universal
International Music B.V. and is in 96kHz 24-BIT sound. It says Live
in Ottobeuren/1964. Besides that Concertgebouw performance, Spotify
also has Jochum doing that work with the Berliner Philharmoniker,
Hamburg State Philharmonic (from 1938!) and the Staatskapelle Dresden
orchestras. I also added to my playlist a new recording: an
arrangement for large orchestra by Gerd Schaller of the String Quintet
in F, conducted by the arranger.
Juan I. Cahis
2018-11-30 19:19:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Juan I. Cahis
Post by Gerard
Post by music lover
I’m mostly familiar with Jochum’s valedictory concert with the
Concertgebouw. The perfect hall for Bruckner and seems to me a great
performance. Is it apocryphal that the encore was a repeat of the last movement?
Are there many recordings of Bruckner 5 by Jochum and the Concertgebouw Orchestra?
The one I have (Philips) is not recorded in the Concertgebouw, but in the
Benedictine Abbey of Ottobueren.
Yes, the live one I have is on Tahra on two CDs. Superb performance in
superb sound.
The Tahra set is of a 1986 Concert, the Phillips set is of a 1964 Concert,
both with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Concert of 1986 was the last
Concert Jochum gave, and he played the Symphony in 82 minutes, six more
than in the 1964 Concert.

I prefer the 1986 performance than the previous one.
--
Enviado desde mi iPad usando NewsTap, Juan I. Cahis, Santiago de Chile.
ways
2018-11-30 14:25:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
YES
j***@gmail.com
2018-11-30 15:18:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Surely #5 has to be the worst ?

I love 4, 7, 8 and 9 to bits
Quite like 6 and admire 1 to 3

But #5, to me, is embarrassing!

Jonathan Dunsby
Herman
2018-11-30 18:11:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by j***@gmail.com
Surely #5 has to be the worst ?
I love 4, 7, 8 and 9 to bits
Quite like 6 and admire 1 to 3
But #5, to me, is embarrassing!
Jonathan Dunsby
Not in that Jochum version on Tahra.
Bob Harper
2018-11-30 21:39:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by j***@gmail.com
Surely #5 has to be the worst ?
I love 4, 7, 8 and 9 to bits
Quite like 6 and admire 1 to 3
But #5, to me, is embarrassing!
Jonathan Dunsby
'Embarrassing'?? Why? For me, it's right there with 8 and 9 as candidate
for the greatest of them.

Bob Harpe
r***@gmail.com
2018-11-30 22:25:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
For the later symphonies, it is 4, 5, and 9 for me as the best liked. Number 6 and 8 have good parts but in general I don't find myself getting too enthused.

Ray Hall, Taree
Herman
2018-12-01 09:14:46 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
For the later symphonies, it is 4, 5, and 9 for me as the best liked. Number 6 and 8 have good parts but in general I don't find myself getting too enthused.
Ray Hall, Taree
Nr 6 has always been my favorite.
m***@gmail.com
2018-12-02 23:39:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by j***@gmail.com
Surely #5 has to be the worst ?
I love 4, 7, 8 and 9 to bits
Quite like 6 and admire 1 to 3
But #5, to me, is embarrassing!
Jonathan Dunsby
Wow, I'd pick 5 as nearly my favorite these days. And while I like that live Jochum release, I prefer a much more direct approach to the finale of the 4th movement. Either of Eichhorn's recordings, Sawallisch on Orfeo, The Asahina/Osaka on Canyon. Welser-Most is pretty great, too, if a second choice (just good luck- I don't think much of him overall).
dk
2018-12-04 02:44:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Surely #5 has to be the worst ?
I love 4, 7, 8 and 9 to bits
Quite like 6 and admire 1 to 3
But #5, to me, is embarrassing!
Jonathan Dunsby
Wow, I'd pick 5 as nearly my favorite these days. And while I like that live Jochum release, I prefer a much more direct approach to the finale of the 4th movement. Either of Eichhorn's recordings, Sawallisch on Orfeo, The Asahina/Osaka on Canyon. Welser-Most is pretty great, too, if a second choice (just good luck- I don't think much of him overall).
Celi.

dk
dk
2018-12-04 02:56:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by j***@gmail.com
Surely #5 has to be the worst ?
I love 4, 7, 8 and 9 to bits
Quite like 6 and admire 1 to 3
But #5, to me, is embarrassing!
Jonathan Dunsby
Wow, I'd pick 5 as nearly my favorite these days. And while I like that live Jochum release, I prefer a much more direct approach to the finale of the 4th movement. Either of Eichhorn's recordings, Sawallisch on Orfeo, The Asahina/Osaka on Canyon. Welser-Most is pretty great, too, if a second choice (just good luck- I don't think much of him overall).
Celi.

Herman
2018-12-04 07:57:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
dk
So... let's put two and two together. You hate Bruckner and you recommend Celibidache...
Alex Brown
2018-12-04 08:26:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Herman
dk
So... let's put two and two together. You hate Bruckner and you recommend Celibidache...
Celi's Fifth is probably the least "out there" of his Bruckner readings
(based on the Munich EMI recording anyway), with quite conventional
tempo choices.

For a grand reading, I too like Jochum's 1986 Concertgebouw recording.
For a faster/straighter approach, the Fifth is one of the successes of
Barenboim's Berlin PO set.
--
- Alex Brown
Loading...