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ClassicsOnline Home » BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 9 (Bern Symphony, Venzago)
The performance powerful, the interpretation breathtaking
This is the best Bruckner I’ve ever heard. I’ve been listening to his symphonies for 50 years, and for the last 30 years for me the name Bruckner has been synonymous with Eugen Jochum. His recordings with the Dresden Staatskapelle were without equal. Jochum knew how to build “cathedrals in sound”, and the Staatskapelle could stop on a dime; the brass were exactly what Bruckner had in mind. But these were recorded in the 70’s, and unfortunately the ADD sound is not up to present standards – although still quite good. Besides the Jochum complete set on EMI, I also possess the complete set from Naxos done by George Tintner, done in the 90’s. This is a very well-thought-out set, again with the musical architecture outstanding.
But this recording by Venzago with the Berne Symphony Orchestra tops any other recording of Bruckner that I’ve ever heard. Venzago knows how to deal with each phrase and combine everything into a flow towards a climax. Every detail stands out but becomes part of a vast structure. The brass is absolutely outstanding, and the cellos and basses put a solid fundament to Bruckner’s orchestration. CPO has outdone itself in the audio quality of this CD.
While familiar with all the Bruckner symphonies, especially the scherzos (my favorites!) the scherzo from symphony No. 9 has never quite made sense to me. As a matter of fact, in my review of Simon Rattle’s four-movement ninth I comment that his interpretation of the scherzo sounds like second-rate Shostakovich. Venzago takes this movement at such a fast clip that Bruckner’s idea becomes absolutely clear – this is a dance of death, a dance with the devil! Venzago sees the whole symphony as an approach to Bruckner’s imminent death. The third movement confirms this approach, with everything leading up to THAT chord just before the end – and then total acceptance of his fate – transfiguration, if you will. While the scherzo is wild-driven, the final slow movement is a totally moving and enveloping experience.
The sonics are wonderful, the performance powerful, the interpretation breathtaking.more....
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BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 9 (Bern Symphony, Venza...