Bought in June 2017.
First listen: 16-6-2017.
CD 1 from 10.
Recording dates: November 2010.
Recording venue: Tapiola Hall, Kulttuurikeskus, Espoo, Finland.
Recording engineer: Jacob Händel.
Running time: 44:00.
Relevance to me: Essential.
Symphony No. O in D minor.
(Second version 1869, WAB 100)
Tapiola Sinfonietta, Mario Venzago.
Before I started this project I first watched the DVD that is part of this box, and it gave me a pretty good insight where Venzago came from. Together with the interview in the booklet, and the extensive explanation of every symphony in this set, convinced me that this is how Bruckner's music should be played. We are all used to the beefed up versions, we heard after the WW II, and although I like them too, especially the Karajan recordings from the seventies, there is no doubt in my mind now, that Bruckner would have hardly recognized his symphonies were he be able to hear them again. For all the massed strings and brass throughout the orchestra tend to obscure all details underlying the main melody, and diffuses and compromises the structural coherence of the work. For instance the vibrato on every note, was something Bruckner would not have known. That was not possible with gut stringed instruments. And there are many more things to tell, but you can all find them on Venzago's internet site, booklet and the many reviews.
The first thing with this set is, that it is not comparable to any set already on the market, so one has to like it for its own merit. Did not cause any problems to me, for it is a revelation to hear all the details throughout the desks, and even in the loudest passages one keeps track with what is going on. And that leads to a better understanding of what Bruckner actually wanted to express. The tempi are fast but not too fast, the accents are spot on, and the dynamics are big enough, even with the sinfonietta. You never have the feeling that it is an undernourished affair. Bold gestures are bold, brass is glorious, timpani are hitting home, and the string are supersweet. For me this interpretation is a true revelation. The amount of reflection and introspection is a welcome balm, after so many versions I have listened to. This composition is so economically scored and intimately projected, that it is for me a completely new work, hearing it for the first time as Bruckner must have meant it to sound. Its brisker, and more classically orientated, as I ever heard it before. You can actually connect it to its time with other composers, so he is not a entity as such, but an organically integrated part of the musical scene. That is indeed a novelty. It may be less grander as we are used to, but the work "an sich" is better sustained. The orchestra has a high standard with a dynamic architecture that is amazing and distinguishing. Venzago did a good job in opening the real Bruckner to us. I look so much forward with was in still in store for me.
The sound is top notch and revelatory.
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