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Bruckner, Anton - Sinfonie Nr. 9 in d-moll (NTSC)
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Diese Aufnahme einer kraftvoll konturierten und mit einem scharfen Profil ausgestatteten Interpretation von Bruckners Sinfonie Nr. 9 entstand Ende Oktober 2007 im berühmten Goldenen Saal des Wiener Musikvereins. Dass die Uraufführung des unvollendeten Bruckner-Werkes am 11. Februar 1903 ebenfalls in diesem Raum stattgefunden hatte, ist dabei lediglich ein schöner Zufall. Von der Presse wurde das Konzert einhellig gelobt, wobei die ungeheure Wirkung des ruhigen und intensiven Dirigats von Franz Welser-Möst und die unnachahmliche Intonationsweise sowie das Zusammenspiel des Cleveland Orchestra besondere Anerkennung fanden.
Recorded live at the Großer Musiksaal, Vienne, 31 October 2007
The Cleveland Orchestra
Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
I Feierlich, misterioso
II Scherzo. Bewegt, lebthaft - Trio. Schnell
III Adagio. Langsam, feierlich
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Cleveland plays magnificently; they are precise, accurate and produce a beautifully balanced and transparent sound. The first flute, oboe and horn deserve to be mentioned. It is really a great ensemble.
Moest's interpretations is sometimes a bit dry to my taste, particularly in the first movement: no rubato, no changes of pulse: just a steady and quick pace.
The scherzo is wonderful, with a very clear distinction between points and accents (long and short notes) in the first subject.
He took the trio with too fast a tempo, I dare say, so that it lost some of its magic enchantment.
The adagio is dramatic and tense: one of the the most powerful readings in my
The video is excellent from both an artistic and technical standpoint: it is quite evident that the director and the artistic advisers love the music and know the score through and inside-out.
This DVD, however, has me happily flummoxed. It is not a typical Möst performance. This time there is life, and lots of it. He has decided to step out of his head and let the formidable Cleveland Orchestra go. The Orchestra, in return, plays with everything they got - this is something Möst rarely allows. They sound almost as good as they did during the Dohnanyi years. The scherzo is thrilling, the opening movement properly mysterious (though I hoping for more fire at the end). If I have a complaint it's that he rushes through some of my favorite parts of the adagio (his typical unbending tempo kicks in at last).
Overall, however, this is a great performance. The orchestra sounds great, the production value is top notch - just as good as any of the Claudio Abbado productions which, I feel, set the standard for great audio/visual presentations. No lingering shots of the conductor, or of the hall, or of clouds overhead. Just watching the musicians do their thing, cutting to the right players at the right time. What more can I ask for?
And there's a very interesting interview with Möst as a bonus - as I said, he's very much an intellectual. I've been to several of his talks and his analysis is always fascinating to listen to, even if his conducting rarely is. This time, I'm pleased to report, he has them both down pat.
On this occasion I chose to watch the bonus feature first. In this Welser-Most initially describes the performing characteristics of the Musikverein's acoustics. He then focusses in on his views relating to Bruckner generally and then to the 9th symphony in particular. I found this 16 minute bonus feature interesting both in its own right and as a useful insight into the performance as recorded here.
This 2007 recording is a performance of the only version of this uncompleted 3 movement symphony and it is given a performance of considerable splendour. The description of 'Cathedrals in sound' is easy to comprehend here. In the bonus feature Welser-Most makes it clear how this last symphony of Bruckner was conceived in terms of Bruckner's own anticipated death occupying the final few years of his life. Welser-Most sees it as a dialogue with God coupled with a painful exploration of the meaning of love. He also sees the work as being ahead of its time both harmonically and rhythmically. The conductor certainly comes over as a dedicated Bruckner enthusiast offering considerable knowledge and insight.
I like this interpretation very much indeed and this respect has grown over several viewings. I would view Welser-Most's performance as typically having a very clear long-term view of structure held under tight control but driven by a deeply held conviction. The climaxes are massive but this is balanced by considerable moments of delicacy. This is typical of his interpretations of the other symphonies in this developing cycle of recordings and in these respects he is well served by the Cleveland orchestra.
I note the use of rotary valved brass instruments. These have different tonal characteristics compared to the normal valved brass instruments found in the US and most of Western Europe and Russia and they suit European music of this period very well. They have rapidly spread out from the Vienna and Berlin orchestras where they are standard for all classical music and are now in regular use as far away as Stockholm.
The recording benefits from crisp imaging and sympathetic camera work. It also benefits from excellent and wide-ranging sound which is presented in DD 5.1, DTS 5.1 and stereo.
This is a fine addition to the Bruckner recordings made by Welser-Most and the Cleveland orchestra. As such it should give considerable satisfaction to Brucknerites and therefore it seems to be well worth a full 5 star rating.