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Thread: Bruckner Symphonies...What am I missing?

  1. #46
    Senior Member Keemun's Avatar
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    Kirkikohtaus, glad to hear the performance went well.

    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
    - Ludwig van Beethoven

  2. #47
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Since I never learnt to play an instrument, I've always admired all those in the musical business - players and conductors alike! Congratulations, Kurkikohtaus!
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  3. #48
    Senior Member Keemun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keemun View Post
    Kirkikohtaus, glad to hear the performance went well.
    My apologies for misspelling your name, Kurkikohtaus. (It's too late for me to edit it now. :angry

    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
    - Ludwig van Beethoven

  4. #49
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Here's a 'Bruckner problem' question:

    How much is Bruckner's original version of his Symphony No.8 (1884-1887) different from the final one?
    I've purchased a recording of this version, but I haven't heard the later ones. Is it less memorable, monumental, long, loud or whatever than the final version?

    Kurkikothaus once said that this symphony is 'big-daddy Bruckner'.
    It is huge, but I find the No.9 more apocalyptic than 'The Apocalyptic'.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  5. #50
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Here follows an example of why I had earlier (on the Mahler 6 thread) describe Bruckner 8 as the "Bruckner-geek's Bruckner symphony!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Lisztfreak View Post

    How much is Bruckner's original version of his Symphony No.8 (1884-1887) different from the final one?
    I could make sure my pocket-protector's in place, put on my anorak outerwear, and give a response to this question that would approach the typical word count of a post from Bob (not that there's anything wrong with that). Still, I should force myself to be brief, and enhance my likelihood of remaining coherent.

    There are at least FOUR versions of Bruckner 8. The one most easy to dismiss is Bruckner w/Schalk 1890. Consensus opinion on Schalk & Lowe brothers interventions in the Bruckner canon include the words "mutilation," "vandalism," and "falsification." The next least popular one is Bruckner 1887 (Novak), which is evidently the one referenced in the previous post. The most major difference is in the conclusion of the first movement. (Other editions contain music that holds more back here.) It has its fans, but in runs in 3rd place in terms of general esteem of the editions. Bruckner 1887/1990 (Haas) is a bold hybrid that purports to weld the best of the earlier and later Bruckner texts, while still expunging Schalk influences. It had/has many reputable champions (Karajan, Bohm, Wand) and support from scholars whose opinions I respect (e.g.: Robert Newman & Deryck Cooke). It's said that this edition is held in lesser favor in no small part because Haas had cozied up to the Nazis back in the day. I acknowledge that this should have nothing to do with the case.

    Finally, there's Bruckner 1890 (Novak). This seems to be the version one is most likely to hear today. In addition to its merits as a "from-the-pen-of-Bruckner" work, I prefer it musically as well (sorry HvK, Deryck, et al). In short, I think that it's a tauter musical construct. [Taut being an incredibly relative term when discussing a Bruckner symphony.] What can I say... try 'em both!! If you like the Haas better, you'll be in agreement with a galaxy of musical titans. If you like the Novak 1890, a similar galaxy of giants (and your humble correspondent) will see it the same way as you.

    Finally (with respect to your feelings on the 9th), if Maestro K said that the 8th is "big-bad-daddy Bruckner," I guess you could say that the 1st & 2nd movements of the 9th are "'who's-your-daddy' Bruckner."
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

  6. #51
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Thanks for a detailed explanation. I will definitely try to get the latest version.

    I must say that A-Hundred-Or-So-Versions-System is quite annoying. Write the symphony and then leave it be, I say.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  7. #52
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, Bruckner was given to bouts of extreme lack of self-confidence, bordering on suicidal despair, and so fell prey to the influence of people who, although believing that they were acting in his best interests, exerted an influence over his output that was, for the most part, to the disadvantage of the music. In fact, you could make a plausible case (Georg Tinter is VERY persuasive here) that the 1890 8th is the only revision that improves on the original work.
    Bruckner's 2nd & 3rd are commonly heard in re-worked form (although apparently free from 3rd party interventions). It's tough to make up my mind in the case of the 2nd... but Tinter's rendering of the 3rd (on Naxos) has made a convert out of me.

    It's something of a digression, but that other Daniel Burnham ("make no small plans") of symphonists, Mahler, was also a serial reviser- although in his case, it was driven by the practicality of hearing the results of his writing whilst at the podium. His alterations were really more of the nature of "tweaking" than full-blown revision. I've seen the opinion proferred that, had Mahler lived on, he would have "tweaked" the 9th and especially Das Lied von der Erde, and the follow-up opinion that Das Lied has "appalling balance problems" perhaps overstates the case, but I won't take serious issue with the contention (source: Michael Steinberg- The Symphony).
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

  8. #53
    Senior Member Kurkikohtaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    In fact, you could make a plausible case (Georg Tinter is VERY persuasive here) that the 1890 8th is the only revision that improves on the original work.
    I would make a case for the revisions of the scherzo and finale of the 4th symphony as well. My orchestra has the original version in its archives, so I did a read through of it about 3 weeks before the real rehearsals to see if it would work. The first 2 mvmt are almost identical as in the oft performed version... But the scherzo and finale are vastly different.

    First of all, the original version of the scherzo has a written out recapitulation that tinkers with orchestration and phrase lengths but to very little effect. Also, the conclusion before the Trio is a long and awkward diminuendo. The final and "normal" version simply does a Da capo, making it compact and effective.

    The finale is largely rewritten. The final version can be as much as 5 minutes shorter, depending on your tempos (which is good). Also, in the original version, Bruckner attempts to force strict relations between the pulses of the different themes (half-note = quarter-note type of thing) ... in the revision, he uses expressions like Etwas langsamer and leaves the exact speeds up to the performers, resulting in a more flexible and expressive flow.

  9. #54
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    I'd better call attention to this myself, before somebody else takes me to the shed over this whopper:

    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post
    It had/has many reputable champions (Karajan, Bohm, Wand) and support from scholars whose opinions I respect (e.g.: Robert Newman & Deryck Cooke).
    While I respect Mr. Newman's indefatigable energy and have discovered (via the 'symphonies' list) that he and I share a great deal in musical taste, he did not write a book titled The Essence of Bruckner, Robert Simpson did.

    The author regrets any confusion that this contretemps may have caused
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

  10. #55
    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Bruckner has many moments in his symphonies that are simply out of this world beautiful!

    I was just listening to his Symphony No. 5, and about 3 minutes into the 2nd movement Adagio......Absolutely heartwrenching yet gorgeous theme.

  11. #56
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    Absolutely heartwrenching yet gorgeous theme.
    I would also add the Adagios of the 7th and 9th symphonies.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  12. #57
    Mango
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    Bruckner was a splendid composer. His 4th, 7th and 8th symphonies are especially magnificent. My favourite is the 4th which is perhaps the most accessible. My favourite version is Karajan/BPO. For any sceptic, I'd recommend trying this one first and would be surprised if after a few listens you don't begin to appreciate the new style of symphonic writing and abilities of this man. Among the new Romantics, I much prefer Bruckner to Liszt in the symphonic field.

  13. #58
    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    Among the new Romantics, I much prefer Bruckner to Liszt in the symphonic field.
    Well, Liszt's primary talent weren't symphonies, and I don't think it ever was his intention to become a great symphonist. I enjoy the two he wrote, but many probably don't.
    And I would never place Liszt and Bruckner to a same category of composers.

    I must add that the scherzo of Bruckner's 8th is splendid! The insistent, vigorous motif repeated dozens of times and each time with even more vigour - it's very exciting and exhilarating.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

  14. #59
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Here's a "Bruckner geek" dilemma pertaining to the following section:
    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post

    I was just listening to his Symphony No. 5, and about 3 minutes into the 2nd movement Adagio......Absolutely heartwrenching yet gorgeous theme.
    This very movement, for me, is the source of the most interesting "tempo controversy" this side of Mahler 5 Adagietto. Simplified (perhaps simplified beyond reason), it can be taken with moderate pace, or it can be taken broadly. Furtwangler and Tinter take it less slowly, Solti and Sinopoli linger. Tinter says he's being faithful to the score by doing so... but he allies with Furtwangler here, never known for strict fidelity to the score. The much-maligned Gramophone review guide says Sinopoli shows the most devotion to the printed page. I have a study score- can't really work it out myself (as if I could ever be so arrogant as to set myself up as arbiter between Furtwangler and Solti!).

    But... like the fellow that says "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like," I think that the more leisurely pace makes it sound like it holds up better against the other movements. Any thoughts??
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Just starting to get into Bruckner at the moment. I am gobsmacked by the brilliance of the 2nd movement of the 8th symphony (I would like this to have been the finale). Also, the 2nd movement of the 7th symphony is amazing.
    Could someone recommend more Bruckner movements like the 2 mentioned above.
    Also, I can't understand why people say the 7th symphony is Bruckner's finest. In my opinion the 8th symphony is far superior.

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