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For what my opinion is worth:
Yes, he wrote noble music, there is nothing cheap, tawdry or silly. It's all very serious.

The 9th is clearly incomplete: Bruckner himself struggled to finish it, but didn't. You may be satisfied with the three movement torso; many people have been. I like the 4-movement work but I'm not sure whose version I prefer.

I have too much Bruckne that's for sure. That music demands superb recorded sound, so despite the importance of people like Furtwangler, Knappertsbusch and others in that pre-stereo era, it's not sonically able to really reveal the music. And, too many conductors treat this music like it's some hallowed religious experience. It's not. Bruckner was a Romantic. He wrote five symphonies before Brahms even wrote one. His music should be played like a product of its time; it needs to move and have a certain freedom of expression. It needs to roar at times. I do not like slow, monumental Bruckner at all. My favorite set is a 30 year old one on the Camerata label with Eichorn and Sieghardt conducting the Bruckner Linz Orchestra. They're thrillingly played, conducted and the recorded sound is terrific. Everything just sounds "right". Next up is Solti/Chicago. Some think it's too loud and glib. I don't: Solti makes them exciting and really ratchets up the excitement. The third set I love is Karajan; if anyone knew the music he did. If there's a problem, it's the DG recorded sound.

What must be kept in mind is that Bruckner wanted people to like his music and he wanted it to have some entertainment value - what composer didn't? So play the music to the hilt!

And the standard editions (Nowak or Haas) are generally just fine. Except the 9th; that's another discussion.

Thanks to the recommendation from MBHaub. Bruckner in "small" bites, possibly making him a little bit more palatable for me. For a composer I dislike, for some reason I seem fixated on repeatedly returning to brave and usually futile attempts to understand or even like his music. Maybe because the Romantic era is my favorite musical stomping ground, I feel like I "should" appreciate this composer, except that I never have. Mahler is another composer that I find difficult to comprehend, but at least with Mahler I do find one or two of his symphonies enjoyable (mainly a bleeding chunk of #2 and all of #4). I adore the 19th century Russian romantics.


Currently playing:

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, WAB 109 (first movement - Feierlich, Misterioso)
Eichhorn - Bruckner Orchestra Linz


 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Bruckner complete symphonies cycle by Jochum/Dresdner was only 14,99€ on iTunes. Based on reviews, it is as good as the DG cycle with Berliner.

I was not able to pass this bargain!

Listening to my favourite now, the 7th. Works well indeed. Communicating energy through the rhythms is vital to Bruckner, yes! And that requires suitable tempos.

For a long time I thought I did not like Sibelius’ 1st Symphony — until I heard a quicker version of the 1st Movement and felt the energy and joy of the Allegro Energico (Not Allegro Monumental). ”This is how it is supposed to be done” I remember thinking. Same here — you should not make Bruckner too monumental but let the ”energico” come through.
 

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I would recommend the Jochum Dresden cycle as the most overall satisfying one, though. It's not perfect, but no complete cycle is or can ever be. But I can't think of another conductor who recorded Bruckner with such natural authority, expressiveness and impeccable feeling for the needs of the music.
I do find the early symphonies better in the DG cycle, more fresh and lively, maybe the 8th too, indeed. But 4-7 and 9 are legendary in Dresden, the 5th maybe being the greatest of them all.
There's also some even earlier Jochum Bruckner in mono, from as early as 1938 - and of course the two legendary 5th's with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, from 1964 and 1988 that rival the official studio recordings.
 

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I wholeheartedly agree with you.

The music that has been reconstructed from the sketches that Bruckner left strikes me as below par for Bruckner, uninteresting and unmoving; not his usual standard. I'm surprised that so many notable musicians (Rattle, Schaller, Harnoncourt et al) spend so much time on it).

Unlike Mahler 10, the work on which by many outstanding musicians, is an entirely valid and rewarding enterprise.
But the Bruckner 9th finale is far, far more complete in the composer's own hand than the Mahler. Something like 90% is his Bruckner's own work. Only the ending has had to be reconstructed and written by others. Is the 90% that's there top-notch Bruckner? Maybe not. He was very ill and mentally unbalanced. But it's still his work. I have (I think) all the different versions, and I played in the premiere performance of the Carrigan third version, and the question is: which sounds the most like Bruckner? I suppose it's Samale, Phillips, Cohrs, and Mazzuca that Rattle recorded; the Eichorn is superb too, it a slightly earlier edition.
 

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I wholeheartedly agree with you.

The music that has been reconstructed from the sketches that Bruckner left strikes me as below par for Bruckner, uninteresting and unmoving; not his usual standard. I'm surprised that so many notable musicians (Rattle, Schaller, Harnoncourt et al) spend so much time on it......
But the Bruckner 9th finale is far, far more complete in the composer's own hand than the Mahler. Something like 90% is his Bruckner's own work. Only the ending has had to be reconstructed and written by others. Is the 90% that's there top-notch Bruckner? Maybe not. He was very ill and mentally unbalanced. But it's still his work. I have (I think) all the different versions, and I played in the premiere performance of the Carrigan third version, and the question is: which sounds the most like Bruckner? I suppose it's Samale, Phillips, Cohrs, and Mazzuca that Rattle recorded; the Eichorn is superb too, it a slightly earlier edition.
Eichorn head and shoulders above the rest. But, I shall be sticking with the normal 3 movement version for the rest of my days..........
 
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(...) and the question is: which sounds the most like Bruckner? I suppose it's Samale, Phillips, Cohrs, and Mazzuca that Rattle recorded; the Eichorn is superb too, it a slightly earlier edition.
But even Rattle is old hat already, since there's a new SPCM version out there, one that mercifully cuts the passage with the 4 combined themes. For the first time the coda makes actual sense, sounds like Bruckner and not like bad fanfiction. Has this new version been recorded already?
 

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But the Bruckner 9th finale is far, far more complete in the composer's own hand than the Mahler. Something like 90% is his Bruckner's own work. Only the ending has had to be reconstructed and written by others. Is the 90% that's there top-notch Bruckner? Maybe not. He was very ill and mentally unbalanced. But it's still his work. I have (I think) all the different versions, and I played in the premiere performance of the Carrigan third version, and the question is: which sounds the most like Bruckner? I suppose it's Samale, Phillips, Cohrs, and Mazzuca that Rattle recorded; the Eichorn is superb too, it a slightly earlier edition.
Gerd Schaller's revised version.
 

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Sorry for double posting, but I went ahead and bought the Jochum/Dresdner download in CD quality for $15 (USD) from prestomusic.com. Also, because it was only $13.49 (USD), I bought the Berlin Phiharmoniker's Bruckner cycle in 24/48 hi-res featuring multiple composer from 7digital.com (a British company that mainly supplies music to other services). I am still eager to hear opinions, if any, on Honeck's recording of the 9th.
 

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Thanks to the recommendation from MBHaub. Bruckner in "small" bites, possibly making him a little bit more palatable for me. For a composer I dislike, for some reason I seem fixated on repeatedly returning to brave and usually futile attempts to understand or even like his music. Maybe because the Romantic era is my favorite musical stomping ground, I feel like I "should" appreciate this composer, except that I never have. Mahler is another composer that I find difficult to comprehend, but at least with Mahler I do find one or two of his symphonies enjoyable (mainly a bleeding chunk of #2 and all of #4). I adore the 19th century Russian romantics.


Currently playing:

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, WAB 109 (first movement - Feierlich, Misterioso)
Eichhorn - Bruckner Orchestra Linz



I find the first movement of his 9th symphony to be quite listenable, having so far re-listened yesterday to the accounts of this movement, in isolation, conducted by Eichhorn, Jochum (with Dresden) and Rogner.

Is there hope for me finally liking a composition by Bruckner?
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I find the first movement of his 9th symphony to be quite listenable, having so far re-listened yesterday to the accounts of this movement, in isolation, conducted by Eichhorn, Jochum (with Dresden) and Rogner.

Is there hope for me finally liking a composition by Bruckner?
If you do not like the 7th Symphony by Jochum/Dresdner, then you might not get to like Bruckner at all.

At least for me the 7th has been the key to Bruckner music along with the wonderful String Quintet.
 
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