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So, this is interesting. I seem to recall a majority of TC members steering me towards Eugen Jochum's Dresden, rather than his earlier BPO/Bavarian RSO Bruckner recordings. Whereas on a FB Bruckner site I got more or less the opposite advice.
Anyone care to elaborate for me the differences between the two cycles?
Thanks!
 

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There is really very little to choose between these two sets. The DGG recordings are older (1958 to mid 1960s; the Dresden set comes from the late 1970s). The DGG recordings, although older, tend to be a little more 'refined', while the EMI sound in Dresden is more 'in your face' and immediate. The main difference is in the sound of the orchestras. The DGG set, with the Bavarian RSO and Berlin PO, are as you would expect, smooth and rounded, while the Dresden set is a little more 'animal'. The Dresden Staatskapelle has always had a unique sound which to an extent reflects its geography very close to the Czech border. The brass sound in Bruckner 8 can scalp you at 100 metres. It's wonderful stuff.

I prefer the Dresden set for the orchestral sound.
 

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I own both. In my opinion, the only symphony not bettered by the Dresden/EMI set is the 4th. Interpretively they are fairly similar. The main difference is the sonics. The DG 5th from 1958 with it's tape hiss and limited dynamics is a good example of this. The Dresden/EMI set is brighter and sharper sounding being recorded later. The Staatskapelle Dresden is probably my favorite orchestra "soundwise" along with the Czech Philharmonic from the 60's through the 80's. That Brass is what really sells Bruckner for me. The wind players are excellent too. Listen to Rudolf Kempe's Richard Strauss recordings or Herbert Blomstedt's Beethoven & Schubert cycles recorded with the Staatskapelle Dresden and you will hear some of the finest playing and some of the most amazing wind and brass sounds imaginable. They just have a sound all their own. But back to Jochum, both sets are fine and worth owning for the price you can usually pick them up for, but if you want the best sound with some of the most characterful brass, definitely get the Dresden/EMI set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Top stuff, thanks realdealblues. Yes, I have heard that the Dresden brass is a thing to hear, and I do love (as who doesn't) brass in Bruckner - #4, #6 and #8 spring immediately to mind.
Got my eye on Blomstedt's Schubert cycle too - I love Schubert #8 and #9, don't really know the rest too well, and would like to try a cycle. So will probably spring for that soon as well. Thanks!
 

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Top stuff, thanks realdealblues. Yes, I have heard that the Dresden brass is a thing to hear, and I do love (as who doesn't) brass in Bruckner - #4, #6 and #8 spring immediately to mind.
Got my eye on Blomstedt's Schubert cycle too - I love Schubert #8 and #9, don't really know the rest too well, and would like to try a cycle. So will probably spring for that soon as well. Thanks!
Glad to help. Yeah, Brass is what really sells Bruckner for me. I have to have great sounding brass and brass playing whenever I listen to Bruckner so yeah, if you love the brass in Bruckner you will love Dresden.

Blomstedt's Schubert cycle is a steal these days since it's been re-released on the Brilliant Classics label now. Same with his Beethoven cycle. I think I bought them both for like $10. He's not period influenced. Just nice full modern orchestra with moderate tempos and fantastic sound and playing. Blomstedt and Muti's cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic are my two favorite Schubert cycles. Both are top notch and can be picked up cheaply these days. Muti's cycle is very high energy with very polished playing from the Vienna Philharmonic as you would expect. Can't go wrong with either.
 

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I have both the Blomstedt Beethoven and Schubert cycles, obtained for presence of the Dresden Orchestra.
Back to Bruckner, regarding Real Deal's comments about the brass, I would observe that an Orchestra with a weak brass section can't be competitive in the recording derby. There have been a lot of Bruckner releases coming from 3rd tier Orchestras (mainly German) lately and having heard a few of them on the radio, they just don't have the power to compete the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Otoh, a potent brass section needs to be integrated with the rest of the Orchestra. Having heard all of Solti's Chicago cycle, there are occasions where the brass is simply to dominant.
Bruckner was an Organist and much of his writing treats the Orchestra like an Organ. Flutes and oboes tend to sound like stops on an Organ, and string textures are critical to the terracing of sound.
Bruckner and Mahler tend to be lumped together in discussions. One unifying factor is that their works make extraordinary demands upon Orchestras. A third tier Orchestra can make a much more satisfying Mozart or Beethoven or Schumann recording than Bruckner or Mahler
 

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Glad I found this thread on Google. I'm reviewing the Staatskapelle Dresden recordings of Symphonies No.4, No.7 & No.8, between Eugen Jochum and Christian Thielemann (EMI vs Profil). I'm not giving any results yet.

I side with the earlier Jochum DG box because of the polished sound and the fresh interpretations. It's one of the best out there. The 90s EMI release of the Jochum Dresden is a step back for the same reason that for others it is a step forward: the Staatskapelle. Also, many of the symphonies sound rushed. I wish that Warner Classics remasters the original tapes so I can review it again.

If for realdeblues the thing that sells Bruckner is the brass, for me that is the role of the string section. Only No.3 and No.6 are heavily brassy. None of them in the EMI set are of my taste.

Here is a very negative review placed in the Dresden Ninth Symphony:

Bernard Michael O'Hanlon said:
Religions come in train with mysticism. Whatever their precepts might be, stillness is imperative. While Bruckner can be enjoyed (or loathed) on a number of levels, part of his attraction is the gateway he opens into the metaphysical, however nebulous that realm might be. Recent practitioners such as Nagano and Herreweghe disavow such a dimension in their advocacy of "Diet Bruckner". They have a precursor: Eugen Jochum and the Dresden Staatskapelle.

Recorded in the late Seventies, these performances are militated by the same flaw: they're bereft of stillness. In consequence, they're about as metaphysical as the Malboro Man. This is a Bruckner who has been extricated from the cathedral and dumped in Times Square on New Year's Eve. As recorded, I've never heard an orchestra play so stridently in the first movement of the Ninth - just listen (with ear-muffs) to the third reiteration of the motif in its coda. The Eighth is just as cacophonous. As before, the fault surely lies with EMI which placed microphones too close to the orchestra - one actually fears for the clackers of the trombonists. One climax sounds like another: it's the Parade of the Ugly Sisters. Tedium ensues. Jochum's refusal to linger in his rush to the finishing line (and his use of the Nowak edition) add to the racket.

Unlike other discs in this series, EMI remastered these symphonies with its Abbey Road Technology. They're still unlistenable. Jochum`s claims in this realm are much better showcased in the DG Collectors Edition Box.

The starry starry night is another gateway for the mystics among us. This EMI cycle has its place in the heavens above: as space-junk. Let it float.
It's not that I agree with all his statements, but we could open a discussion about this "barbaric" sound and how it divides us... Anyone?
 

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I'm in the Dresden camp but both sets are really good. Some might think I'm biased because of Blomstedt's Dresden Beethoven cycle (great set) but no...I just prefer the brassiness (is that a word?) of the Dresden set. Horses for courses.
 

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Like 2 years waiting for this new reissue. There's still no clue wether Warner has used the recent Japanese remasters over the 2000 ART already released in the Green box. I wouldn't trust the amazon tracklist. It would be pretty disappointing not to get the chance to experience these since the main controversy of this cycle has always been the recording tecnique. First CD transfers had muddy and overpowered and noisy brass but a sumptuous and expansive string sound. 2000 ART remasters successfully corrected the excess of noise in the brass although lost detail in the strings too. I have no idea if the Japanese remasters decided to finally experiment with the volume of the instruments and present a balanced set.

I would love to get this since it contains my all-time favourite Symphony No.2 and one of my most favourite No.7s.

Out March 20th.

I guess Warner won't reissue any soon the Barenboim Berlin cycle for Teldec (in new shape, not the ugly one already inexpensive). :(
 

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I love Jochum's Bruckner which stands in contrast to Karajan's and is complementary, pointing different aspects of the music. I have the Dresden set and also the tremendous 9th and 4th from the earlier set. You really can't go wrong with either. Terrific!
 

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I'm torn, because I love the Staatskapelle Dresden, but I also tend to prefer older sound. The late '50s, early '60s is the golden age for classical recordings in my book. It seems that Jochum is consistent enough that sound and orchestra are the main variables here, rather than interpretation, or skill level. Anyway I don't really need another Bruckner set. I'll only get one if I end up selling my Barenboim/Berlin box, which is good, but I do not listen to it much at all. (I would like to blame Bruckner more than Barenboim, but I don't know).
 

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I have heard at least one complete symphony from each set. The earlier one I would rank as nonessential, since you can get that luxurious BPO sound which is so on-the-money in Bruckner with Karajan, Wand, and Furtwangler (the trifecta of Bruckner conductors for me). The Dresden one certainly is "in-your-face" in terms of sound and performance- the brass is unparalleled, but I'm not a big fan of the interpretations even though Jochum is usually one of my favorite conductors. I find he doesn't make as much sense of the architecture as the three interpreters I mention above- I don't want to hear a bunch of brass players blowing their lungs out every 3 minutes. I want subtlety, shape, and narrative. And it doesn't help that Jochum tends to conduct Bruckner very quickly so as not to linger on the golden moments. Good Bruckner conductors should know when to push forward and when hold back the reins; I don't sense that in Jochum. So even though both the Dresden and BPO sounds are amazing for this music, I would not recommend either- at least for the casual listener. Gunter Wand should be the new Brucknerian's first stop. His performances are shorn of interpretation, disassembling the symphonies into their fundamental building blocks so you can understand the structure. Karajan adds some more personal touches and makes it flow a bit better- I truly believe his Bruckner 8 is the crowning recording of his career. Don't hear Furtwangler until you're very familiar with the music, but when you're ready- it can be like an out-of-body experience.
 

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I don't think there's much difference in the two Jochum-led cycles via interpretation; the differences would be the orchestras and the recorded sound. I always preferred the DG cycle.

Some of those, including my two favorites -- Nos. 1 and 2 -- are or were available in Japan on individual CDs linked to choral works. They were remastered and now sound better than ever before.

I wouldn't say Jochum's or anyone else's integral set does it for me. My favorite Bruckner symphony recordings are:

1 and 2 Jochum DG; the second-best versions of both I know are from Jochum's brother Georg-Ludwig, a conductor beloved by the Nazis whose recordings are in ancient sound

3 Carl Schuricht/Vienna Philharmonic on Japanese EMI TOCE-3404, a super audio disk

4 Furtwangler/Vienna Philharmonic 1951 recording of the Loewe/Guttman edition; a super audio version is available

5 Horenstein/BBC Symphony for modern sound; Hermann Abendroth 1949 recording with Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra is almost as good though some allowance must be made for sound

6 Furtwangler's "headless torso" recording where the opening movement is missing

7 Karl Bohm/Vienna Philharmonic 1976 Austrian Radio recording from the Andante box

8 Gunther Wand's Lubeck cathedral recording on RCA; I also like Eduard van Beinum's with Concertgebouw, a very different (less religious) experience

9 Bruno Walter's stereo recording on Columbia/Sony which I prefer to Furtwangler's terror

I wish there was a single conductor alive and recording today that could lead Bruckner as well. It seems odd to me that, even though the like-minded composer Mahler is more popular than ever and continues to be played and recorded everywhere, the art of Bruckner conducting appears lost to history. The recordings I enjoy were by people either alive when Bruckner lived or who carried on traditions started with the advent of Bruckner symphonies.
 

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I have Jochum's complete Dresden set. I also have Nos. 4, 8 & 9 from DG. I think the DG No. 4 is probably the best recording of that symphony out there. I also have one-off Jochum did of No. 5 on Philips with the Concertgebouw. The recording was made in a monastery, and the bloom on the sound is incredible. I think there are two approaches to Bruckner: the starry skied metaphysical approach favoured by Mr. O'Hanlon, which I think is a bit of a cliche that sells Bruckner short. Then there's the dramatic approach. After all, Bruckner worshipped Wagner, so why shouldn't his music be dramatic? I have a recording by Furtwangler of the 9th, and the first movement is absolutely devastating. This is not a religious experience; this is some trauma where all possibility of consolation is overwhelmed. Jochum's Dresden 9th is similar in a way the DG version is not. I think Jochum opted for the dramatic in his second set because he had the Dresden orchestra with it's brass section that could do anything, absolutely anything he asked it to.
 

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Like 2 years waiting for this new reissue. There's still no clue wether Warner has used the recent Japanese remasters over the 2000 ART already released in the Green box. I wouldn't trust the amazon tracklist. It would be pretty disappointing not to get the chance to experience these since the main controversy of this cycle has always been the recording tecnique. First CD transfers had muddy and overpowered and noisy brass but a sumptuous and expansive string sound. 2000 ART remasters successfully corrected the excess of noise in the brass although lost detail in the strings too. I have no idea if the Japanese remasters decided to finally experiment with the volume of the instruments and present a balanced set.
This valuable set came on the mail this morning. I think I had stated on another thread that the new digital samples that Warner offered now sounded slightly better (in brilliance and definition) than the ART remasters I had ripped.

I looked on the backcovers of the 2020 CD set today. To my disappointment, the date of the remasters are exactly the same ones as the ART set. That means: the new Warner set has exactly the same content than the ornamental light blue and the green box that had the Bruckner cycles. But this time, they included the original jackets for all symphonies except No.4 and No.5..

I'll listen to this set on CD in one or two weeks. I've treated myself with other bargains. But if you own one of the previous Bruckner EMI releases, there's virtually no reason for you to buy the new edition. We can just be thankful that Warner finally uploaded this cycle to streaming platforms.
 
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