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Reviews: Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 - Fischer

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Reviews: 2

Site review by Castor June 8, 2014
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

http://www.HRAudio.net/showmusic.php?title=9690#reviews

Review by larsmusik July 10, 2014 (11 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
At last, a Bruckner symphony performance I can sit through. When it comes to the Viennese tradition, I harbor enormous fondness for Schubert on the one hand and Mahler on the other. Between them lies Bruckner, whose brief sacred motets, musical masterpieces of the highest order, offer reliable transportation to a special spiritual realm. But for some reason his symphonies invariably strike me as simple-minded and overly repetitious, typically distended in performance by dragging tempi and muddy section work that provide no more than a superficial aura of profundity.

Yet I found myself fully engaged in this work by, oh, the third measure or so. It’s not just the recording, which is well-nigh flawless, capturing not only the acoustic of the Palace of Arts but more importantly the orchestra’s impeccable ensemble, tonal beauty, and communal electricity under Fischer’s leadership. It’s as if you can feel them breathing together, which comes close to the actual meaning of inspiration.

Castor’s review for this site is mostly spot-on, but here are a couple more thoughts. Perhaps no mention is made of the edition used here because the Seventh Symphony underwent fewer revisions than any of this composer’s other symphonic works. Also, unlike Castor, for me the only spot that doesn’t quite work is the final section of the fourth movement. In the measures preceding it, Bruckner expends considerable time and energy on a chromatic “struggle” or buildup. Here the resolution of that struggle seems to happen far too easily and quickly. That may be less an interpretive miscalculation than a compositional one.

Otherwise Fischer helps clarify the overall structure with his tempi, removing a century’s worth of ossified “tradition” while making us more aware of this music’s linkage with Schubert and Mendelssohn. It emerges as simple but not simplistic, innocent but not naïve, classically formed but hardly bound by textbook notions of classicism.

So take this endorsement for what it is: that of a seasoned musician and listener who needed this interpretation, and this recording, to understand in some small way why so many people love Bruckner’s symphonies. I’m still not a big fan. Maybe Mr. Fischer will give us another helping, and that will turn my personal tide.

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