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Discussion: Bruckner: Symphony No. 1 - van Zweden

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Post by hiredfox September 1, 2015 (11 of 19)
Chris said:

Thanks a lot for the advice hiredfox.
I gave in and downloaded it in its DSD native form. And I have to say that, although I thought Bruckner's symphonies really worth hearing started with number 3.
Well I was both right and wrong it turns out.
If you count his early study symphony and "Die Nullte",this 1 st symphony is actually his 3rd.
Anyway,what a wonderful symphony and what a superb recording!
"Ein keckes Beserl" indeed.

I am now very tempted to download the 8th from the same label/conductor this week.
How does it compare to Janowski's on Pentatone?
Any advice?

Hi Chris

I've not done that comparison recently but both discs are in my collection so will refresh my mind and let you know. Glad you like the new disc. Maybe not tonight as still in the zone from the SFSO Mahler Prom concert last Sunday!

John

Post by Chris September 2, 2015 (12 of 19)
hiredfox said:

Hi Chris

I've not done that comparison recently but both discs are in my collection so will refresh my mind and let you know. Glad you like the new disc. Maybe not tonight as still in the zone from the SFSO Mahler Prom concert last Sunday!

John

Thanks ,
this is what this site is really about as far as I am concerned.
I'll wait patiently until both you and "Classical DJ" have compared the two 8ths. In digital form I have only got one recording of Bruckner's mighty 8th,Haitink's RCO LIVE on SACD,which I quite like.But I need a download version of this great work too.And both the Janowski and van Zweden recordings are available as native DSD downloads.
Meanwhile,I will enjoy the great "1st/3rd" in all its glory at least once a day.
I was ignorant and feel a bit ashamed that I have avoided this symphony for so long.
I wrongly assumed,early Bruckner,why bother.
Better late than never.

On the other hand I got treated to a dose of imho,real ignorance last night when I turned on my TV set ten minutes early for the news and caught the last ten minutes of a daily Quiz Show running here in Sweden.
You know one of those where people compete and are supposed to know more than the average person,at least that is what they think they do.
One of the competitors got to hear the first few bars of Beethoven' 5th and guessed it was a work by Bach!
A few minutes later after some silly questions about sports and soap opera stars another competitor was asked what gave Herman Hesse his Nobel Prize .
His answer was Physics. Is this really the standard of education among adults who think they know things better than most other people in the country where I spend 6 months a year?
Both where adults in their mid-forties,not kids.
My guess is that among the ten adult people in last night's Quiz Show on Swedish State Television not even a single one of them knows that Bruckner was a composer,much less have ever heard any of his symphonies.
The future for art music,lies in Asia,but certainly not in Sweden.
PS I hope there was a youthful crowd at the PROMS last Sunday!
Chris

Post by ClassicalDJ September 2, 2015 (13 of 19)
Chris said:

Thanks ,
this is what this site is really about as far as I am concerned.

I can understand why Stephen is not carrying the forum over to the new site, but I wish he would make the "comments" feature more prominent, where new discussion can be somehow visible.

Post by ClassicalDJ September 7, 2015 (14 of 19)
I listened through the Van Zweden and Janowski 8th recordings twice over the last week. On my stereo system (Oppo 103 > Denon 4310 > Epos Epic 2), Northstar's (Van Zweden's) sound is very full and rich, sounding close but very balanced, and rarely congested except perhaps for the Adagio's climax, where the cymbals and triangle sound a bit shrill to me. Pentatone's sound is a bit leaner, but much score detail emerges (especially woodwinds) with this approach; the only issue I have is some shrillness with the upper brass. Timpani are much more present for Van Zweden, while the harp is more prominent for Janowski. I'm interested to hear hiredfox's thoughts on the sound as his system is likely much better than mine.

For the safe play, I'd recommend Van Zweden. His performance is more conventional to my ears, and definitely closer to the RCO Haitink you enjoy, which I sampled on ClassicsOnline HD-LL (http://shop.classicsonlinehd.com/?type=streaming - a 24-bit streaming service I use), though both Van Zweden and Janowski use the 1890 Nowak edition, while Haitink uses Haas. Van Zweden's orchestra uses more subtle dynamic shading, especially for the upper brass, where Janowski's section frequently approaches the shrillness referenced above.

If you're up for something a little out of the ordinary, Janowski's interpretation seems very unique to me, and appealingly so for the most part. His focus on the rhythmic pulse and dance-like elements in the symphony (even in the sublime Adagio) is often refreshing. His first and third movements are swifter than Van Zweden, finale slower, and second about the same. Janowski's finale is what really shines for me; his slower tempo at the opening is unusually lilting in character. This music always brings to my mind a cavalry unit - Janowski's canter in a stately procession off to war, while most others thunder toward the battle's front lines. The coda is wonderfully exciting, picking up speed from a very slow onset with graded accelerations through the end. Van Zweden (and most others) sound a more tame to me in comparison here.

I hope to put some more notes together and post reviews soon. Both of these recordings are appealing in their own way and I would not want to be without either one.

Post by JohnProffitt September 7, 2015 (15 of 19)
Chris said:

Thanks a lot for the advice hiredfox.
I gave in and downloaded it in its DSD native form. And I have to say that, although I thought Bruckner's symphonies really worth hearing started with number 3.
Well I was both right and wrong it turns out.
If you count his early study symphony and "Die Nullte",this 1 st symphony is actually his 3rd.
Anyway,what a wonderful symphony and what a superb recording!
"Ein keckes Beserl" indeed.

I am now very tempted to download the 8th from the same label/conductor this week.
How does it compare to Janowski's on Pentatone?
Any advice?

The correct chronogy is as follows:

Symphony in f minor (first written)
Symphony "No. 1 in c minor", (second written)
Symphony in d minor, Nullte (third written)
Symphony "No. 2 in c minor" (fourth written)
...and so on

Post by Chris September 7, 2015 (16 of 19)
JohnProffitt said:

The correct chronogy is as follows:

Symphony in f minor (first written)
Symphony "No. 1 in c minor", (second written)
Symphony in d minor, Nullte (third written)
Symphony "No. 2 in c minor" (fourth written)
...and so on

Thanks for your correction. I just assumed so since it is often called "Die Nullte"that it also preceded the 1st.

Anyway I enjoy the first from Challenge Classics and have also downloaded the Urfassung hand-copied score of it. I'd love to hear your recording of the 8th from ST Florian too.
But I am reluctant to buy more physical discs. My download playback both sounds better at home via speakers and I can also listen via headphones anywhere I happen to be when not at home.
I have never been to ST Florian. But I have a live DVD recording with Karajan of the 8th from there.
Not exactly hi res SQ but the playing and conducting,wow.
I'd love to hear Bruckner's music live there.
When is your next recording session there?
Cheers Chris
Oops just remembered I have been there many years ago,but not for a concert.

Post by Chris September 7, 2015 (17 of 19)
ClassicalDJ said:



For the safe play, I'd recommend Van Zweden. His performance is more conventional to my ears, and definitely closer to the RCO Haitink you enjoy, which I sampled on ClassicsOnline HD-LL (http://shop.classicsonlinehd.com/?type=streaming - a 24-bit streaming service I use), though both Van Zweden and Janowski use the 1890 Nowak edition, while Haitink uses Haas. Van Zweden's orchestra uses more subtle dynamic shading, especially for the upper brass, where Janowski's section frequently approaches the shrillness referenced above.

e.

I hope to put some more notes together and post reviews soon. Both of these recordings are appealing in their own way and I would not want to be without either one.

Thanks a lot for your advice,
I got a bit impatient and downloaded the 6th from Challenge Classics while waiting for both your and hiredfox's responses.
What I really like about van Zweden's Bruckner 1st and 6th is what you mention above, "the subtle dynamic shading",and on my system,the very realistic,naturally balanced recordings from Challenge Classics.
I have the 9th from the Janowski series,and although there are certainly things to like about it,I find Janowski less subtle,less attentive to dynamics than van Zweden seems to be judging from both the 1st and since a couple of days, also the 6th.
I also have the 6th on SACD from Blomstedt and it is also very good interpretatively. But I suspect that his Bruckner series was recorded in 24/44.1 pcm.
At least that is how the 6th sounds via my SACD player.
It sounds a bit harsh and congested at climaxes,compared to Challenge Classics' superbly natural very coherent sound.
In that respect Challenge Classics really stand out in a very positive way imho. I have the Schumann symphonies which are very good too and a superb live Elektra as DSD downloads.
My latest Challenge Classics title Britten's War Requiem is stunning in all respects and makes Bruckner's 1st sound like a promising easily digested early work next to one of the 20th century's great masterworks.
I am eager to hear what hiredfox has got to add regarding the 8th too.
And I would also like to hear John Proffit's much discussed Bruckner recordings from ST Florian.
Talking about tempi and cavalries,I suspect Bruckner got the idea for the first movement of the 1st not from a cavalry,but more likely during a briskish walk.
It fit perfectly into one of my weekend walks.
Walking to the basses initial pp pompompompom and arms beating the simple yet very beautiful first theme while remembering the sweet string tone and glorious winds from Challenge Classic superb recording made my walk very enjoyable indeed.
Cheers Chris

Post by ClassicalDJ September 7, 2015 (18 of 19)
Chris said:

...And I would also like to hear John Proffit's much discussed Bruckner recordings from ST Florian...

I have listened to this St. Florian recording and am still trying to wrap my head around the performance, though the sound is very good, albeit a very different acoustic than usual. The only thing I can currently say is that the performance is FAR slower than any mentioned above.

Post by JohnProffitt September 8, 2015 (19 of 19)
Chris said:

Thanks for your correction. I just assumed so since it is often called "Die Nullte"that it also preceded the 1st.

Anyway I enjoy the first from Challenge Classics and have also downloaded the Urfassung hand-copied score of it. I'd love to hear your recording of the 8th from ST Florian too.
But I am reluctant to buy more physical discs. My download playback both sounds better at home via speakers and I can also listen via headphones anywhere I happen to be when not at home.
I have never been to ST Florian. But I have a live DVD recording with Karajan of the 8th from there.
Not exactly hi res SQ but the playing and conducting,wow.
I'd love to hear Bruckner's music live there.
When is your next recording session there?
Cheers Chris
Oops just remembered I have been there many years ago,but not for a concert.

Hi Chris

I just recorded the Ninth in St Florian a couple of weeks ago; it is scheduled for release by Gramola in December (Europe) and February (US).

Next summer Rémy Ballot is doing the Sixth, and I'll be there!

John

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