Review by willemvoorneveld July 5, 2012 (13 of 16 found this review helpful)
|Bruckner 3 & 4, Mariss Jansons.
By many Bruckner specialists the 3rd symphony is considered an immature work. But it has too many attractive ingredients to ignore and therefore it is regularly programmed and recorded. In the opening movement the trumpets are, loud and clear, playing the first incarnation of the central theme of the symphony, which then gets its final apotheosis in the 4th movement, the Adagio. In between there are several fantastic moments in the Quasi Andante (Jansons highlight in this recording) and in the 3rd movement, with beautifully painted but simple brass lines.
Bruckner himself kept changing the score of this symphony. The version played here is from 1874 (Nowak) with the finale changed and completed in 1889, years after he completed his 8th symphony.
Mariss Jansons uses all the resources he has to provide for a very interesting performance: A fantastic string section amongst other, to paint the “Misterioso” effect in movement 1 and a rock solid and beautifully toned horn soloist. The Concertgebouw orchestra as a whole is on top form and last but not least, the Concertgebouw symphony hall itself provides the right level of (wide) acoustics that is so necessary in Bruckner’s music. Jansons gives the music time to breathe but is never slow. A modern interpretation matching the performance of Haitink with the Vienna Philharmonic on RB-CD.
The sound engineers have succeeded to cancel out all live noise. For this live recording (2007) they opted for a tonal balance on the bright site (close miking?) whit just enough symphony hall acoustics present. From all Bruckner symphony’s the 3rd is composed with relatively little low end input so the bright sound signature is also an attribute of the score itself.
The 4th symphony is probably Bruckner’s most played work and by many considered his first real masterwork. No problem with the structure in this work and the instrumentation is more in balance than in his earlier symphonies. The central theme in this work is softly introduced by the horns in the first movement (compare this with the “noisy” trumpets in his 3rd symphony). The horn, epitome of a romanticism based on nature ever since Weber, dominates the whole score anyway. So, if an orchestra wants to perform the 4th of Bruckner it better has a good horn section; this recording proofs that the Concertgebouw Orchestra has a very good team of horn soloists, wonderfully supported by woodwind and Tuba.
Jansons takes his time for the Andante that follows the first movement. He creates a peaceful atmosphere which allows him to provide much detail, though without losing the forward movement. The rich & real tone of the string section(s) is fantastic. The famous Scherzo that follows is brought almost like a chamber music piece. Jansons keeps the sound of bras controlled and thus not overwhelm the other instruments, or should we complement the recording engineers for this enormous transparency in sound? The buildup to the final coda is clear and unavoidable. The tension need to unload in this final movement and it does. Like Haitink, jansons is at his best in great architectural pieces and this recording is proof of that. So far my best 4th on SACD.
For those who like their music presented in a live like setting, this recording is ideal. The recording of the 4th symphony (2008) comes with more symphony hall acoustics than the recording of nr 3 a year earlier. Based on my own memory the recording of the 4th is closer to the Concertgebouw live than the recording of nr 3.
The sonics are rated for the Multi channel mix only; I used 5 equal and large loudspeakers.
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