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Musical Discussions
Topic: A “pocket version” of Bruckner.

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 11-30-2017
Last week Amy and I went to listen BSO under Andris Nelsons to play Bruckner 4. It was OK concert. BSO is not really Bruckner-type ensemble and Nelsons is too young to be “interesting” Bruckner interpreter. Still, there were some good moments there and there. However, I feel that there is bigger fish to fry. Listening a lot of Bruckner and loving his work I more and more incline to the idea that no matter how good interpretation was but if it played in a typical concert hall then it is still just a pocket version of Bruckner. To get Bruckner in the whole glory you need a LARGE concert whole with very slow decay. A typical Concertgebouw or Musikverein size concert holes just do not deliver the seriousness and monumentalizm to Bruckner that his music is calling for.

Posted by rowuk on 12-02-2017
Herbert Blomstedt had a tour this past summer with the Bamberg Sinfoniker. I didn't get to hear them in the Stift Church in St. Florian, but in Würzburg in the Dom which also has a very nice "bloom". The only disadvantage was that the horns were sitting so that their sound went into the side naive and thus were about half as "present" as I would have preferred. The orchestra was on fire - no one knows how long Blomstedt can keep going.
I agree that this music belongs in big spaces that haven't been acoustically treated for "classical music".

Posted by Romy the Cat on 12-02-2017
Thanks, rowuk, I am sure it was a great to be there. Do you know if the recordings from the concerts cycle are available?


Posted by rowuk on 12-02-2017
There was some noise from them about releasing a CD of the tour. I am not sure how seriously the Bavarian Radio treated the recordings however.
My daughter works at the artist agency representing Blomstedt. I will ask her. He personally likes the Gewandhaus recordings as representing his "mature" view of this music. He said that in a documentary celebrating his 90th birthday earlier this year. He admits that there are still a lot of things to learn...
Blomstedt is going to guest conduct the Berlin Philharmonic on 8/9/10 December

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Konzert für Klavier und Orchester A-Dur KV 488

Maria João Pires Klavier

Anton Bruckner

Symphonie Nr. 3 d-Moll (1. Fassung von 1873)

It will show up on the digital concert hall as a livestream on 9 December at 19:00 Central European Time. Should be a good performance.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 12-02-2017

I asked John F. Berky if the Bamberg cycle was released. He said that his has B5 from July 22, 2017:  
DISC # COR-2487: BRUCKNER: Symphony # 5 / Blomstedt / 2017
ANTON BRUCKNER: Symphony # 5 in B flat major                              (74'11")
[1] Announcement                                                          (  3'19")
[2] Introduction. Adagio – Allegro                                             (20'10")
[3] Adagio . Sehr langsam                                             (17'03")
[4] Scherzo: Molto vivace (schnell)
                     Trio. Im gleichen Tempo                        (12'50")
[5] Finale: Adagio – Allegro moderato                     (24'08")
Devil Applause / Announcements                                 (  1'38")
-Herbert Blomstedt
-Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Source:                                 ORF Webcast (7/30 – 192 kps)
Location:                              Stift Basilika, Saint Florian
Date:                                     July 22, 2017
Production:                        ORF 1
The Blomstedt with Berlin Philharmonic might be fun but it will be just Berlin Philharmonic hall. The hall is good for Mozart or Mahler but I feel that I need larger and “wetter” space for Bruckner.  If you have a chance then buy yourself Roberto Paternostro’s whole set of Bruckner symphonies with Wurttemberg Philharmonic from 2009. It might not be the best overall interpretation but they recorded I think in Lubeck Cathedral with spectacular sound decay, so the listening is a pure pleasure.  
BTW, the same Lubeck has a very nice organ that is a good hands it can do amassing things. My absolutely favorite Bach’s Organ performance is the Fuga from Organ Concerto in D minor that Bach took after Vivaldi's Concerto. Many people did it but Simon Preston did it in Lubeck  and the result it beyond amassing. His play of the work is such a phenomenal benchmark when the stars aligned and when the interpretation of Bach just could not be better. In my mind the play sited very deeply in a pantheon the best performing events ever.  I herd it 47328975 times and honestly never get it enough. To a degree, I tune my playback to play this Fuga and for a while it is the very first music that I play to my listening room’s visitors.  If a visitor “do not get it” then I begin to play to them a Ritchie Blackmore’s Stargazer and inform my wife that it will be another wasted listening session.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 12-04-2017
I need to add to what I said above that there is some exceptions if music is chosen to be played VERY slow.  I personally very much love any slower than usually interpretations. Unfortunately not a lot of them nowadays, not a lot of conductors have wisdom to do it and now a lot of orchestras are able to pull it off. 
For instance when we when during the spring to Berlin to listen their Philharmonic with Bruckner 8 then it was very much the “pocket version” of Bruckner. The Berliner Philharmoniker played spectacular and they cross all the t's and dot all the i's. It was of cause the celebrated Sir Simon Rattle with his typically boring and intellectually deprived interpretation that screwed everything up in my view. Also, it was the great sound of the New Philharmonia Hall. Do not get me wrong, the Berlin New Philharmonia Hall sounds very well but for… Mahler. It is over 250 sq. meters with reverberation time slightly over 2 seconds when the hall is full. Ii it just too fast for normal “tempo” to play Bruckner and to get the right feel of monumentalizm. 
The case to point. On 20 October 1990, Celibidache with München played B8 in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. The Suntory Hall is very much similar to Berlin New Philharmonic Hall but Celibidache went twice slower, in some moments painfully slow but painfully beautifully and the total result is like night and day. With Celibidache/Suntory version I have no feeling of “pocket version” at all.

Posted by rowuk on 12-04-2017
It is only available here for purchase from ORF. Blomstedt's artist agency has no access to the recording.

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