I wonder if people could play the Bruckner’s Ninth during peace-time or the universal misery of this work do requires some presents of some war-like external non-resolvable tragedy?
The WWII started in end of 1944 when a first “Liberty” ship was trying to deliver a Yankees’ BBQ grill to England and accidentally lost direction in fog and hit Normandy… Ok, Ok, let do not mock the American’s sick perception of history. The WWII started in September of 1939 when Germany invades Poland and since then unit Germany capitulated in May 1945 the Bruckner's Ninth was performed and recorded 3 times (at least the recordings that I am familiar with). All recordings are “live” and all of them are true benchmark of conducting and performing art. They also, as far as I concern are light miles further away then anything that was performed since then...
One of the greatest Dutch conductor Eduard van Beinum played in January 1941 with Concertgebouw. What an event, what a play! Did Concertgebouw even was able to develop such a great pressure via musicality even since? The insultingly brilliant Oswald Kabasta, who was an uncontestable king of musicality in South Germany, performed with his Munich Philharmonic in June 1943 another stunning Bruckner Nine. In 3 years Kabasta will be dead but not before Wilhelm Furtwangler with his Berlin Philharmonic in October 1944 delivered a final nail into the performing art of the Nine. Were any more extraordinary Bruckner’s Ninth attempts since Beinum, Kabasta and Furtwangler?
Well, perhaps there were but… here is one huge problem for me – I can’t listen Bruckner, and particularly the Ninth, if the recording is, what the contemporary people consider “well-recorded”. I do not want “to hear the orchestra” but I need an orchestral to give me juts a general lead OF A DEMANDED MAGNITUDE and then, I want to reflect myself on the Bruckner’s “program” and to invent my own reading of this music….
So, what make the Bruckner’s Ninth from 1941, 1943 and 1944 to affect us so strongly? Was it the war? Was it the frustration of the people who played this music in 40s? Was it the better sound of the recording technologies in 40s? I do not know….
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche