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Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 [London Philarmonic Orchestra: LPO-0071]

London Philharmonic Orchestra , Anton Bruckner , Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (29 July 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: London Philarmonic Orchestra
  • ASIN: B00DJAOHRK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,621 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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View the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107 (1885 version, ed. S. Skrowaczewski): I. Allegro moderatoLondon Philharmonic Orchestra21:52Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107 (1885 version, ed. S. Skrowaczewski): II. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsamLondon Philharmonic Orchestra24:22Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107 (1885 version, ed. S. Skrowaczewski): III. Scherzo: Sehr schnellLondon Philharmonic Orchestra 9:49Album Only
Listen  4. Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107 (1885 version, ed. S. Skrowaczewski): IV. Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht schnellLondon Philharmonic Orchestra12:51Album Only


Product Description

Product Description

Stanisaw Skrowaczewski is regarded as one of today's greatest living Bruckner conductors. Now in his 90th year, he brings a lifetime's accumulated wisdom to this work.

This Symphony had a life-changing significance for Skrowaczewski. Aged seven, he heard some distinctive but unfamiliar music drifting out of the upstairs window of a house he passed, to dramatic effect: 'It was such an impression that I became really out of my mind ... I had a high temperature, so all this proves really deep shock and this stays forever'. This was Bruckner's Symphony No. 7.

In 2011 Skrowaczewski's biography was published: Seeking the Infinite by Frederick Edward Harris Jr., in which the conductor discusses at length his lifelong devotion to the music of Bruckner.

This performance is of Skrowaczewski's own edition, based on the Haas edition but including the triangle and cymbal clash at the climax of the Adagio.

Product Description

London Philharmonic Orchestra - Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Preparing to review this new recording, I dipped into half a dozen others on my shelves, which proved to be an experience both gratifying and slightly bemusing, insofar as it confirmed my somewhat heretical conviction that if you put a good conductor in front of a first class orchestra to conduct a Bruckner symphony, you will almost invariably end up with a more than satisfactory result.

Oddly enough, all the preferred versions I listened to were live apart from the 1970-71 Karajan studio recording - not usually the case with standard repertoire symphonies. In truth, I could hardly put a Rizla paper between them and this live LPO issue adds yet another to the many fine recordings available. That's not much use to anyone looking for one, firm recommendation; on the other hand it also suggests that you cannot go wrong with any of the most celebrated recordings of this most approachable and popular of Bruckner's symphonies.

As was the case with me, the Seventh is often the gateway to an appreciation of this composer and it took me many years before I appreciated the truth of Skrowaczewski's assertion that "Bruckner is one of the greatest composers...another Mozart: his music is magical...its message speaks about the infinite, transcendental cosmos, God, timelessness, love and tragedy".

So does this live performance live up to that ambitious billing? The veteran Skrowaczewski had just turned 89 at the time of this concert last October in the Festival Hall and is supposedly currently "the world's oldest working major conductor" (no doubt someone can contradict that). There is certainly no indication of waning powers in this performance and every proof of his expertise as a Brucknerian.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glowing performance 19 Oct 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The concert from which this recording emanates - at least in part - has lingered on in my memory as an unexpectedly intense and moving musical experience. The degree of rapport between conductor and orchestra, and the sense that they were actually making music together, not merely reproducing a well-prepared 'reading', was exceptional, and drew me (and, I suspect, many other members of the audience) into the centre of the score.

This was not a high octane reading, but one that glowed from the inside, in which the music was shaped with great subtlety - the opening cello paragraph being an excellent indication of what is to follow - and Skrowaczewski shows a generally unerring sense of momentum, purpose and direction. Unfortunately there is an exception, and it is a crucial one: the final emergence - after so much uncertainty - of E major at the end of the last movement is prepared adequately, but never achieves the grandeur and power that the composer evidently imagined, and the trumpets and lower brass simply fail to crown the work as they should. I don't recall the moment as being disappointing in the concert hall, and the absence of any applause makes me wonder whether the coda has been taken from a rehearsal.

Yet, despite this lapse this is a recording I have already gone back to more than once: so much else satisfies that I'm sure I will re-listen on many occasions.
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine live performance just short of the very best 27 Aug 2013
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Preparing to review this new recording, I dipped into half a dozen others on my shelves, which proved to be an experience both gratifying and slightly bemusing, insofar as it confirmed my somewhat heretical conviction that if you put a good conductor in front of a first class orchestra to conduct a Bruckner symphony, you will almost invariably end up with a more than satisfactory result.

Oddly enough, all the preferred versions I listened to were live apart from the 1970-71 Karajan studio recording - not usually the case with standard repertoire symphonies. In truth, I could hardly put a Rizla paper between them and this live LPO issue adds yet another to the many fine recordings available. That's not much use to anyone looking for one, firm recommendation; on the other hand it also suggests that you cannot go wrong with any of the most celebrated recordings of this most approachable and popular of Bruckner's symphonies.

As was the case with me, the Seventh is often the gateway to an appreciation of this composer and it took me many years before I appreciated the truth of Skrowaczewski's assertion that "Bruckner is one of the greatest composers...another Mozart: his music is magical...its message speaks about the infinite, transcendental cosmos, God, timelessness, love and tragedy".

So does this live performance live up to that ambitious billing? The veteran Skrowaczewski had just turned 89 at the time of this concert last October in the Festival Hall and is supposedly currently "the world's oldest working major conductor" (no doubt someone can contradict that). There is certainly no indication of waning powers in this performance and every proof of his expertise as a Brucknerian. Not one for pulling tempi about, he conducts a firm, steady, controlled account that flows and breathes naturally. At nearly seventy minutes, it is closest in style, timings and conception to Karajan's studio recording although the analogue sound of the latter is rather muddy and brittle - however, that is on my CD and I believe a re-mastered version is now finally available. Quite the reverse is true here: the sound is brightly lit and rather too close, robbing the music of some of the numinosity the score demands. The opening bars lack some the hushed mystery of Karajan or the aureate, Wagnerian glow of Knapperstbusch in his astonishing live recording from 1949 with the VPO.

The opening of the Adagio shares a disadvantage also found in that Knappertsbusch recording, being marred by audience coughing and the previously mentioned closeness of the recording, which makes the violas sound a little wiry. Beautifully played as it is, it does not quite achieve the perfection of Giulini's account with the BPO in 1985 or Sanderling's Stuttgart performance in 1999, although the four Wagner tubas are wonderful. Skrowaczewski is presumably borrowing from the Nowak edition in his deployment of cymbals and triangle at the climax of this movement; otherwise, we are not told whether the Nowak or Haas edition, or a combination thereof, is being used, though editorial issues in the Seventh are the least contentious of all the symphonies.

Sanderling also takes a more whimsical and Mahlerian approach to the Scherzo, whereas Skrowaczewski eschews both this and the more deliberately powerful and imposing effect achieved by Karajan and Giulini, aiming instead for a nervier and more driven presentation of the hectic triple-time theme.

His treatment of the galumphing first subject in the Finale with its wide, leaping, octave intervals contrasts neatly with the smooth yearning of the second subject and is closest here to Knappertsbusch's conception. The biggest relative disappointment for me in this recording is right at the end: Skrowaczewski is a little careful and does not emulate the climactic glory that Karajan and Schaller generate - although the latter undoubtedly has the advantage of the churchy acoustic afforded by his recording location, the Abteikirche at the Ebrach Festival. Sanderling runs them close for majesty but his Stuttgart strings suffer from some scrappy tuning.

Ultimately, this remains a very fine performance in sound which is slightly too forensic and for all its virtues does not quite match the finest half a dozen by the likes of Karajan, Giulini, Sanderling and Schaller. I was surprised to conclude that for all that I love those versions, the one which continues to absorb me most is the 1949 recording by Hans Knappertsbusch. It is in remarkable sound for its vintage, but Kna is decidedly more interventionist than is the norm and the venerable sound rules it out as a prime candidate. There are safer options and despite my minor reservations, anyone acquiring this new budget recording is unlikely to be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cautious Seventh that generates an autumnal atmosphere but misses a great deal else 29 Aug 2013
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Aging conductors benefit from the halo effect, where the desire to be kind and respectful trumps critical judgment. As a tribute to Skrowaczewski, who has a British connection through the Halle Orch. and in addition is a lifelong devotee of Bruckner, this live Bruckner Seventh from October 2012 is a remarkable souvenir, since the conductor was 89 at the time. The London Phil. plays well, as one would expect from an orchestra that vies for being the best in the UK right now. Their principal conductor, Vladimir Jurowski, has honed them to perfection. Which means that almost anyone could be on the podium and achieve much the same as Skrowaczewski achieves here.

Some of the music-making does little more than put one foot ahead of the other (as in the lackluster opening of the Scherzo, which never fully wakes up). Dynamics hover around mezzo forte; transitions are lumpy, accents half-hearted. The whole thing gives evidence of less than acute attention on the conductor's part, and the overall mood is cautious. As it happens, Bruckner seems to have become an old conductor's composer - look at the recordings by Knappertsbusch, Tintner, Celibidache, and Karajan, who made a Bruckner Seventh with the Vienna Phil. in 1989 that proved to be his valedictory. The reason for matching Bruckner with the elderly, I suppose, is his spirituality, breadth, and long arching phrases. But he's a composer of detail, too, much of which is neglected here in favor of a generalized, rather placid flow.

If that's what you like, nothing really goes amiss. The recorded sound is very good, and the LPO's playing compensates for a paucity of ideas. To be fair, the aged Karajan had lost his famous absolute control by the end, and he too tends to hover around mezzo forte and resort at times to a generalized flow. For that reason, I'm giving Skrowaczewski's performance a respectful nod and a passing grade - but there are a dozen better readings of the Seventh on disc - three by Karajan alone - some of them surpassingly great.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Skrowaczewski at his best 1 Dec 2013
By J. K. Davis MD - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski has some affinity for Bruckner, best displayed in his cycle of the complete symphonies recorded some years ago. The scattered re-recordings he has produced since are OK, middle-of-the road performances, includiing this one. The sound quality and playing of the London Philharmonic are competent.
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