In many respects, this is an outstanding and beautiful performance. Young's tempos are generally quite broad, and she's not afraid to let them broaden out further in the more inward and contemplative moments of this music, yet the structure remains largely very well knit and cohesive. The first and second movements are absorbing and promise an almost great performance, but with the szherzo, some seams begin to show. Lines are a bit jumbled together, and it's up to the listener to try to sort them out and find some kind of main theme, which is difficult to do at first. The finale likewise lacks the taut organization that would help provide dramatic impact. Other recent recordings, such as Nott's, gain extra power through clarity of presentation, better balancing of instrumental choirs, and firmer, more robust chords. Yes, occasionally I would like to hear Nott ease up and employ broader tempos, as Young does, but overall, I find his presentation more effective. Young's has greater strengths, but also greater disappointments; Nott's is more tightly knit, seamless, and powerful, but (partly due to venue or recording) doesn't achieve quite the atmosphere of mystery that Young's does.
I applaud Young's decision (along with Nott) to record the original version of the 3rd. Some feel later revisions "tightened up" the score, but to me, those revisions sound like a somewhat truncated version of a symphony that was great to begin with (though the revised versions are still worth a listen, by all means).
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This is a very fine disc. Simone Young is a conductor of startling capacity and the Hamburg Phiharmonic is, on the evidence of this and the other Bruckner discs in this series (for example Bruckner - Symphony No 2, a remarkably good orchestra - especially considering that the discs are taken from live performances.
This 1873 Version of Bruckner 3 is the one that was never played or published in Bruckner's lifetime. It owes its preservation to the fact that Bruckner presented a score to Wagner when the latter accepted the dedication of the work, and this document has been preserved in the archives at Bayreuth. Current critical fashion prefers this over the 1878 Version (first performance - utter fiasco!) and the 1889 Version (first successful performance). The reasons for this are in the very informative booklet note (and for simple information about the versions of this work see my review of Georg Tintner's performance at Bruckner - Symphony No. 3 (1873 Original Version, ed. Nowak).
Professor Young scores over Jonathan Nott's recording on Tudor Symph. Nr.3 d-moll because of the richness of the recorded sound, which is at a much higher level, and because of the sensitivity of her conducting. She welds this work into a convincicing whole by a very thoughtful approach to each of the thematic components as they emerge, and a good example of this is at 13.Read more ›