- Audio CD (3 Sep 2001)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Arte Nova
- ASIN: B000005ICG
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Symphony No. 5 In B Flat Major: Introduction. Adagio - Allegro|
|2. Symphony No. 5 In B Flat Major: Adagio. Sehr langsam|
|3. Symphony No. 5 In B Flat Major: Scherzo. Molto vivace (Schnell) Trio. Im gleichen Tempo|
|4. Symphony No. 5 In B Flat Major: Finale. Adagio - Allegro moderato|
Anyway, back to the comparisons. Contenders: Jochum's 1964 recording with the Concertgebouw, recently reissued on Philips, this recording, and a live broadcast of Scherchen with Stuttgart Radio on Arkadia. These three performances are all excellent--and different.
First category: sound. Scherchen, as he (alas) so often does, loses. By far. Jochum is gorgeous analog, BUT, Skrow is gorgeous digital (digital is not always my preferred). Point Skrow.
Second category: orchestras. Scherchen again, as he (alas) so often does, loses. The Concertgebouw is its usual incredible self. Saarbrucken for Skrow is also a gorgeous instrument. Surprise: tie Jochum and Skrow.
Third category: Interpretation. Well, it's a three way tie, for the most part, but for me, IV will determine the winner. Point Skrow.
Jochum, as he is so good at, makes Bruckner's music flow. It sounds so inevitable, beautiful, exciting, interesting, etc. In I, he does surpass Skrow, especially in the introduction, and that first transition.
However, in IV, Skrow and Saarbrucken take the prize: the end of the finale is breathtaking, both in excitement and just pure beauty. I also prefer how he balances his various instrumental choirs and soloists. For example, you NEVER lose the musical thread and argument. In Jochum--and Scherchen--sometimes that argument is muted. The closing pages, though, Skrow gives you other-worldly transcendance. All those themes so masterly composed together, are performed so magically! When the final chord sounds, I feel like nothing else needs be said. We have heard it all.
This symphony was a favorite of Jochum's, so I'm eager to collect the rest of his recorded output (at least one on Tahra, DG, and EMI; I bet there are more lying around). But, wow, this performance will more than suffice if you want only one recording in your library.