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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Stand still you ever-moving spheres of heaven", 12 Mar 2012
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) (Audio CD)
..."that time may cease".

Good though Giulini's live account with the Berlin Philharmonic from around the same time as this studio recording may be, this is the Ur-text of Bruckner Eighths, stunning in its power and exaltation. It is longest of the seven versions I own but by far the most compelling and certainly the most glorious in both recorded and orchestral sound. The live recording has some balance problems in that the timpani are too recessed - a fault first pointed out by my fellow reviewer Bernard O'Hanlon - and there is no beating the warmth and impact of this 1985 DG recording. The brass of the VPO is particularly sonorous but it would be invidious to pick out any section in so vibrant and virtuosic an orchestra. This is a recording to set alongside Giulini's Ninth from the same stable. Wonderful though Karajan's 1957 Eighth is for EMI, this is even broader and stiller - "O weiter, stiller Friede! So tief im Abendrot" indeed. I would not want to be without either and in certain moods I wonder if Giulini isn't teetering on the brink of stretching the tempo of the Adagio just a little too far compared with Karajan in that he takes fully two minutes longer than any rival - but Bruckner's majestic line can take it. I'm no expert on orchestral ensemble but I hear no blips or flaws in the VPO's execution, only superlative ensemble that still allows every detail to emerge, from the throaty grumble of the double basses to ecstatic keening of the violins in the Adagio. This must be in the top half dozen of any Bruckner-lover's collection.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power and the glory, 22 Aug 2009
By 
rjmcr (manchester, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) (Audio CD)
With all due respect to the other reviewer, describing this recording as "very satisfying" seems to be damning it with faint praise. I was dumbstruck after my first hearing, even though I'd played the justly-lauded Karajan set only two nights before. You don't so much listen to these discs as cower at their feet, in awe of the power, beauty and grandeur of Bruckner's epic vision. This is easily as great a recording of this mighty symphony as Karajan's with the same orchestra, but I love this one even more. There's an added frisson of electricity throughout, more than a touch of terror in the great climax of the first movement and spine-tingling beauty in that great, melancholic adagio. The last few bars of the finale, with the huge, swinging brass chords ringing out like the bells of a vast cathedral, are quite overwhelming! Giulini takes things a little slower than Karajan but, far from dragging, the performance seems to grow shorter with repeated listening, such is the coherence of his reading. It almost goes without saying that the playing of the VPO is simply peerless throughout, as is the recording quality, which perhaps reveals a little more orchestral detail than the Karajan.

Karajan is the household name in this repertoire but don't overlook this set or you'll miss out on something really very special indeed. A towering performance.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 26 Jun 2010
By 
Marcolorenzo (Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) (Audio CD)
This is the performance of this symphony that I consider the best. It is more glowing, more beautiful and more refined and articulated than the Karajan version, and more powerful and more energetic than the Wand versions (Berlin PO & NDR). The sound of the brass is almost unbelieveable and the famous rich tone of the Vienna Philharmonic strings perfectly balanced against this magnifient brass. The VPO strings outdo themselves here on this recording. Gramophone said of this recording that the luminiosity of this performance is "like sun shinning on Carrara marble". I agree. The tempi are grand; and the whole effect is one of spaciousness filled with great luminosity and architectural splendour. The performance is without flaw at every level. A classic performance that will never be exceeded - a gigantic and awesome accomplishment. The best version in my opinion of this symphony. An essential recording. MAGNIFICENT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giulini's 1984 Bruckner Eighth., 9 Sep 2012
This review is from: Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) (Audio CD)
Giulini's Vienna recording has the edge in depth of feeling and spiritual nourishment. His conception of the piece is immense. It is undeniably slow, but utterly compelling.

Giulini brings a spirituality to the score and a depth of emotion, especially in the adagio, that are unmatched elsewhere. The early digital sound is warm and clear.

REFERENCE RECORDINGS: This one, Wand 1987/NDR (RCA), Karajan/Vienna (DG), Böhm (Palexa), Suitner (Berlin Classics) and Furtwängler 1944/Vienna (Tahra).

No modern conductor extracts the kind of transcendent reading that Furtwängler does.

For myself, I'll stick with Furtwängler as the supreme historical interpreter of this masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an almost sculpted glowingly beautiful account, 17 April 2014
This review is from: Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) (Audio CD)
Simply supporting the other favourable comments, as this is a reading of incandescent beauty. Giulini conducts a performance of visionary stature and secures a highly distinctive response from the VPO. Highly recommended along with his VPO recordings of the ninth and seventh symphonies.
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying, 10 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) (Audio CD)
Giulini perhaps gives the impression of showing you the outside of Bruckner's construction rather than the 'architectural' bones that seem more popular these days. But his view is also very satisfying, and his late Bruckner works for me.
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Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini)
Symphony No 8 (Vpo/Giulini) by Anton Bruckner (Audio CD - 1999)
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