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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget Harnoncourt as an early music specialist with this recording, 27 July 2009
By 
Klingsor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (Audio CD)
I didn't expect this recording to be as good as it is, but... Somehow I still think of Harnoncourt as a baroque specialist, forgetting his Austrian roots and natural ability to understand this sort of music. And with him all good things come with age... it looks like anyway. I resisted so long to bow to Harnoncourt's Bruckner, but after playing this disc over and over again, I have to give the credit when it's due - this is one of the best Bruckner's 9th of recent years, and probably the best one recorded in SACD format with magnificent surround sound.

Tempi are bit on the fast side, but the structure is all there, magnificent as it should be. Build ups are powerful with lot of tension and H. gives just enough space for his players do develop every phrase unrushed. I was particularly fascinated with the second movement: precise rhythmic pulse is a spot on and the overall sound is an orgy of biting brass. I do have a reservation about treating the middle section (trio) as a piece composed by Debussy on crack, but the impressionistic approach probably can be justified as looking forward of what's to come in European music later on. H. also speeds up some section of the final movement with certain `fin-du-siecle' Viennese grace, not usually associated with late Bruckner. But that creates a strong contrast with sombre and grave episodes that follows, and it really keeps concentration on a high level of alertnes.

Second disc (CD only) is a lengthy lecture by Harnoncourt about unfinished 4th movement. Orchestra is on hand to play all sketches, leaving every Bruckner's devotee in a state of unfulfilled desire for a magnificent conclusion of this seminal work. Interestingly, Harnoncourt finishes slow movement of the symphony as if there is more to come, and the horn player should get some sort of musical oscar for holding that long D at the very end seemingly forever and in perfect pitch! I personally prefer more conclusive ending of the 3rd movement, it is after all Mahler who inspired by this finishes his 9th symphony in the same way with a complete quiet desperation.

And if you like to hear a good recording in a perfectly balanced surround sound, look no further.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essential 4 movement 9th, 19 Dec 2004
By 
Ken Ward "ken-ward" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (Audio CD)
This is a glorious recording of a glorious performance, using the most recent edition of the score (ed. B-G Cohrs), and including essential listening for all those interested in the work as Bruckner envisaged it: nearly all that exists of the finale - and that's a substantial amount. Even without the finale I would rank the performance alongside my favourites, including Jochum, Giulini, Horenstein; but with the finale fragments it enters a class of its own - the only competition being Talmi's earlier version with the finale fragments which is quite an attractive performance, but not a patch on this. Played as a CD the sound is near perfect to my ears. My view would be: don't hesistate: buy it. This is a Ninth of incomparable beauty and integrity, and it seems to be in a different league to Harnoncourt's previous Bruckner recordings.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating discovery, 9 Mar 2009
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (Audio CD)
An illuminating insight into the research that goes into the creation of a great work of art. And a convincing performance to boot!
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Audio CD - 2003)
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