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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good first three movements capped by a convincing "completion", 2 Aug 2007
By 
Colin Fortune (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
Probably the best solution to listening to this symphony - unless the missing pages of the finale turn up, and let's hope they do - is the one proposed by Nicolaus Harnoncourt on his RCA set. Have a "workshop" at the beginning of the concert: an illustrated talk showing just how much we have left of Bruckner's music. Then proceed with the "normal" 3 movement performance. Even in the dark old days when nothing was generally known about the torso of the finale and the first three movements only were played, the incomplete conception was - and is - very moving indeed. Another alternative is to have a gap between the first three movements and any realisation of the finale. The wonders of the Adagio deserve a good pause for assimilation in any case!

The first three movements are played here very well indeed with an authentic "Bruckner sound" and though neither orchestra nor conductor are well known, nobody should be put off from buying the disc on that account. The performance of the finale actually makes the most cogent sense of the "Italian Committee's" realisation that I have heard - better than Inbal for example. Carrigan's completion on Chandos is fair enough until the horribly coarse coda with the Sousa trumpet but the disc has the advantage of recording of the actual fragments discovered up to the time of recording, so you have a chance to hear what is Bruckner and what is editor.

It is worth getting this recording for the reconstructed last movement alone, as a sort of curiosity. The fact that movements 1 - 3 are so well done is the icing on the cake!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faith Triumphant, 12 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
‘Authenticity’ is a vague idea where Bruckner’s symphonies are concerned. There remain undecidable questions of text and versions in the case of most of the nine. These uncertainties are not all on account of ‘friends’ meddling with Bruckner’s scores after he had achieved what satisfied him as a definitive form of the work. Bruckner was himself a persistent, dissatisfied reviser.
The indisputable fact that the ‘reconstructed’ finale cannot be considered ‘definitive’ is therefore of no overwhelming significance. The facts of the case are that the finale of the 9th was completed by Bruckner in full score up to the beginning of the coda (a fact H. F. Redlich pointed out 50 years ago: ‘Bruckner and Mahler’, Master Musicians, Dent). The finale of Bruckner’s 9th was therefore left in a more complete state than Mahler’s 10th. The thorough notes accompanying this recording present a strong and largely convincing musicological case for this reconstruction.
But what matters more for the listener is whether the reconstruction in the setting of the entire symphony is emotionally and psychologically sound. From that perspective the reconstruction is a resounding triumph. It places the symphony as a whole firmly in the authentic stream of Bruckner’s symphonic visions of faith triumphant; the finale’s coda bringing the symphony, and therefore Bruckner’s entire symphonic output, to a moment of glorious and resplendent magnificence, a summit of transfigured splendour and arrival.
The themes Bruckner builds with in this most magisterial finale are wonderfully characteristic products of his most mature contemplations, certainly there is no evidence of any diminution of his creative skills. The awe-inspiring ‘Choralthema’ (as Bruckner himself refers to it in the autograph score) is one of his most overwhelming creations, magnificent in the strength needed to support the cathedral massiveness of the movement; a movement that teems with the light and shadows of something Gothic and mysterious.
Throughout the symphony Wildner and the Westphalians give a thoroughly convincing performance. Tempi and phrasing are finely judged, the orchestra delighting in an authentically Brucknerian sound-world - magnificent brass and characterful woodwinds. The recording integrates the largest-scale perspective with accurately focused fine-detail - there is wonderful resonance and ‘purchase’ in the string tone at the opening of the Adagio, while timpani detonate with blistering impact (first movement) or whisper with membranous delicacy (when they take up the theme in the Scherzo).
The disc is a revelation! It would have been worse than a waste of time if it had failed to be. This performance comes so near to permitting us to hear a ‘complete Bruckner’ as perhaps makes no odds.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No prizes?, 13 May 2007
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
Look through the NAXOS catalogue and this CD set has been strangely overlooked in the awards stakes. But this is a stunning effort and the finale is just breathtaking. No doubt there are those who may be offended by this completion, but the original three movement work still exists, so why not enjoy a look into what might have been, and wake up the neighbours in the process? Another bargain NAXOS find. 5 stars.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bruckner 9th Without the Finale? Not Anymore!, 31 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
Let me start by saying that I am well acquainted with all of Bruckner's 9 published symphonies (in all their various editions, along with his "0" and "00" study symphonies), his wondrous Te Deum, Mass in D minor and even his rather obscure string quartet & quintet. I know the REAL Bruckner sound when I hear it, so I approached this Bruckner 9th - with newly reconstructed 4th movement Finale - with more than a little apprehension...

...and the fact that the symphony was performed by the provincial Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia (where?) and conducted by Johannes Wildner (who?) and recorded for the super-budget Naxos label (huh?), didn't help in the least to ease my growing uncertainties.

I freely admit that my skepticism was simply shameful!

But I'm overjoyed to report that ALL my unreasonable fears and misgivings were completely unfounded! Make no mistake about it, from opening Misterioso to closing (reconstructed) Misterioso, this is a magnificent recording!

It's so good, in fact, that I can't imagine ever listening to Bruckner's 9th again without the reconstructed Finale! I also can't imagine WHY this recording didn't make a bigger impact when it was released way back in 2003?! The answer is surely a sadly simple one: "If it's not recorded by Decca, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon or EMI, it's surely not worth listening to!"

But if there ever was a recording to place Naxos in the same exalted league as the aforementioned "Big Wigs," this is definitely the one!

Everything from the lovely and completely idiomatic sound of the Westphalia players (I've never heard the VPO sound this Viennese!), the absolutely right tempo and rubato choices by conductor Wildner (Giulini's Bruckner 9th should sound positively lethal after this!) and the shinning glory of that Finale-Misterioso reconstruction (where has this music been all my life?!) combine to create a completely convincing "live" concert experience that has to be heard - preferably with a very good pair of audiophile headphones - to be believed.

For many years, I've held to the "truth" that Gunter Wand's Bruckner 9th, with the incomparable "singing strings" of the Berliner Philharmoniker, would never be surpassed in our lifetime. This Wildner recording may not exceed the ethereal Wand recording, but with the addition of that amazing Finale (which sounds for all the world as if Bruckner himself gave Samale, Philips & Co. a helping hand to finally complete his greatest masterpiece!), and the New Philharmonic Westphalians rising to heights even beyond those attained by the legendary BPO, this is a Bruckner 9th to stand beside the greatest Bruckner recordings of all time!

Musicological, philosophical and moralistic questions aside (and let's face facts: Mahler's incomplete 10th Symphony was reconstructed with far less material than the Bruckner 9th Finale was!), this is one of the most intensely satisfying 82 minutes of music you may ever hear! Please, I beg of you, do me (and Anton Bruckner) a favor and be sure to hear this before your glorious days in the sunshine have forever turned to night.

Highly and extravagantly recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic...... but....., 23 Feb 2012
By 
C. Gray (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
Although I have only awarded 4 stars to this recording, I have no hesitation in recommending it to Bruckner fans curious to know how his 9th Symphony would probably have finished.

Make no mistake, this is a top-notch product: the orchestra, although little known, plays with undoubted virtuosity. The recording from Naxos is crisp and sharp. And I have little doubt that we are listening to the authentic voice of Bruckner in the completed last movement. At 5'20" there is, for me, the most stunning of all Bruckner brass fanfares, mercifully repeated at ~16'.

The format of the discs is sensible. The total running time of 83' is just too long to fit on one disc. So, the original three movements comprise disc one.... if you don't want the completed movement then one doesn't have to put the second disc into the player. Thus we are left with disc two containing just 23' of music: and that is why I award four stars. I can't help feeling that the spare space could very profitably have been filled with a recording of the Te Deum, the close connection of this with the 9th Symphony already being well-known.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearly taboo, 4 July 2010
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
I bought this recording of Bruckner's 9th a few months ago. After spending some time getting used to listening to it in the four-movement form, it now seems completely convincing to me. I decided to see if anyone had reviewed it - and saw that it had a lot of good reviews on Amazon from ordinary listeners- but I can't find any good professional reviews. They all say its performed badly and that the Finale is disjointed.

Well - I would like to add my own opinion - which is that the performance is very good. I also have the Walter recording of the first three movements, which is very good. This recording does not however lose out to Walter - the first two movements are just as exciting and gripping, even at times more exciting. The 3rd movement maybe does not carry as much emotional weight as Walter's interpretation, but maybe that's not a bad thing as here there is another movement still to come. On repeated hearings, the Finale falls into place. It is not disjointed. It is glorious. Obviously Bruckner didn't finish it - and there are bits added by others - but I don't have a problem with that - the point is that I find it convincing to listen to. The Finale of the 5th Symphony also seemed disjointed to me the first couple of times I heard it - now I think its one of Bruckner's strongest Finales.

I can only conclude that no professional critic worth his salt could give this an excellent review and keep his job.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildner's strong performance of the complete Bruckner 9 injects cogency into problematic finale, 5 May 2010
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
This is a splendid achievement: the posthumously-completed finale evinces a cogency that is entirely lacking in, for example, Talmi's recording for Chandos. Having said that, the finale is always likely to seem banal following the three movements beyond which few conductors proceed. In fact, Bruckner was not averse to such seemingly perverse blendings: the Scherzo and Finale of the indubitably successful Symphony 7 appear distinctly slight and banal after that work's two weighty first movements.

Wildner is relatively-unknown but excellent in this age of plenty regarding conductors. In addition to his Bruckner, I have recordings of his Schubert: Wildner's Schubert 9 is a long-breathed, patient performance which emphasizes its status as a precursor to Bruckner' symphonies.

Another point: Wildner's Westphalian orchestra is successor to the Westphalian Symphony Orchestra of Recklinghausen. It made Bruckner recordings under Hubert Reichert for Vox: I have their Bruckner 6 which according to John Berky's superb website originates from the early-1960s. In an attractively natural acoustic - if with somewhat edgy string sound - it is predominantly admirable: an idiomatic recording from a time when such could not be guaranteed for Bruckner. Wildner seems to have built on a successful tradition.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bruckner's 9th in 4 movements, 31 Mar 2011
By 
Mr. N. Hazell (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
I share the opinions of earlier reviewers here that this performance merits a very strong "Buy":
(a) The orchestra are excellent - clearly well studied and rehearsed, and yet sounding fresh. Some of the phrasing in the woodwind is utterly inspired!
(b) The recording is very good indeed: tonally first-rate, plenty of dynamic range, and nicely balanced (the horns are equal to the rest of the brass, and the string and the woodwind detail is still to be heard amid the tutti)
(c) The extra movement (this will take me some getting used to after 35 years of accepting it as a 3-movement unfinished work). At the moment it seems a bit odd and detached, but I will work on it.
(d) The conductor seems to have really got under the skin of Bruckner. Where he occasionally deviates from "conventional" readings, you feel that he does this from the heart, and there are flashes of interpretive genius along the way: more than once I found myself saying "Yes!" to myself, aloud. These more than outweigh the (for me) excessive legato of the opening strings in the first movement - my only surprise on the downside.

For me, Gunter Wand will always be the most sublime of Bruckner interpreters, but this CD shows that there is a place of honour for able conductors with other approaches.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only want one B9 get this one., 16 Dec 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
I also have the earlier Carragan completion of this symphony on Chandos (CHAN 7051) which I enjoy, but this completion is substantially different and probably closer to Bruckner's vision. It is also a first class performance. I think it would be a mistake to buy an incomplete performance when you can have the completed symphony, even though it is not pure Bruckner, because it contains wonderful music which is probably not too far from the truth; certainly Bruckner wanted it to be heard as four movements because he suggested using his Te Deum as an alternative to the 4th movement.
I do not understand why orchestras rarely perform the 4th movement - there is no longer any excuse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother with Rattle !, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) (Audio CD)
Sadly, Naxos have shot themselves directly and uncommonly in the foot.
By pricing this release at 2 CD price - albeit Naxos x 2 - and offering only 23 mins on the second CD,
I am sure they have put off many potential buyers. Hence this glorious performance has very much
slid under the radar. AND Yes, the reconstructed finale is well worth getting to know - it works.
Wildner is a true, honest and pure Brucknerian and conjours up a superb, commited performance from
his orchestra which, while not reaching the sterile heights of the BPO, sound characterful, marvellous and
utterly appropriate to the music.
This is no hyped up, micro-managed sound package..... this is the 'real' [?] thing.
I beg you to listen to these discs - whether or not you have been sucked into the Rattle/BPO
media machine while suspending your own judgement - you will be fully rewarded.
The finale, which somehow in under Rattle fails to convince, has no such problems here.
Also, go for the same forces Bruckner 3 issue , again on Naxos, with both the original and later revised versions
of this underrated work - again, on a double CD.... but equally well worth it.
I can't help feeling these 2 'twice the price' issues have contributed to not hearing more of this
conductor - in Bruckner or other works. A real regret.
If you get half the pleasure from these performances as I have - you feel you've spent your pennies well !
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (with reconstructed Finale) by Anton Bruckner (Audio CD - 2003)
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