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3.8 out of 5 stars
Celibidache Edition - Bruckner
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2012
As a lover of Bruckner symphonies I would recommend whole heartedly these recordings.
If you are a newcomer to these symphonies then these recordings are NOT for you however they represent some of the greatest of all time.

There is so much written about Celi's slow tempi, yes he is slow in symphonies 7-9 but it works! Celi knew what he was doing and it is wonderful. There are many reviews about these symphonies and I don't want or need to add to them, suffice to say that for the money buy this set if only for symphonies 3,4 and 6. Number 3 is glorious in every way, the brass section is particularly wonderful. Number 4 is the greatest performance of a Bruckner symphony you will ever hear. When I first heard this I wondered if I ever knew the work!! The coda to the last movement is awesome indeed.

Symphony 5 is wonderful, the slow movement particularly is glorious. So often this symphony can sound four square but not in Celi's hands. It is not slow and is one of the best performances available. Number 6 is a rival to the great Klemperer recording. You need both I think. Celi is at his best in the slow movement - so gorgeous. It is in every way the equal of Klemperer except the last movement where Celi is a tad under par to my ears.

Enough has been said about symphonies 7 - 9 suffice for me to say I really enjoy listening to them. Comparisons are irrelevant and invidious. You love or hate these and I love them, Celi's interpretations work! Very serene, timeless. No-one else could ever bring off performances such as these. When I listen to them I wonder how they could be played any differently. That is the mark of great performances. These are live performances - I doubt any conductor these days would be brave enough to see into Bruckner's soul like Celi did.

In short - an absolute must buy if only for number 4, there is not a performance that goes anywhere near it!
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2011
This is not a review, as such, as a belligerent troll is given to attacking my offerings - so I'll keep it short and succinct. The set has been eagerly awaited by many Brucknerians; Celibidache - a Furtwangler disciple - is known for his unique/slow tempi and his aversion to the recording studio - hence the fact that all recordings in this set are taken from live performances. Suffice it to say, this is an indispensable set and provides quite a contrast to the classic Karajan and Jochum sets. Celibidache exerts phenomenal control over the entire span of these epic monuments in sound - the foundations are deep and strong, supporting the massive structure above - some may say that the whole edifice is about to come crashing down, but that's all part of the Celibidache experience!

Neophyte Brucknerians would be well advised to acquaint themselves with either Karajan's or Jochum's accounts of these symphonies before venturing into the more esoteric realms of maestro Celibidache's Bruckner symphonies. However, those who demand a more challenging experience ought to purchase this set without delay - all inveterate collectors' will be familiar with EMI's dreaded deletion axe!

EMI has had problems with a missing disc in this set - they have had problems at their CD pressing factory which affected only a small quantity of stock, so I expect that potential purchasers can now buy with confidence. EMI kindly replaced my missing disc and were most apologetic - so at least this customer's faith has been restored.

I hope this is of some help to those of you who are dithering, either because of the missing disc fiasco or Celibidache being perceived as an acquired taste. A Bruckner set of rare distinction, not to be missed, on any account!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2011
Sergiu Celibidache's Bruckner is like no other. Some want no part of it, to them it is just wrong. True, in his quest to find the heart of the music, Celi often slowed the tempo, and this could be extreme. Celibidache was a follower of Furtwangler in believing in the organic experience of live performance over the recording studio, and he also followed Furtwangler in viewing a composition as a living whole, and in seeing tempo as flexible, at the service of the whole rather than dictating it.

Celi led the Munich Philharmonic for 13 years, from 1982 to 1995, and the live Bruckner performances collected here span that entire range, selected as some of the best of a large number of recordings. After reading Celi's 8th called "the single best recording of anything ever made," I decided to see what could possibly attract that level of praise. What I found was practically unbelievable in its sound quality, power, and spiritual effect. (I find it fascinating that Celibidache and his Zen connected so strongly with the devout Catholic Bruckner -- there is a basic spirituality that transcends the particulars of doctrine.) The next of these recordings I heard was the 4th, and it too captured something out of the ordinary. So I took the leap and bought this entire set, thinking I might kick myself if it went out-of-print before I could decide.

Over this time of hearing more and more of Celi's Bruckner, I have heard other versions of Bruckner as well. Jochum, Wand, Harnoncourt, Bohm's 4th, Sinopoli's 5th, Klemperer and Gielen's 6ths, Boulez and Gielen's 8ths, -- there are many superb recordings. I wouldn't recommend Celi's Bruckner as the ONLY Bruckner. But if you haven't heard it, you are missing something spectacular.

Few, I suspect, will take the word of a few potentially demented reviewers, in the face of much hostile opposition. So I suggest you try my approach -- sample the 8th first. If you are unmoved, so be it. But if it has the same effect on you it has on me, I'm warning you that this set may be next...

This 2011 reissue is a true Brilliant-style box with 12 discs and no jewel cases, so it fits on your CD rack much better than the original, which was quite a monster!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 November 2014
Going to extremes: shouldn't that be the composer's decision?

I've been living with Celibidache's Bruckner almost as long as with Anton's. I remember the old EMI box, like a great square brick and so expensive it had to stay behind the counter. Today, assuming you're not downloading this stuff for free, the slimline reissue is a bargain and as such irresistible for any serious Bruckner enthusiast. YOU HAVE TO HEAR CELI. But will you live happily alongside him? With the passing of the years my scepticism grows.

I was lately listening to the performance of No.6, one I've tended to think the finest available. There are commendable qualities, punch and grit to the playing, a sensitive and very alert, a very wise response to Bruckner that is above all patient. The music streams out like an over-running bath. There's the rub. Sometimes Celi's notorious breadth is all sound but the context or rather expression is lost and the effect is drained of meaning. Then suddenly he has us back again, so was it a momentary lapse, on the musican's part or mine as listener? The answer may lie in those obscure theorizings you find in the Celi literature. Epiphenomena without psychology. What is certain is that the stereo is warm and ample-bodied, the orchestra's reaction to Celi's astonishingly personal Bruckner nothing short of heroic.

I used to find Celi, when it came to other composers, a maker of purple patches which didn't disguise the dull or routine elsewhere. I'm beginning to find an emphasis on short-term effects even in these epic readings of already epic symphonies. The introduction to No.4 is magical like no other, but the finale? What is added to No.8 when Karajan or Wand are taking their bows at the 90 minute but Celi's team won't be done for another quarter of an hour? Have they carried the audience higher, further? Maybe today, maybe not tomorrow or the day after. No.9 gets lost in space. No.7 sinks in the bog, dragging the audience downwards. Only No.3 and the Mass No.3 sit confidently on my shelf, close to the intensely passionate Stuttgart 5th (1981).

So, once again, you have to hear these concerts if Bruckner's your man. Whether Celi had any business inflicting such tiresome interpretations of Nos. 7-9 on the Munich public is a matter for debate. He (Celi) never meant us to hear them like this and in the long run you may not want to stick with him; or like me, you may say yes-no-yes-no-maybe and watch your money disappear. A while back I was listening to the radio when Bruckner's 9th began playing, an excerpt only, very gravely beautiful and quite eloquent, but painfully prolonged. I guessed right: Giulini. They both loved the music very much, but the audience doesn't expect to be forgotten.

4-stars cos it's such a great deal, but in the long run, 3 for the interpretations.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2011
Finally having the Celibidache Bruckner set at a reasonable price is going to be great for those Brucknerians (like me) who couldn't afford the individual symphonies or the old, full-price box. The performances on here are not new to many ears; they're idiosyncratic in the extreme, but they are incredibly powerful when they come off.

But wait, there's a problem! EMI have messed up totally. My box came with two CD11s (the conclusion of the 9th and a discussion sequence) and no CD1 (the 3rd). Twitter and the blogosphere suggest that this isn't just a problem for me.

If EMI knew about the problem, they really should have done something about it... and if they didn't, that's just as bad!
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I am very pleased to announce that I am absolutely satisfied with the Product i.e. Bruckner Symphonies 3 - 9 along with Te Deum and Mass No.3 in F minor (12 Cds) performed by the Münchner Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Sergiu Celibidache. I have received exactly what I was promised in the Amazon.co.uk website. This is the best Bruckner set of all times and one cannot praise it enough. I am grateful to EMI and Amazon that they have made this Classic Box set available again. 5 Stars ain't enough, a whole constellation of stars ain't enough. A must listen before you die.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2011
These extraordinary concert performances will probably fail to attract new admirers to Bruckner. Rather, their unusually slow tempos are likely to bore the "uninitiated" listener. On the other hand they are so densely invested with mysticism and magic that a benevolent and attentive listenener can not escape their spell. If you are new to Bruckner, I would recommend the recordings of Karl Bohm (DGG) and the rare Furtwangler ones before moving to the Celibidache cult!
My box was flawless as pertains to its content.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2011
I also got 2 copies of disc 11 and none of disc 1.

This is the second dodgy EMI box I have received recently - I would ask what has happened to this once great company, but I have also received faulty boxes from Sony!

PS Amazon have been very helpful
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on 6 April 2015
Very good CD, very good service!
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on 21 May 2015
Awesome music in expert hands.
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