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New coda a big disappointment
on 25 July 2012
I looked forward to hearing these lastest/last thoughts on the Samale-Phillips-Cohrs-Mazzuca version of the final movement, at last performed by a top conductor/orchestra combo. In short, this recording is fine, but from a purely visceral point of view, the earlier SPCM revisions, as performed by Wildner and Layer are superior. Why? The ending!
Other reviewers have found the very ending of this latest revision unsatisfactory and I am in complete agreement. Yes the momentum *is* sustained, but it sounds as though it is tacked on in an attempt to finish the movement as soon as possible in case anyone notices it wasn't composed by Bruckner. It almost feels as though the ending was badly spliced in from another recording session. Why did SPCM change their inspirational ending with a pause and a final massive crescendo? This had far greater impact and in fact added to the momentum. The scholars have certainly 'buggered [it] up' as - Bernard Michael O'Hanlon says in his review here on Amazon. The ealier versions/revisions with the pause and the crescendo (e.g. Wildner on Naxos and more recently Friedmann Layer and the National Theatre Orchestra of Mannheim) are overwhelming and far, far, superior in my opinion.
Like Bruckner in his earlier symphonies, it seems the scholars lack confidence in their creation - constantly revising, but not necessarily improving. They have sacrificed heart for head - so their final revision is not their most spiritual.