Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good Bruckner 9, but not Wand's absolute best, 4 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No 9 (Audio CD)
There has arguably been no finer interpreter of Bruckner's 9th Symphony over the last few decades than Günter Wand, and a number of his performances have been issued on CD. This particular version was recorded live in September 1998 and collectors may well be tempted by the fact that the orchestra is the Berlin Philharmonic, with whom Wand worked with fairly regularly in the last decade of his life.

The performance of the 9th Symphony in this 1998 recording is warm, powerful and profound. The 86 year old Wand secures superb playing from all departments of the orchestra, and the recording quality is excellent.

However, there are at least three performances of Bruckner's 9th which I think are even finer. First and foremost among these is Wand's performance with the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, dating from 1979. It is a dramatic, powerful reading and an emotionally engulfing experience. Currently only available as part of a collected edition of the nine Bruckner symphonies, the quality of the 1979 performance almost justifies the purchase of the whole set.

Another outstanding version is Carlo Maria Giulini's 1998 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic. It is an immensely spacious, intense and spiritual performance. I've not heard a more moving version of the coda of the Adagio than the one on this recording.

Finally, there is Daniel Barenboim's 1991 performance with the Berlin Philharmonic, which finds a satisfying balance between the emotional power of the Cologne Wand performance and the spirituality of the Giulini. Like Wand's Cologne recording, it is currently only available as part of a nine disc set. However, Barenboim's set also has outstanding performances of symphonies 5 and 7 and is altogether very recommendable.

Although Wand's Berlin performance is impressive, ultimately I do find the other three versions more satisfying.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Oct 2011 21:58:29 BDT
Carlo Maria Giulini's 1989 recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, not 1998.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013 01:35:34 GMT
Apologies for the typo. The Giulini recording was in fact made ten years earlier than I inidicated, in June 1988.
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