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Missed it by [that much],
This review is from: Bruckner: Symphony No.8 (Audio CD)
The Iceman emerged from the gloom of his IRCAM bunker in Paris to deliver a first-rate Bruckner Eighth in 2000 - he followed it up with an equally compelling performance in 2005 in St Florians itself with the Vienna Philharmonic Bruckner: Symphony No.8 (Boulez) [DVD].
There is much to like about Boulez as a Brucknerian: he is patient and unfussy; his grip on the architecture is masterly; he illicits a lustrous response from the Vienna Philharmonic.
This performance is dogged by a systemic failure: one climax sounds like another. This is especially true of the first movement where the epic fortissimo before the Totenuhr sounds no different than its predecessors - it's like Pierre cannot quite shift from fourth gear into fifth. The same comment applies to the last movement: there is a monochromatism to the climaxes.
The mere mention of the word 'metaphysics' causes Boulez to reach for his well-thumbed copy of the Darmstadt Manifesto. It is somewhat unfair to decry this performances as being less spiritual than the Furtwangler or Karajan alternatives; it works well enough on its own terms.
You will not be shortchanged if you acquire this disc even if, on my part at least, there is no great hunger to hear Boulez in other works by Bruckner.