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Bruckner: Symphony No.9 Live
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GIULINI CARLO MARIA / WIENER P
Top Customer Reviews
The outer movements are certainly broader than is normally the case, but this has the advantage that the listener is able to truly appreciate the luminosity of the scoring and is enveloped in a rarified atmosphere - both intense and meditative. For example, in my opinion the opening minute or two is often taken too fast and played in a matter-of-fact manner, spoiling what is a mysterious and expectant atmosphere where Bruckner gradually reveals the basic elements and building blocks of his musical material. Giulini however really appreciates this opening for what it is, getting the players to build the tension ever so gradually. All sections of the orchestra play with an intelligent sense of phrasing and there is a wonderful variety of dynamic nuance in this performance. The brass are given their head at the major climaxes - but it never sounds raucous or overly aggressive. Giulini is a master at getting this orchestra to vary the tone according to the character of the musical material.
In the scherzo we hear what I can only describe as a chilly wind blowing through the opening section, where the oboe holds the C until the cut-off point. The Viennese players bring an appropriate sense of menace and weight to this movement that is quite intimidating! By contrast the trio section has all the lightness and sparkle that you could want - Giulini revels in the contrast here. How to describe the playing in the Adagio?Read more ›
Time is irrelevant in Giulini's cosmic vision; his command of legato and phrasing ensure that we are never conscious of his profligacy. The quality of both the playing and sound - despite being only 16 bit "red book" standard - is demonstration level. (OK; I detected one minor mini-blip from the brass at 3'03"; it was a live performance and even the VPO are only human.) There is no audience noise and you could not ask for more depth or clarity in the auditory picture. I came late to this masterpiece of an interpretation and it encourages me to explore other of Giulini's Bruckner recordings; what a pity he never made a complete cycle.
The rhythmical exactness of the Scherzo prevents any "lumpiness" at the tempo chosen and this strange movement emerges as an endlessly fascinating flickering light-show of sound: the most obviously original individual part of what is, after all, Bruckner's most personal and disturbing musical statement (yes, even more that the great Symphony 8).
Rich Wagner tubas announce the "Farewell to Life" towards the start of the Finale, and a deeply felt and awesomely articulated movement follows.
This is a very individual view of Bruckner 9. Gripping and fabulously played it is almost ten minutes longer than many alternative recordings. There is a continuing sense of wonder and awe in this performance that is very special. But that said, I believe that this recording needs to be with at least one other in a record collection, like Karajan's wonderful first recording from the mid 1960's Bruckner: Symphony No.9 where DRAMA goes hand-in-hand with structure and mystery (and this disc is at bargain price so buying it as well is not such an over the top suggestion). Giulini's view is the best of its type and for that reason should be in the collection of everyone who loves this symphony.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a remarkable interpretation superbly recorded, which is simply amongst the greatest recordings of this symphony. Read morePublished on 17 April 2014 by Bill Glen
All things have their binary opposite in the universe.
At first glance, the Rabbit of Caerbannog was nothing more than a harmless white bunny in the eyes of King Arthur... Read more
I have no idea whether or not this is the best recorded Bruckner Ninth -- it's not a symphony one listens to lightly, and I don't have much experience with it. Read morePublished on 24 Aug. 2013 by Stanley Crowe