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Bruckner: Symphony No. 5
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 5

1 Nov. 2010 | Format: MP3

£7.49 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 16 Nov. 2010
  • Release Date: 1 Nov. 2010
  • Label: BR-Klassik
  • Copyright: (C) 2010 BR-Klassik
  • Total Length: 1:15:42
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0048CJRWI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,132 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is no applause to mar the end of this transporting performance of Bruckner Five; one must assume the final bars are from a studio take, or that the audience were uniformly transfigured. I expect you will be too.

Haitink, despite being eminent and high profile, has never been about glamour (neither has Bruckner) and anyone taken in by Abbado's frankly overrated and cock-eyed performances last year really needs to hear this concert from the world's foremost Bruckner conductor. This is his third Fifth, the others (Amsterdam, Vienna) generally nla. The second movement has gotten quicker over the years, which might disappoint some, but what fascinates here is the new perception that it is the the long outer movements that are in fact the slow ones, the middle movements the ones that dance and leap. Kind of like Mahler's Ninth, there is a reversal of expectation, but Bruckner's more cunning for being in a sense also mislabelled. Remember Robert Simpson's comments about the adagio mood of No.4? The scherzo, oft in danger of becoming a pounding bore, has always been a Haitink specialty and here, as in the earlier movements, I was gratified by the balance and transparency of the playing and the BR recording from Philharmonie. It should be said that there are remarkably eloquent solo and sectional contributions throughout (e.g. the principal oboe) but ample weight and power in the tuttis.

What is perceptible above Haitink's previous recordings is the sense of organic rather than architectural growth in the symphony's conception in performance as a whole. More majestic oak rather than cathedral stonework.
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Although Haitink is undoubtedly one of todays most distinguished conductors with long experience in conducting Bruckner with the worlds finest orchestras, for me there is ultimately a sense of his performances, from Beethoven and Bruckner to Mahler and Shostakovich, never quite realizing a true greatness. I know this term is over used, and in a certain sense inaccurate, perhaps a better term would be overall integrity and interpretive honesty, but for now 'greatest' seems fitting, and it certainly registers a recognised semantic charge. To put it rather crudely Haitink 'should' be a 'great' conductor. He certainly has intergrity, and a kind of subjective modesty in concert, with a clear, economic conducting technique in the gestural sense, never any hint of audience pleasing histrionics, sensationalism,or conductorial narcissism. So what is lacking? For me Haitink's predilection for a certain restraint, which can add to a performance of say a Mahler symphony, which unfortuanately often attract conductorial distortion and indulgence. Toscanini often demanded more 'fire', more drama either in rehearsal or in actual performance. And I find this 'fire', dramatic commitment, to be largely lacking in Haitink's conducting.Perhaps too much restraint, too much toning down of a climax say, can be as debilitating as too much interventional excess; distorted dynamics etc. Especially in Bruckner.

This latest Haitink Bruckner five with the superb Bavarian Radio orchestra, very much encapsulates Haitinks strengths and weaknesses. After an ethereal opening adagio the build up to the main allegro is excellently timed, but it needes to be more sharply contoured with more accented brass and timpani. I wasn't overwhelmed in the way I am overwhemled by Gunter Wand, or Hans Rosbaud here.
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Format: Audio CD
I regard Bruckner's Fifth as his greatest utterance. It's less music and more cosmology. If the first chapter of the Book of Genesis had gone missing, it could serve as a substitute.

Dedicated and sober, Bernard Haitink is a known quantity. Rarely one to summon fire from heaven, he delivers rock-solid performances with all the fluency of Fedex. That the Bruckner Fifth is charged with the majesty of God - or the concept thereof - is beyond him. There's not an ion of visceral excitement in this superbly played, patient and well recorded performance. Like so many others - even the legendary Furtwangler - he falls for the sucker-punch in the "slow movement"; much to the satisfaction of Usain Bolt, the sprint finishes in 16'07". Come the finale's coda, the Chorus of Giants is respectful and devoid of transcendence.

Ever so ominously, Barenboim's second cycle with the Berliners could be likened to a string of mass-produced sausages (say, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8) but the Fifth was exceptional (even if the slow movement is another misfire) Bruckner: Symphony No. 5. There, the Chorus of Giants sounds like a who's who of Scripture where the One enthroned makes all things new. Much the same could be said of Karajan '76 and Jochum '85.

So why tarry with this?
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