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on 10 June 2012
A wonderful new version of Bruckner 9 with the final movement a revelation. It changes the whole balance of the work from a sad farewell to a triumphant exit. It is a must for anyone who loves Bruckner's music.
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on 29 July 2013
I got this as I was interested in how the symphony was finished posthumously. The booklet goes over my head a bit but still a good piece of music well played. I have the Wand version - unfinished. And like them both.
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on 24 May 2012
I'll keep my views short. I've been fascinated by the SPCM development of the finale over many years and I was really looking forward to this recording of their final revision. And what a let down! I'm no expert as to the playing of the BPO, it sounds ok and the symphony goes along nicely until the final part of the finale - a change from earlier versions, I believe from another reviewer, done so as not to break the momentum of the chorale. I had to stare at the CD player - I just couldn't believe it.
For me the best SPCM finale has got to be the 2007 revision, as played by the National Theater Orchestra of Mannheim, Friedemann Layer - Conductor. It's really good!
And why does Simon Rattle have to appear on the cover? Why not a picture of AB himself?
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on 22 October 2012
I have several recordings of the original Bruckner 9th Symphony, but this recording with the added 4th movement is well worth buying. Those familiar with Bruckner will notice a resemblence to the 8th Symphony, where the last movement contains themes from the previous ones. The notes/writeups are also very informative concerning the background to the completion of this amazing work.
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on 6 December 2014
My copy of this arrived forty minutes ago and so I have just finished hearing only the fourth movement but I really wanted to add my thoughts to all those who have written more considered and more helpful reviews. Be warned that I am one of those people who have never felt the that the ninth was fine incomplete, always feeling a bit 'cheated', though obviously not blaming Herr Bruckner, and do I have several versions of this symphony, including Harnoncourt's three movement version with the extras concerning the fourth movement, but which does not, to be clear, include the completed movement.

I cannot comment on the sound because I have only heard it on this computer, so please look at what other's have said.

I started playing the first movement to gain an idea of Rattle's approach, and thank goodness, it is not ruined by a pretentious slowness to fake profanity (for a truly horrible example including swooning strings see the 'You Tube' of Bernstein's ninth) but a flowing pulse, with clear woodwind, and with necessary grandeur. After a few minutes I switched to the fourth movement . My initial impression as it began was of disappointment at the strangeness of it but then I reminded myself that some of Bruckner's other music (which I now like very much) also seemed that way at first, and the instant pleasures increased as the movement proceeded. The coda was much better than I anticipated from what some others have indicated. I have now re-started from the first movement. Will I do anything else today but listen to this recording?

I would not, absolutely not, want to hear this symphony in the incomplete version again.

Should you buy it? i don't know but this only costs a few cups of coffee and if you would rather not have Rattle's performance (but why not?) then there there is the Naxos alternative which other people like but which is split across two discs, and costs even more cups of coffee.
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Halfway through the adagio of this new Bruckner No.9 I picked up a book on number symbolism, curious to see what it might say about the importance of 4 as opposed to the more obviously mystical 3. [Order, rationality, symmetry, solidity, earthbound things]. And what about the No.3? [Creation, sacred trinities, birth-life-death, past-present-future, mind-body-spirit; dualities, the soul, and the end.]

I'm mentioning this not only because I doubt the affected concern over a work being supposedly unfinished but also because I think Sir Simon's espousal of the fourth movement completion (courtesy Samale/Phillips/Cohrs/Mazzucca: another quartet to put with the Mahler 10 scholars) has created a new problem and a rod for everyone's back. The symphony now swells to an 83min duration (22:40 against Eichhorn's 30:11 from 1993, by the way), making it more of an endurance test for all concerned, if it becomes standard practice to include it. Despite the Berlin Philharmonic being the biggest fish to tackle one of the numerous completions of the finale - the VPO/Harnoncourt offer a workshop of the surviving pages - on the strength of this recording I don't think a four movement Ninth will become standard.

Sir Simon's previous forays into Bruckner (Nos.4/7) have been good but not great, sinking beneath the prior claims of conductors like Wand and Karajan. Tackling a four-movement Ninth of course gives him a fresh distinction and in some respects I think this is a better recording from Philharmonie than the previous one of No.4. All ears may be directed towards the new addition but a failure to convince with the opening three movements is inexcusable and I found myself writing the words 'industrial noise' with regard to the timpani rolls and brass volleys. There isn't a problem of haste but I noticed episodes of low current, almost disinterest, in the first movement and the third, and I felt the orchestra were playing well but with nothing like the conviction or the passion inspired by Wand, for example.

I note in the booklet Rattle's use of the phrase 'forensic musicology' to describe the 20 years(!) of work on this version of the finale by SPCM. In my lexicon, 'forensic' goes with crime scenes and dead things. Autopsies. What you should know is that there have been numerous recordings of the work in progress, as well as other completion attempts, most notably Carragan's. See [...] for a list of recordings. I feel there are some mixed messages contained in the CD booklet: Bruckner as radical yet progressive tonality is too great a leap to be credible. Really? The adagio signals with its return to the beginning tempo that a grand finale must follow. Really? Carragan's version 'analytically deductive and compositionally liberal', while SPCM offer an 'arrangement, founded on the design emerging from the reconstructed sketches'. Hmmm.

The Berlin Philharmonic are, past and present, steeped in Bruckner. Masterful and fascinating recordings of the Ninth go back to the 1940s. The fact that they were willing to look at this latest, maybe final, performing version by SPCM inspires confidence. EMI's colour design implicitly refers back to Sir Simon's celebrated Mahler 10 with the same orchestra. The linking of Bruckner and Mahler is for some habitual and it is I think a bit lazy and misleading. It would be wrong to equate the work done on Mahler 10 with Bruckner 9. The finale as presented here is not Sibelius' divine mosaic, more of an old jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing, put together as successfully as possible. The final image? There isn't one. Quotations abound, there's much of the mood of Bruckner's Wagnerian period of the Third and Fourth Symphonies, and in its distressed state it might remind you of the little known first versions of the Fourth and Eighth Symphonies, but as a satisfying resolution of No.9, hardly. A free-standing composition based on the fourth movement fragments, such as von Einem's, might have value as a reminiscence of Bruckner, but despite the presence of Rattle's BPO, this latest completion has no more authority than those to be found on other labels.

Suggestion: If you want to hear a Bruckner 9 with something new to say, from a conductor steeped in 20th cent. repertoire, I suggest you try this: Symphonie No.9
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on 31 July 2012
Sir Simon Rattle does it again. Along with the BPO, Simon has managed to get inside the music, and bring out colours and emotions that others may have failed to do. The finale is certainly very interesting, and keeps much of the flavour it should do, many will continue to argue its authenticity and value, I myself am very happy with it.

It seems to be the best finish that can be hoped for to this magnificent piece of music.

5 stars for SR, 5 stars for BPO and 5 stars for the fourth part.

This is one CD that will be played many times and enjoyed indefinatly.... well done to all involved.
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on 19 June 2016
Great performance and good to hear the symphony in it's intended 4 movements.
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on 5 November 2012
I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with this performance of the completed symphony. Fine playing
and excellent sound, as you'd expect.
I was interested to see how the interpretation of the first three movement would be changed by the addition of the fourth
and I believe that any differences are subtle and justified. It might take a bit of getting used to but definitely
interesting and worthwhile.
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on 15 November 2012
I have had Walter's interpretation of this symphony (in its incomplete form) for a long time, and still love it; but Rattle surpasses it in his interpretation of these first three movements. Heis now able to add the reconstructed final movement, and treats this, too, with utter conviction. I believe in this interpretation as much as I do in Rattle's version of the Mahler Tenth Symphony.
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