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Those early experiences calmed my hang-ups. Karl Böhm and the Dresden Staatskapelle did the honours in Symphonies 4 and 5, Eugene Ormandy and the Minneapolis in Symphony 7, and Siegmund von Hauseger and the Munich Philharmonic in Symphony 9, but side changes were awkward and off-putting.

Decca then contracted Hans Knappertsbusch, an autocratic Bruckner specialist with his own ideas about the score editions to use. Symphonies 3, 4, and 5 sounded rather peculiar for this reason, although the Vienna Philharmonic had that compelling post-war sound, with older players still in commanding positions.

I didn't realize then just how variable a conductor who disliked rehearsing could be. I will save his No 8 until later.

Meanwhile, an ancient-sounding transfer of Symphony 2 had re-appeared on the Saga label conducted by Georg Ludwig Jochum, younger brother of the celebrated Eugen, and Symphonies 1, 2 and 3 directed by Volkmar Andreae were in limited circulation on the Philips label.

The Third, designated as the Wagner Symphony, deserves honorable mention, despite Bruckner's endless frustrations, and revisions that involved much labour.

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Copyright © 8 July 2001 Bill Newman, Spoleto, Italy




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