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Similar musical acknowledgement also comes from Daniel Barenboim, who has recorded a cycle with the Chicago Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic. Fine in many respects, I do sense the presence and respect for the older man's way with Bruckner in certain aspects.

Tintner's performance features an unusually long third movement -- 31 minutes. How beautifully the line is sustained and how glorious the music's glow. Hearkening back to Bruckner's supposed naivety, there are tiny woodwind calls -- the sound of birds, perhaps -- in the final preparation for the last movement coda. The conductor emphasises them strongly against pianissimo strings to marvelous effect, more so than in any other interpretation on disc.

Small inaccuracies should not be the concern of reviewers of live events. Barbirolli's Hallé performance from a Royal Philharmonic Society concert in 1970 (reissued by BBC Legends) instead emphasizes his belief in the work as a whole, and his total identification with the sense of occasion.

Power and total objectivity are the hallmarks of Knappertsbusch and the Berlin Philharmonic live in January 1951 (Tahra), but different versions varied considerably.

Horenstein and the London Symphony Orchestra from the Proms (BBC Legends again) -- stunningly monumental -- could elsewhere confuse the issue by the unexpected introduction of new thoughts and diversions of tempi. In common with Furtwängler, the extraordinary has to measure up to the validity.

More consistent by far is Eugen Jochum, born to become that superb Brucknerian who built from sound, yet individual, approaches by moulding his musical resources into one consistent entity, where inflections of tempi, poetic phrasing and those magnificent climaxes continued to be finer than ever during a long distinguished career. There is little to choose between the Berlin Philharmonic version (DG) and the Staatskapelle Dresden (EMI).

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Copyright © 22 July 2001 Bill Newman, Rome, Italy




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