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A select overview of major Bruckner Symphonies
and interpreters on disc, by BILL NEWMAN
(with special reference to a rare recording by Rudolf Kempe)


<< Continued from last week

The start of the Finale is a reminder of Kempe's great 'Ring' cycles in London and Bayreuth. The theatrical surge is remarkable as the galloping horses in Bruckner's vision subtly correct their gait as the music attempts to gain momentum. Why do certain conductors thereafter lose the thread and start speeding again? Or like the ailing Klemperer disengaging any further interest in the composer's complex developments by slowing down in frustration during several changes of subject, key modulations and other things. This is a marvellous moment, superbly worked out from the outset, each venture into new territory hardly suggesting the final outcome in C major.

For Kempe and his Zurich players the consistency of their endeavours parallels Bruckner's genius.

This is largely absent in Bruckner performances today -- Wand, Sawallisch, Sanderling, Giulini, and Blomstedt are notable exceptions. Problematical structural and tonal balances can lead to wrong conceptions, yet I wonder how many younger conductors are aware of, or acknowledge, debts to Bruckner's great symphonic tradition, and how they should merge their personalities into discovering the composer's insights and involvements.

Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra were anxious to make a recording, but funds were not forthcoming.

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Copyright © 28 October 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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