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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 July

Having expressed my admiration for Van Beinum in Bruckner -- his No 8 contains mysterious beauties, superb attention to detail, and clear-cut climaxes -- I turn to his successor with the Royal Concertgebouw, Bernard Haitink, a musician of undeniable gifts. His earlier cycle shows his devotion to the cause without scanning the total heights achieved by others, but later recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic present a broader concept where greater power and authority bring just rewards.

Gunther Wand has this in abundance, although in several recordings of the work he still personally seeks to find the ultimate truth with further findings that justify his faith in Bruckner, 'The Master'. Wand's live performances, mostly on disc, are a constant source of renewed discoveries and never cease to delight concert audiences. Nearing 90, he is a favourite of orchestras and audiences alike.

Otto Klemperer made his last recording of the Eighth with the New Philharmonia, granite faced with that old age feeling of instability within many of the phrase spans.

Then a sudden desire to make a large cut in the Finale caused disbelief amongst admirers. Klemperer's excuse was that he considered Bruckner had too many ideas which he attempted to resolve unsuccessfully. Unfortunately this makes nonsense of the context during the movement's organic development.

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Copyright © 21 October 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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