Music and Vision homepage

CD Spotlight

Mr Valiant-for-Truth

Enjoying Bruckner's Eighth
under Günter Wand -

'It really is that good.'

Günter Wand - Bruckner Symphony No 8. (p) 2001 BMG Entertainment


Death and taxes we know about. Another potential 'certainty' to toy with is the pre-eminence of Günter Wand as a Bruckner conductor. We had four previous commercial recordings of the Eighth Symphony from him. Now that he knows all of death and no more of taxes, it is fitting to celebrate the achievement that these final thoughts constitute. Although the catalogue boasts many other fine interpretations (from Horenstein, Celibidache and, of course, Karajan as the best representatives of his own generation), Wand's unassertive magic with this work seems to inhabit a different realm of knowledge and identification. With, on this occasion, an orchestra of undisputed virtuosity -- in rude good health and giving 110% -- it is difficult to imagine why the recording industry shouldn't now close the shutters on this piece for a decade or two. Bruckner 8 : sorted!

Wand uses the 1890 Haas score with the 1887 passages restored. This means that if you prefer your Bruckner of less heavenly length in the Nowak edition, then Tennstedt or Jochum will serve you better. This, however, is music-making that utterly convinces of the rightness of Bruckner's more extended compositional logic. Of course, when it comes to the massive finale, there will always be those listeners who, with the best of wills, just don't 'get it.' I'm reminded that Beecham had little patience for this composer. Of one symphony, he said, 'In the first movement alone I took note of six pregnancies and four miscarriages.' Patience, however, is exactly the quality that this performance both distils and extols. It is homage and celebration.

Continue >>

Copyright © 24 February 2002 David Wilkins, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK






 << Music & Vision home      Recent reviews       English Hymnal >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.