Enjoying Bruckner's Eighth
under Günter Wand -
with DAVID WILKINS
'It really is that good.'
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.
Copyright © 24 February 2002
David Wilkins, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK
CD INFORMATION - BMG CLASSICS 74321 82866 2
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