Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bruckner's 4th in a beautiful, haunting in-house 1993 recording

If you've already heard some performances of Bruckner 4th symphonies,
 please consider pretending you never did. Then press play.

Anton Bruckner
Symphony No. 4 in E-flat "Romantic"

Munchner Philharmoniker
Sergiu Celibidache, conductor

Live in-house recording from Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan 
20 April 1993, shared by Ray (who also made up the art!)

I Allegro molto moderato (Bewegt, nicht zu schnell) 
II Andante, quasi allegretto
III Scherzo: Bewegt
IV Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell 

Ever since I came across this recording, I've been haunted by it. Maybe it's an early Halloween celebration as such. What I mean is it keeps reminding me of some detail or weighting of textures that I want to hear again, then again a week later. It helped to rediscover an already favorite symphony.What I mean in the comment about pretending not have ever known a Bruckner 4th before listening to this one, is to incorporate a bit of Zen philosophy, known to be dear to Maestro Celibidache:

"..Not knowing immediately opens into endless possibilities. When you know, you’re very limited. As Suzuki Roshi says, the beginner’s mind has countless possibilities. The mind of the expert is very small. It shows an unwillingness to really hear anything..."

Ray boils it down:
"...Even for Celibidache, the tempo for the coda of the Finale is glacial 
but somehow it becomes almost hypnotic.  To my ears it works but you 
really must clear your mind of every other performance of the Bruckner 
Four you have ever heard and take this one on its own terms. 

But shouldn't you really do that with any performance? "

Right on.


Guillermo said...

149.3 MB .zip-ed folder

Anonymous said...

The link doesn't work. We get only the txt-file with your comments.

Can you please restore it?

Anonymous said...

If you open the text file you'll find the link to the actual download inside it

maready said...

Thanks for this --- it'll be interesting to hear. I'd imagine that his performances of the Bruckner Symphonies in Munich stayed more or less the same, and I am a big fan of the EMI releases of representative performances from that period. But, if this in in-house recording presents a different perspective on the monolithic sound of the unofficial "official" Munich releases, it should be very interesting indeed.


maready said...

I have to thank you one more, having listened to the post! This is truly terrific --- I am speaking as a confirmed fan of the conductor, the orchestra and the EMI Bruckner recordings, of course, but this is truly a wonderful recording, even better than the 'official' release and the in-house recording really DOES make a difference. Everything is on a human scale, it never sounds ponderous and even the humor comes through better here. Great recording and I have to agree --- the Finale, not one of Bruckner's best, is actually mesmerizing at this tempo; it still doesn't really hold together, but at this speed you don't notice the overall structure so much as the little pleasures and inventions along the way ... thank you all very much, Guillermo, Ray and, of course, the original taper.

Guillermo said...

maready what would we do without you? You speak my heart on this symphony. I also have a soft spot for those EMI Munich recordings, the two disc 7th in particular. It has to be a trick of relativity that the timings run so disproportionate to the level of impatience the performances elicit. With so many Bruckner recordings tempting me to press the FF control or simply drift off, I think maybe Celi is moving the orchestra at near light speed through the detail and expanse of Bruckner, and we end up hearing the result in a sort of slow-motion?

maready said...

" ... I think maybe Celi is moving the orchestra at near light speed through the detail and expanse of Bruckner, and we end up hearing the result in a sort of slow-motion?"

That's a very evocative way of putting it!

I wanted to warn you that I was so excited by this recording, I did something I don't usually do --- I put a post on my bog specifically about this performance and linked to your site. (I did NOT, of course, re-upload it for my site! I wanted to make sure you realise that it is a link to your blog, not an actual offering on my blog.)

Thanks again --- I've gotten out both the EMI and the DG Celi Bruckner recordings to listen again -- I agree about the EMI Seventh; I also really love the Third and Eighth in that set. (That was the first recording I ever heard of the Third; as you can imagine, all the other performances, even ones I like, sound a little rushed to me!)

crab9 said...

Contained urgency. Truly a wonderful performance, and I'm very grateful to you, Guillermo, for the opportunity to hear it. Of course, the one thing that would make the gift even greater would be a lossless version.. Any chance?

billinrio said...

I would love to listen to this Bruckner 4th. I can download the zipped file OK, but without the password I can't open it. What's the secret? Thanks.

Brian said...

Interesting recording. Thanks. This is my first exposure to this conductor. I'm hearing details I've missed before. And the coda of the fourth movement is the most unique interpretation I've heard.

David said...

Just to offer you another thank you - with Celibidache, Bruckner is always an adventure & time often seems somehow irrelevant. This was another of those occasions - thanks to you & Ray for the chance to share the experience.