Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bruckner 3 Horenstein/BBC Northern SO, 1963 broadcast

Anton Bruckner
Symphony No 3 (1877)

BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
Jascha Horenstein, conductor

Cheltenham July 3, 1963

Who knew? Until now the Bruckner Symphony 3 to me was a little like the Sibelius, Brian and Shostakovich 3rds: worthy of a polite listen, but I was really waiting for the next numbered one to get played.
This recording brings the symphony into focus for me. The B3 is now in my top five Bruckners for what Horenstein does with it here. He clears up the sonic arguments by making some key voicings come to the fore in a logical, progressive way. It simplifies the large scale connect-the-dots puzzle that most Bruckner symphonies can be made of.
I have a similar debt to Barbirolli, whose Mahler 7th BBC Legends recording (with some of the same forces!!) made the structure of that symphony clear in such a way that it has been my fave by that composer ever since.

It is Horenstein, after all, so expect impetuous surges. His work here and elsewhere frequently deserves the label 'volcanic', but with a firm lower register unity when needed- none of that overdone sfumato in the bass regions. Sometimes Bruckner's tonal world is well served by softer attacks, and those disappear into the fabric without undue attention, but overall this is a performance of the awake, tautly involved sort.

EDIT: My enthusiasm got the better of me here again. I listened a few times, got crazy and did not check the availability. Though my admiration for the BBC Legends series is boundless, lately I've not kept up on the releases.
This is available from BBC Legends, although the recording downloadable here is an alternate broadcast source (as evidenced by the partial announcements) and is in any case too good to miss. Please, anyone interested, use this one as an appetizer before getting the official release!

In any case, thanks to Iodekka for procuring this one and making it available.

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