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Larry Kart

Bruckner breakthrough

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After many years of respectfully (if that's the right word) trying to get into Bruckner at a (so to speak) gut level -- one where I really feel the "why" and "how" of his music without having to engage (or try to engage) in e.g. willful retention of themes over longer gaps in time than my memory can handle -- I finally got it, listening to Skrowaczewki's Saarbrucken Radio Symphony 7th (Oehms) twice in a row, the second time at a significantly higher (and for me just right) volume level than the first time. What I heard/what happened I don't quite have all the words for yet, but one thing I can say for sure -- the more sotto voce episodes (and there are some) blossomed like flowers, and once I inhaled their perfume, everything else began to fall into place; or rather, I began to feel where all the other places in the work are, why they are where they are, and why they are the ways that they are (notably, to my surprise, now nothing sounded bombastic), all this without engaging in games of thematic retention that are beyond my mental capacity.

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I've yet to be particularly moved by Bruckner's symphonies (any of them, really) -- but I've always liked (just shy of "loved") singing his various choral motets -- which lovely, and very well written imho.  I'm not sure I've really tried hard enough to get into orchestral Bruckner, to be honest -- but for whatever, he and I have just never clicked.

But the one and maybe only Bruckner piece I'm really ga-ga for, is his string quintet -- which I really clicked with a good 20 even 25 years ago.

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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2 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I've yet to be particularly moved by Bruckner's symphonies (any of them, really) -- but I've always liked (just shy of "loved") singing his various choral motets -- which lovely, and very well written imho.  I'm not sure I've really tried hard enough to get into orchestral Bruckner, to be honest -- but for whatever, he and I have just never clicked.

Strongly believe that symphonies 5 + 7 - with ear-catching musical motifs - are a good starting point for an deepened acquaintance with Brucker .... beneath Skrowaczewki's performances - mentioned earlier by Larry - I highly recommend the following recordings :

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Edited by soulpope

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My Bruckner breakthrough continues with this, a great performance of what is commonly regarded as his greatest work -- i.e. Symphony No. 8. I have  five recordings of this work -- Skrowaczewki's, this Horenstein, the old Vox Horenstein, Michael Geilen's, and Gunther Wand's Lubeck Cathedral live recording, and while the two Horensteins are similar in approach, the others couldn't be more different from Horenstein's BBC recording (haven't listened  to  his Vox 8th recently) or from each other. 

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5 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

My Bruckner breakthrough continues with this, a great performance of what is often regarded as his greatest work.

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Great performances  .... for more  breakthroughs try both readings by Carl Schurricht/VPO from 1961/1963 (EMI) ....

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Bruckner is something of a hobby of mine.

I have Bohm (3,4), Eichhorn (various), Jochum (1-9), Skrowaczewski (1-9), Klemperer (various), Wand (9), Horenstein (8,9) ...

and more recently I've enjoyed Manfred Honeck's Bruckner with the local Pittsburgh Symphony, and his recordings with the same band are good too. 

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5 hours ago, psu_13 said:

Bruckner is something of a hobby of mine.

I have Bohm (3,4), Eichhorn (various), Jochum (1-9), Skrowaczewski (1-9), Klemperer (various), Wand (9), Horenstein (8,9) ...

and more recently I've enjoyed Manfred Honeck's Bruckner with the local Pittsburgh Symphony, and his recordings with the same band are good too. 

Eichhorn's Bruckner recordings are treasurous ....

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Another Bruckner 5 performance deserving to be heard .... :

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Though I know they're not that similar, I've always felt my my *initial* reactions to Mahler and Bruckner were both pretty similar.  Long, sprawling works, heavy on chromaticism.  "OMG, where is this going, and why the hell is it taking so long to get there??!!!"

For a good 5(?) years Mahler never made any sense to me (I only dabbled a bit listening at home, but did hear 3 Mahler symphonies live over those early years for me, back in my 20's).  Then quite suddenly, Mahler almost overnight "made sense" to me when I was in a performance of Mahler 8 (in the chorus).  Not that it made any sense as we were rehearsing it over 2 months.  But the week it started to really come together (when all the double-choir stuff started getting rehearsed together), and then with the actual orchestra -- and then the one (and only) performance -- VERY SUDDENLY Mahler just "clicked" for me.  I think I heard Mahler 5 (live) a few months later, and I was totally smitten.  I've even heard Mahler 7(!) performed live 3 different times -- and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  Same with Mahler 9.  Evening-long performances, that felt like barely 45-minutes.

 

I've never had that happen with Bruckner for me, at least not yet.  And I have to confess, I've not had the energy to try and force it (through home listening) in 15-20 years (or I guess you could say "not ever", which would also be technically true).

I'm not a Mahler fanatic, but I'm half of one, certainly.  But oddly, as I said upstream several posts, the only Bruckner I've ever really clicked with are his 10+ motets (or however many there are, and I've sung 6-8 of them over the years).  And his one string quintet -- which is just glorious.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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@Rooster_Ties : no chance to force acquaintance with Bruckner, but this majestic music is worth to be tried out recurringly ....

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Another "breakthrough enhancer" .... :

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Don't know about breakthroughs or anything like that, but I was in the room when the DSO did Bruckner 7, and it was nothing short of mesmerizing. Also in the room for Bruckner 8, which was very good, but not mesmerizing.

I think that's the key to any "breakthrough", you have to be seduced in a way, mesmerized, drawn into it past the point where your attention might otherwise dissipate, and then your resistance slowly fades until, boom, it's gotcha. And then, it won't let go, nor do you want it to.

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Wish I would have been in this room .... :

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Btw concerning Bruckner 6 .... :

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Another masterful execution .... :

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Greatness .... but not for the faint hearted ....

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