Composer: Anton Bruckner
Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: Bernard Haitink
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 255 MB
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor
01. 1. Feierlich. Misterioso
02. 2. Scherzo (Bewegt lebhaft) – Trio (Schnell) – Scherzo da capo
03. 3. Adagio (Langsam, feierlich)
There are various version of symphonies by Anton Bruckner conducted by Bernard Haitink, one of his most inspired interpreters. And here we are, at the start of the digital era, with this sumptuous recording of the Ninth, made in the magical acoustic settings of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in November 1981.
Haitnik’s vision is far-sighted and this recording is a must-listen. The loftiness of the first movement is crowned in its coda with the fabulous timbres of the Dutch orchestra: the brasses are breathtaking. A real stairway to heaven, the peroration of the first movement has a frisson thanks to its panoramic view, its exceptional spatial amplitude, its serene ocean of silky strings, the irresistible impression of being bathed in luminous and spiritual peace.
The Scherzo that follows is terrifying and seems to throw open the gates of hell, with a demonic, wordless “Dies Irae”. The jumps between octaves by roaring trombones hurl us into a chaos redolent of a Hieronymous Bosch painting. The final Adagio, the last page of this incomplete symphony, gives a contrasting vision of a pure and serene paradise. Bruckner is laid bare here, in his faith, in his doubts and in an existential distress that has him crying to unanswering skies. And a great bravo must go to the Philips sound engineers who have – as they are wonted to do – created a recording that is equal to the work and its performers.