Neumann: Bruckner - Symphony no.1 (FLAC)
Neumann: Bruckner - Symphony no.1 (FLAC)

Composer: Anton Bruckner
Performer: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Conductor: Vaclav Neumann
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Berlin Classics
Size: 246 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101 (Linz version): I. Allegro
02. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101 (Linz version): II. Adagio
03. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101 (Linz version): III. Scherzo: Schnell
04. Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101 (Linz version): IV. Finale: Bewegt, feurig

arguably the greatest performance

Two giants stand atop the list of recordings of this work: Neumann, and Karajan. Neumann’s performance is angular and big in every way, and its dynamics range from piano to fortissimo, avoiding any pianissimos; and even the fortissimos are never jarring or harsh. Karajan’s performance is rounded and mystical, with dynamics ranging from pianissimo to fortissimo, and with some fortissimos that peak on ear-shattering chords that leave the listener breathless if not in shock. Although Karajan’s performance sounds more aggressive (even dangerous), it is as calm as Neumann’s, but I find it somewhat more intense because of its mysticism. Neumann’s Bruckner is more worldly, and is more beautiful, even sensuous, whereas Karajan doesn’t shy away from the ugly, violent, features of this extraordinary symphony — the angriest piece of music I have ever heard, if “wrathful” isn’t the more appropriate term for it. (How can such a mighty rage be merely “angry”? Bruckner was one-of-a-kind, and he really shook the house down in this symphony.)

My view of Bruckner is that he would be ecstatic about the Karajan recording, but would love the Neumann, and would hug both conductors and be moved to tears by both performances. Then, if he were to conduct this work himself, I imagine that the result would sound like the Karajan — if Bruckner could conduct that well. (After all, Bruckner’s music is more other-worldly than sensuous; I think that Karajan was born to conduct Bruckner, especially the 1st and the 8th; by contrast, Neumann was definitive on Mahler, who was satisfied to be merely a human, not a cosmic deity.)

Both performances, in other words, are awesome, must-haves for any Brucknerite. And both conductors, Neumann and Karajan, are among the all-time elite of the conductors’ art.

2 Comments

  1. This site now holds the inofficial world record for Bruckner power and bliss. Nowhere else such a fantastic can exist, surely! :eek:

  2. Thank you very much for another wonderful Bruckner recording, You have many interesting posts here.

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