ANTON BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7 in E Major

by | May 17, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

ANTON BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7 in E Major – Saito Kinen Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa – Philips multichannel SACD 470 657-2, 66:33 ****:

A fine example of Bruckner’s heroic symphonic structures, the Seventh
is in the usual four long movements (except for the Scherzo). It start
off with a long tremolo, a favorite Bruckner device. A long and noble
melody is heard next, which the composer said came to him in a dream –
although it quotes part his own Mass in D Minor! The Adagio was the
composer’s funeral composition for Richard Wagner and it marks the
first time Wagner tubas were used in a symphonic work. There are four
of them plus a bass tuba, for a very rich and very low end sound. The
finale is related to the opening movement and is a big symphonic
movement introducing a hymn-like melody. The symphony very first theme
returns at the end for a fulfilling conclusion. The way Bruckner worked
with repetition is different from all other composers. At times he
seems to be almost prophesying Philip Glass in getting the most emotion
possible out of a repeated passage, and then just when you are about
ready to say uncle there is a tension-releasing progression to a new
section. He’s quite different from Mahler in this regard. There are no
notes on the Saito Kinen Orchestra but as I recall it one of the major
ones in Japan and Ozawa has a close relationship with it. Their playing
is polished and expressive, but I find Gunter Wand and Bernard Haitink
more emotional and exciting. The multichannel sonics are enveloping and

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