BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Rafael Kubelik – Audite

by | Nov 6, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Rafael Kubelik – Audite Stereo-only SACD 92.543, 57:48 (Distrib. Albany) ****:

Recorded live 9 November 1962, this inscription of the so-called “Wagner” Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Edition 1877/78) enjoys a terrific sonic resonance, the opening D Minor carpet of sound that opens the symphony rife with allusions to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The trumpet motif in the same key, answered by string and woodwind triplets, carries a forward momentum of resolute power, Kubelik (1914-1996) in one of his most expansive moods. If the direct Wagner allusions have been edited from Bruckner’s score, the instrumentation and atmosphere, especially in the mysterioso passages, broods and sizzles with Wagnerian drama. The sleep motif from Die Walkure remains at the end of the slow movement. Athletic, songful, fervent, these epithets characterize Kubelik’s driven conception. Several of the martial periods in the first movement anticipate the energies of the A Major Sixth Symphony. The organ diapason proves as much an aspect of the Brucknerian symphonic tapestry as ever: the orchestral groups arrange themselves in motley blocks of color, the Bavarian orchestra achieving a panoply equal anything we have from the Berlin Philharmonic.

Whatever the structural defects of the first movement, the Adagio, Scherzo, and Finale: Allegro bear the hallmarks of Bruckner’s mature style, and they exude a vigorous confidence in Kubelik’s reading. Monumental hymnody for the Adagio, a luminous procession in deep, somber hues. Organ technique infiltrates the movement, wrought in occasionally polyphonic improvisations. The Scherzo bristles with tympanic energy, the strings and brass in high fettle. The trio swaggers in both demonic and Schubertian delight across a pastoral landscape. Great trumpet work. The Finale picks up the dervish fury of the Scherzo and proceeds to combine heraldic fifths and tripping laendler figures. Huge, violent convulsions follow, only to resolve into the easy gait of the Linz countryside. The extended coda manages to keep just inside of hysteria, embracing a bittersweet vision of the composer’s personal Valhalla. A real testament to Kubelik’s powerful sway over large forces, this disc. [And a testament to the ability of hi-res to bring out details in such a complex scoring…Ed.]

— Gary Lemco

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