* BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 4 in E-flat, “Romantic” – KlangVerwaltung Orchestra/ Enoch zu Guttenberg – Farao

by | Aug 8, 2009 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 4 in E-flat, “Romantic” – KlangVerwaltung Orchestra/  Enoch zu Guttenberg – Farao Multichannel SACD 108051, 70:18 ***** [Distr. by Qualiton]:

This is the final edition of the Bruckner Fourth, the so-called Stichvorlage which was done in 1888, and given the most definitive arguments for its acceptance as Bruckner’s final genuine thoughts by American musicologist Benjamin Korstvedt. (See the excellent article in Wikipedia for a wonderful summation of the varied editions and recordings over the years – The KlangVerwaltung Orchestra was formed in 1997 to specifically provide an outlet for the interpretative desires of conductor Enoch zu Guttenberg, surely one of the first times such an association had that kind of a generous start from musicians! The orchestra itself is made up of players from the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, State opera Houses of Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Hanover, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Berlin German Opera, German Opera of the Rhein, and various German radio symphonies as well. They play beautifully; this being a live recording I expected to hear more clams than I did, often common in Bruckner concerts. There are just a few minor flubs that are quickly corrected before becoming egregious, and hardly noticeable, certainly not distracting. Farao provides graciously spacious and invigorating surround sound of the highest technical quality, captured in Vienna’s Grand Hall of the Musikverein.

But the most important thing about this release is the interpretation. Conductor Guttenberg wants to go a step beyond the traditional and oft-repeated notions of the composer’s fascination and inspiration with nature, so overwhelmingly present in Bruckner’s music, perhaps here as in no other symphony of his. It is the spiritual aspect of the music that Guttenberg believes provides the key to penetrating what Bruckner has to say, and he manages this by paying ever so close attention to the overall structure and balance of the work, not for one moment losing sight of the trees because of the forest either. Phrases are not left untouched; if the music calls for a slight retard, a chord needs an unmarked diminution, or a slight pause to better delineate passages, this conductor is not afraid to do it. Lest I make him sound willful and even outspokenly provocative let me assure everyone that this is not a do-it-different-just-to-be-different recording; this is in fact a deliberately thought out and persuasively presented and recorded product of great interpretative nuance, gloriously rendered.

I can’t say that I would replace all of my other favorites with this one; certainly Bohm, Sawallisch, Masur, and Karajan have great things to say in this music. But Guttenberg, having taken the time to examine it from a deeper and more personal level does come up with a new and perspicacious reading that adds to our knowledge of this work and its recorded legacy. Bruckner fans will already be ordering it.

— Steven Ritter

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01