BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 9, Blu-ray (2016)

by | Jun 18, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 9, Blu-ray (2016)

Performers: Christian Thielemann cond. the Dresden Staatskapelle
Studio: Unitel Cllassica/C Major 733404 [Distr. by Naxos] (2/26/16)
Video: 1080i color for 16 x 9 screens
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM Stereo
TT: 66 minutes
All Regions
Video: *** Audio: ****

Bruckner’s crowning achievement, well-played and recorded.

Untitel Classica has given us a fine Blu-ray disc with a stirring performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9.

Christian Thielemann and the Dresden Staatskapelle are in fine form here, with a recording to match. I always have mined emotions about these video performances, as sometimes the visuals are distracting in a way that doesn’t happen to me in a real performance. The close-ups can be jarring and take me out of the music, and sometimes I focus on camera technique rather than the orchestra. In this Blu-ray, the camera work is not jarring, and the high resolution video is paired with high resolution 5.1 audio that is very natural-sounding.

The Ninth Symphony was Bruckner’s last, he only finished three movements before his death, and he labored on this work longer than of his other symphonies. It’s thrilling, spiritual, and becomes a summation of all Bruckner’s music written before this. The final movement existed in sketches, but I think the symphony is lovely ending on the extended adagio.

As I noted above, the recording here is excellent. The disc offers a stereo and a 5.1 DTS HD MA track. Both are fine, but the multi-channel version provides a bit more depth.

The Dresden Staatskapelle do an excellent job. A live performance recording is always a challenge, and the orchestra plays with emotion and precision. It’s certainly among the best Bruckner symphonies I’ve heard (and seen).

My only complaint is this is an expensive disc, (about $40.00 online) and there is just a bit more than an hour of music. It should have included some extras, or perhaps another shorter Bruckner work.

Thielemann and the Dresden Staatskapelle have recorded most of the Bruckner Symphonies, and I think they have a broad understanding of the music. Combined with a well-directed and recorded disc, this offering is a winner except for its brevity.

—Mel Martin

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