Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra/ Günter Wand – Profil PH04058, 58:04 **:
Volume 10 of a Günter Wand-Edition series on this new label, this CD
was co-produced with the Southwest German Radio Network, SWR. I’m
at a loss to explain why it was issued, because there is a later and
much better version with Wand conducting the North German Radio
Symphony Orchestra on RCA Red Seal, co-produced with NDR.
(60365-2-RC) Both were recorded during live concerts due to
Wand’s preference for that. The SWR project dates from l979, is a less
exciting performance and even a bit draggy in places though it clocks
in at five minutes shorter than the RCA CD. Also, though recorded in a
basilica which probably had reverberant acoustics, the dull-sounding
recording doesn’t transmit them.
The NDR version dates from l987 and was recorded in Lübeck Cathedral
with a magnificent acoustic clearly preserved in the recording. The
performance is more dramatic and with greater dynamic range. The
capacity audience is so enthralled one wouldn’t know they were present.
Wand tended toward the original versions of the Bruckner symphonies. He
wanted emancipate them from the structural and orchestrational “fixes”
imposed on them over the years and present them as “pure” music (Wand’s
adjective). He strongly felt the spiritual dimension of the scores,
which he said would shine thru when they were heard as the composer
originally conceived them. It’s surprising that with his deep
involvement with Bruckner’s symphonies that Wand never conducted any of
the Mahler symphonies so often linked with Bruckner.
– John Sunier