Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Wiener Philharmoniker – Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 (2004) MCH SACD ISO + Hi-Res FLAC

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Wiener Philharmoniker – Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 (2004)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 73:06 minutes | Covers & PDF Booklet | 4,34 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Covers & PDF Booklet | 1,28 GB
Live Recording / Features Stereo and Multichannel surround sound

The word ‘vision’ is much misused these days yet to talk of Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s ‘view’ of Bruckner’s Fifth won’t quite do. This is more a realisation than an interpretation, musically vivid but spiritually serene.

I’ve seen it said that the real Bruckner is to be found in his themes, not his developments; that he was an embodier rather than a seeker. Not the least remarkable feature of Harnoncourt’s performance is his refusal to manipulate the structure of the long outer movements – the transitions in particular. This is risky. Scholars worry about what they call ‘disjunction’; so do conductors and listeners. I confess that after first hearing the performance I was more than happy to turn to Franz Welser-Möst’s more theatrical, structurally explicit reading, recorded live with the London Philharmonic in Vienna’s Konzerthaus during the 1993 Whitsun holiday.

Harnoncourt, however, drew me back to his serene – I suspect Baroque-inspired – view of this ‘Symphony of Faith’. Serene but now slow. By the clock, this is one of the quickest Fifths on record, though only the Adagio is taken more swiftly than usual. It was here that Bruckner began the symphony in the pit of despair in 1875 with a keening oboe melody which he marked ‘Sehr langsam’ but scored alla breve. Harnoncourt treats it allegretto after the manner of a threnody by Bach or Mozart, whose Requiem is quoted during the course of the movement. Furtwängler, surprisingly, took a similar view of the movement, as does Welser-Möst.

The ‘liveness’ of the live performance owes much to Harnoncourt – his persona fuelling the music-making not the concept, which is as it should be – though the superlative playing of the Vienna Philharmonic is also a factor. The light-fingered realisation of the exquisite string traceries is a constant source of wonder; tuttis are glowing and unforced. The hall of the Musikverein helps, too; with an audience present it offers a uniquely natural-sounding Bruckner acoustic.


01. Satz: Introduction: Adagio – Allegro
02. Satz: Adagio. Sehr langsam
03. Satz: Scherzo. Molto vivace (Schnell) – Trio. Im gleichen Tempo
04. Satz: Finale: Adagio – Allegro moderato

Produced by Martin Sauer. Engineered by Michael Brammann
Edited & Surround Mix foe SACD by Philipp Knop
Recorded on June 7-14, 2004 at Musikverein, Vienna, Austria.


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