Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major is arguably his most popular work, rivaled only by his Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," so it comes as no surprise that several young conductors have chosen to perform it early in their careers. Marcus Bosch, Yakov Kreizberg, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, to name just a few, have essayed this symphony, and now Jean-Philippe Tremblay has joined their company with this 2006 performance with the Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne, possibly to show that this work is not exclusively the domain of an older generation of interpreters, such as Günter Wand, Eugen Jochum, or Georg Tintner. However, it is unlikely that Tremblay's rendition will supplant those of his great predecessors. While this performance is technically accomplished and virtually flawless, it seems unduly conservative in pacing and tentative in expression, as if the depths of Bruckner's pathos and the heights of his lyricism were just beyond the conductor's grasp. That Tremblay strives for accuracy is admirable, and his rapport with the OFC seems to inspire it to play with great precision and a warm, luminous tone. However, there is a plodding quality in this performance that makes it feel restrained, and there is little feeling of propulsion in the fast movements. Tremblay's tempos aren't unusually slow, though there is a slight drag on his beat that makes the music feel hesitant. Also, there are few thrilling climaxes (except for the dubious cymbal and triangle clash in the Adagio, which Tremblay added to the Haas edition) and a general flatness of effect in what should be the most lyrical or plaintive moments. This recording would be terrific to follow with a study score, due to its clarity, but it will not provide the most sublime expressions this symphony can offer; for those, try Wand, Jochum, or Tintner.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107|