Valery Gergiev / Münchner Philharmoniker / Münchner Philharmoniker / Munich Philharmonic Orchestra

Bruckner: Symphony No. 3

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Continuing his cycle of Anton Bruckner's symphonies with the Munich Philharmonic, Valery Gergiev has recorded the 1888/89 version of the Symphony No. 3 in D minor, in the critical edition by Leopold Nowak. One of the most frequently performed and recorded editions of this much-revised symphony, and shorn of the numerous Wagner quotations that burdened the 1873 Urfassung, the Third is still an outsized work, running to over 55 minutes in this live recording alone, and sometimes in excess of an hour in other performances. However, Gergiev doesn't push the music to an unusual degree, and the tempos feel evenly paced and somewhat relaxed, so listeners who are familiar with the symphony won't be thrown off by any surprises. Indeed, if there are any savings on time, it seems due to the efficiency of the playing and the lack of long pauses, rather than to any speeding on Gergiev's part. Instead, this performance should be noted for Gergiev's sensitivity to the inner parts which he emphasizes, paying attention to the interlocking rhythms and how the counterpoint creates subtle changes in harmony. While Gergiev doesn't startle with any daring innovations or exaggerations, he proceeds with diligence and care, providing a valuable account of the symphony that few other recordings can match for its fine details and sympathetic treatment.

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