Herbert Blomstedt / Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Anton Bruckner: Sinfonie Nr. 5 B-Dur

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Herbert Blomstedt and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig are almost ideal interpreters of Anton Bruckner's music, and this super audio release on Querstand is a splendid presentation of the Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, due to its vibrant and communicative performance and deep, spacious sound. Of all of Bruckner's vast symphonies, the Fifth is the most rigorously structured and carefully developed on clearly stated themes, and Blomstedt's discipline and control hold the music together along its trajectory, despite the potential pitfalls of numerous pauses, sudden key changes, and other hazards. The orchestra plays with alertness, clarity, and high energy, and Blomstedt urges it forward to build and sustain momentum, which is practically the symphony's raison d'être, since the three early movements act as an extended build-up for the magnificent fugue in the finale. In addition to its formal and contrapuntal aspects, this is a powerful expression of Bruckner's emotional world, which some have taken to be deeply religious (the Fifth has sometimes been tagged with the unofficial nickname, "Church of Faith"). But in a sense, the impulse behind the work can be understood in the experience of its majesty and gravitas, and the Fifth can be appreciated best as absolute music. The superb reproduction of this SACD really matches the grandeur of the music, so audiophiles and Brucknerians alike will be overwhelmed by the riches contained here. Highly recommended.

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