Christian Thielemann / Staatskapelle Dresden

Anton Bruckner: Symphonie No. 7; Richard Wagner: Das Liebesmahl der Apostel

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As one of the most popular of all Romantic symphonies, Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major is clearly the big draw on this 2016 two-fer from Profil, though its companion piece, Richard Wagner's Das Liebesmahl der Apostel (The Love-Meal of the Apostles), is well worth having because it is seldom performed. Christian Thielemann leads the Dresden Staatskapelle in the symphony, giving a fairly traditional interpretation of the 1944 edition of Robert Haas. The warm lyricism and radiant sonorities of this piece are emphasized, and Bruckner's familiar music is lovingly treated by the orchestra. For Das Liebesmahl der Apostel, Thielemann directs the combined male voices of seven German and Czech choirs, though much of Wagner's "Biblical scene" is subdued and reflective, and the recording gives little indication of the placement of the choirs in the concert hall. (This may reflect the weak effect the multiple choirs had at the 1843 Dresden premiere, which disappointed Wagner.) Any recording of Das Liebesmahl der Apostel by itself would be unlikely to attract attention, so pairing it with Bruckner's Seventh is shrewd marketing. But Thielemann deserves credit for reviving this neglected work, and collectors will want it because it is a rarity.

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