Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

Anton Bruckner: Symphony in F minor

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You've got to love a composer so humble that he called his first symphony the double zero. But that doesn't mean you've got to love the double zero. Because Bruckner was 39 when he wrote it, the double zero is hardly a youthful work, but it nevertheless has the virtues and vices of a youthful work: it's original and odd, it's courageous but clumsy, it's occasionally inspired but more often a composition exercise. And while you don't have to love the work, you have to admit that Stanislaw Skrowaczewski loves the work and this 2001 recording proves his love. With the dedicated playing of the Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner's double zero sounds more convincing than it has in its few earlier recordings. Although there's not much of the mature Bruckner -- arguably the most deeply spiritual composer of the nineteenth century -- in the work, Skrowaczewski lets the listener hear its hints and intimations. The equally early Overture in G minor sounds even less like Bruckner but, at least in this performance, it still sounds pretty good. Oehms' sound is big and warm and deep.

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