Simone Young / Philharmoniker Hamburg

Bruckner: Sinfonie No. 9

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As Simone Young nears the end of her audiophile series of the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner on Oehms Classics, she and the Hamburg Philharmonic offer a compelling live performance of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, which consists only of the three finished movements the composer left at his death. Through the course of the cycle, Young has used the original versions of Bruckner's often revised and frequently edited symphonies, though there was little choice with the Ninth, which exists essentially in the 1894 version, notwithstanding various editions with minor changes, and different completions of the Finale which have been excluded from this project. Young's interpretation comports with modern convention, insofar as this is a weighty and dark-hued reading, though she has taken pains to make all the details fully audible, even in the brass-heavy first movement and the pounding Scherzo. The Adagio is most transparent, due to Bruckner's rather open scoring, so the multichannel recording lends an even greater feeling of spatial dimensions than may be detectable in the previous movements. On the emotional level, Young conveys the work's deep seriousness and power, and gives it the strength and musical cohesion it needs to avoid drifting into murky brooding. Beyond that, the Adagio is perhaps the most moving for its stirring climaxes and hymnlike writing for strings, which are among Bruckner's most sublime passages. Bruckner fans by now should know all about this extraordinary cycle, and collectors should note that it concludes with the Symphony No. 5, released separately from this recording.

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