Simone Young / Philharmoniker Hamburg

Bruckner: Sinfonie Nr. 5

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With this outstanding recording of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Simone Young and the Hamburg Philharmonic complete their live audiophile cycle of all 11 symphonies on Oehms Classics. Throughout the series, Young has recorded the original versions of the symphonies, and the differences have been most dramatic in the Third and Fourth symphonies, though this 1873-1875 version of the Fifth is rather close to other versions in Bruckner's hand. Even so, it is the most singular of the symphonies in its austere style, single-minded purpose, and taut formal organization, and it is Bruckner's finest achievement in counterpoint, notably in the Finale, which is both a multi-theme fugue and a sonata movement of overwhelming power. While ending the cycle with this monumental work might suggest that Young has saved the best for last, few would dispute that this is one of her finest performances and a stirring summation, bringing to a close her 10 years as artistic director of the Hamburg Philharmonic. This hybrid SACD is highly recommended and is required listening for all Brucknerians.

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