In several of his recordings for Coviello Classics, Marcus Bosch has used the original versions of Anton Bruckner's symphonies, following both his personal preference and a trend among conductors of his generation to favor them over the numerous other editions that have been widely performed for decades. However, unlike its siblings, the unfinished Symphony No. 9 in D minor does not exist in multiple manuscripts or editions, yet presents the special problem of lacking an authorized ending. In performance, ought one stop at the end of the Adagio, which is a time-honored practice? As an alternative, should one tack on another Bruckner work, such as the Te Deum, which has been attempted occasionally, though with little success? Or dare one opt for a scholarly reconstruction of Bruckner's bequeathed sketches for a Finale? This last course is Bosch's choice on this 2007 SACD. The Finale, as realized by Nicola Samale, Giuseppe Mazzuca, John A. Phillips, and Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs, is based on all the extant materials -- including hundreds of completed measures and many more that were partially scored -- and follows, through some cautious deduction, the composer's familiar sonata-form practice. Taken on its own terms, the music holds together remarkably well and is certainly recognizable as Bruckner's in style and development, albeit without his finishing touches. The live performance of the symphony as a whole is compelling, and Bosch and the Aachen Symphony Orchestra deliver it with powerful expression, technical mastery, and great sensitivity to Bruckner's effects. Even if this Finale seems foreign to ears accustomed to stopping at the Adagio, it needs to be heard by all Brucknerians, and Bosch, his orchestra, and the scholars should be thanked for restoring this fascinating artifact.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 9 in D minor, WAB 109|