Marcus Bosch / Sinfonieorchester Aachen

Bruckner: Symphonies 0 & 00

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Marcus Bosch has made a name for himself as a leading conductor of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, and he has recorded them for Coviello since 2003, producing a series of remarkable SACDs of the original versions. Approaching the end of the cycle, Bosch and the Aachen Symphony Orchestra present the least performed symphonies, the so-called Symphony No. 0 in D minor, "Die Nullte" or "Annulierte," and the "Study" Symphony in F minor, which is confusingly numbered as Symphony No. 00. (The "Study" Symphony was composed in 1863 and predates the other symphonies, but "Die Nullte" was composed in 1869, between the First and Second symphonies.) Aside from these issues, these symphonies are interesting steps in Bruckner's development and respectable in their own right as coherent pieces, though neither has become as beloved as Bruckner's most popular symphonies, the Fourth and the Seventh, nor as revered as the Eighth or the Ninth. To that extent, casual listeners may find this package to be non-essential, and collectors of the whole series will buy it, if only to round out the series, but only true Bruckner mavens will appreciate the value of these scores and Bosch's efforts to interpret them. As always, the playing is committed, and Bosch draws out rich and resonant performances that seem deeply felt and thoroughly understood. However, because the venue is St. Michael Church in Aachen, the sound is echoic and sometimes quite blurred in the loudest passages. Performing the later symphonies in churches is common, due to the presumption that the composer was striving for organ-like sonorities in his brass-heavy scoring, but in these early works, which seem rather more like Schubert or Schumann than the mature Bruckner, the music would be better served by drier acoustics.

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