Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 3, 4, 7 & 8

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Recorded for Teldec between 1995 and 2001, these exceptional live performances of Anton Bruckner's most popular symphonies feature Nikolaus Harnoncourt with three of Europe's most venerable orchestras. Since the conductor is the constant here and well-known for his integrity and consistency, the different qualities of the performances are determined in large part by which orchestra is playing. It's easy to hear the differences between the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's bright and transparent sound in the Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1877 version) and the Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic" (1878-1880 version), the Vienna Philharmonic's warm and gemütlich playing in the Symphony No. 7 in E major, and the Berlin Philharmonic's weighty and rather dense presentation of the Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1892 version). While Harnoncourt always brings clarity and penetrating insights to any work he touches, the orchestras have their own traditions of playing Bruckner, and it seems likely that Harnoncourt worked with each ensemble to find the most agreeable approaches. While some Brucknerians may have a few qualms about the choice of editions, particularly fans of the Urfassung or original versions who will accept no substitutes, Harnoncourt performs well-established revisions (in three instances edited by Leopold Nowak) that will be familiar to most experienced listeners.

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