Sergiu Celibidache / Münchner Philharmoniker

Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 3-9; Mass in F minor; Te Deum

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AllMusic Review by James Leonard

What's the aesthetic nexus of Tibetan Buddhism and Austrian Catholicism? The symphonies of Anton Bruckner conducted by Sergiu Celibidache. The seemingly unique combination of abysmal misery and sublime serenity achieved in the late Romantic Catholic master's music is surprisingly suited to the passionate objectivity and blissful subjectivity inherent in the late Romanian Buddhist maestro's conducting. Recorded between 1987 and 1995, Celibidache's performances with the Münchner Philharmoniker of the symphonies from Third through the Ninth plus the Mass in F minor and the Te Deum are the embodiment, one might even say the incarnation, of the twin spirits of both religions. For those who know his work, it goes without saying that Celibidache's conducting technique is essentially flawless: every line, every harmony, every balance, every rhythm, every development is absolutely clear. And it likewise goes without saying that Celibidache had fashioned the Münchner Philharmoniker into a warm, lush, and powerful ensemble: throughout his long career he had already done so with orchestras from Sweden to Italy. But as it is the complete unity of conception and execution and the total integration of form and content that make these performances truly impressive, it is the unreserved, unrestrained spirituality of the music-making that makes them truly awe-inspiring. Anyone who loves Bruckner should not hesitate. EMI's live sound envelopes the listener in the sound of the Münchner Philharmoniker blasting full-tilt toward the fields of paradise.

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