Jascha Horenstein

Bruckner: Symphony No. 3; Busoni: Tanzwalzer

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Bearing in mind that the BBC Legends series is primarily aimed at fans of historic recordings, listeners can be sure that these performances by Jascha Horenstein of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 in D minor and Ferruccio Busoni's Tanzwalzer, Op. 53, are neither the most polished nor the best sounding, but are interesting and attractive for other reasons. The Bruckner recording with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra is a live version from the 1963 Cheltenham Festival, so there are several background noises and abundant tape hiss, and the orchestra's sound is murky and unbalanced in many places. Yet this is a rare performance of the Fritz Oeser edition, which has fallen out of favor and is hard to find on CD; anyone who has an interest in the peculiarities of the various Bruckner editions will be curious to hear how dramatically this quirky version diverges from the more familiar Haas or Nowak editions. Busoni's Tanzwalzer, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at BBC Studios, sounds much better and is warmly played, even if it is a little limited in the mono reproduction; but the relative scarcity of recordings of the piece makes this 1966 rendition valuable. Horenstein delivers compelling interpretations of both works, though this may be hard for some listeners to discern, especially since the antique sound in the Bruckner may have a distancing effect; experienced listeners, though, will have little trouble appreciating his performances and will still find plenty of nuances in these remastered recordings.

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