Herbert Blomstedt and the Staatskapelle Dresden recorded Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," in 1981, using the 1881 revision in Leopold Nowak's edition. This is the version almost everybody knows because it was preferred for many decades and widely performed and recorded. However, in the wake of numerous recordings of Bruckner's other versions, notably of the original 1874 version that has increased in popularity since the 1990s, it has become necessary to identify which state of the work is under discussion. At the time Blomstedt conducted this performance, the revised version was still in the ascendency, and the Staatskapelle Dresden played it with all the warmth and generosity one expects of familiar music. The orchestra produces a burnished tone that is given a special depth and resonance in the spacious acoustics, and Blomstedt takes full advantage of this in the balance of sections and in the shaping of climaxes. The "organ effect" often noted in Bruckner's symphonies really comes across here, and the brass is extraordinarily rich and vibrant in the chorales and fanfares. Because this recording has a wide dynamic range, some attention to setting a comfortable volume level is necessary.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No. 4|