Christoph von Dohnányi / Philharmonia Orchestra

Bruckner: Symphony No. 4

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For this 2008 live recording of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," Christoph von Dohnányi leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in a solid performance that, for better or worse, is standard, dependable, and uncontroversial. Using the 1881 version, edited by Robert Haas, which Dohnányi has favored in previous recordings with other orchestras, and which is the edition of the symphony that practically everybody knows, he avoids the pitfalls of performing the quirkier and vastly different original version of 1874, which has become fashionable among younger conductors. It should help to know that not only are listeners getting the most familiar version, but Dohnányi also provides a straightforward and committed reading that is quite comparable to the great renditions of such revered Bruckner specialists as Karl Böhm, Eugen Jochum, Georg Tintner, and Günter Wand; anyone in search of an orthodox interpretation can rely on this one. For all of this performance's regularity and predictability, the Philharmonia is fully present in expression, radiant in sound, and alert in execution, and the music never sounds like a run-through. The sound of the recording is exceptionally clear and vibrant, and audiophiles will be impressed by its remarkable depth and detail, particularly in the brass, which are phenomenal for a conventional CD.

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