Günter Wand / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7

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The bravado of a cymbal clash doesn't work in concert halls and recording studios, especially where conductors have been adding a spurious cymbal clash at the climax of the Adagio of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony for more than a century. Why a cymbal clash? So audiences will know when the 22-minute movement reaches its climax. Not so for Günter Wand: in this live 1999 recording with the magnificent Berliner Philharmoniker, he has perfect faith that audience members will know where the climax is, and therefore doesn't insult their intelligence by throwing up a percussive flare. In the sublime Adagio, as in the other three movements of his heavenly Seventh, Bruckner composed with scrupulous attention to every detail of line, harmony, and form, and a conductor and orchestra who realize the composer's vision will always succeed. RCA's live digital sound is transparent and warmly atmospheric.

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