Stanislaw Skrowaczewski / London Philharmonic Orchestra

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7

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Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's live recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major hearkens back to mainstream interpretations of the mid-20th century and is perhaps most reminiscent in its pacing and expression of the great recordings of Günter Wand. Skrowaczewski is no advocate of clinical period-style performances of the kind promulgated by Roger Norrington, and his interpretation of this symphony is full-toned, vibrant, and passionately lyrical. Fans of expansively Romantic readings of Bruckner will appreciate the broad phrasing, translucent textures, and careful use of rubato that give this performance its natural flow and personal feeling, yet they will note that Skrowaczewski doesn't overdo these touches. Like Wand before him, he avoids excess and maintains firm control over both the form and the content, which keeps the music from meandering or becoming stultifying and pointless. Of interest to those who follow the minutiae of Bruckner's various versions and editions, Skrowaczewski uses his own unpublished edition of the symphony, which doesn't depart drastically from the standard 1885 version, though subtle changes of orchestration appear to be the main differences. For purists who care about such things, Skrowaczewski retains the unauthorized cymbal crash at the climax of the Adagio, which decidedly puts this reading in the traditionalist column. The reproduction is quite fine for a concert, with very little noise in the background.

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