Continuing his Bruckner cycle on Deutsche Grammophon with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Andris Nelsons presents the Symphony No. 7 in E major, paired with an excerpt from Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, "Siegfried's Funeral March" from Götterdämmerung. While this symphony is outwardly one of Bruckner's most approachable, particularly in its lyrical opening movement, its energetic Scherzo, and its jubilant Finale, its long, funereal Adagio makes the connection to the gloomy Ring selection more apparent, since this slow movement was composed in anticipation of Wagner's death. It also marks the first time that Bruckner used a quartet of the novel "Wagner tubas," and unusually wrote parts for cymbals, triangle, and timpani at the movement's climax, perhaps symbolizing Wagner's apotheosis. Of historical note, the Gewandhaus Orchestra gave the premiere of the Symphony No. 7 under the baton of Arthur Nikisch, who may have asked Bruckner to include the percussion parts, which have been deleted in some modern performances. Nelsons retains them and offers a solid interpretation of the 1944 Haas edition, avoiding any revisionist changes. Similarly, he gives "Siegfried's Funeral March" a conservative reading that would easily fit into any traditional production. Nelsons has made the inclusion of Wagner excerpts a feature of this cycle thus far, so the unfortunate fallout of the "War of the Romantics" still takes its toll on Bruckner, who never wanted to be involved in it. All the same, this live performance of the symphony is representative of Bruckner at his most accessible, and Deutsche Grammophon's vibrant and focused sound is exceptional in the concert setting.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Symphony No.7 in E major, WAB 107|