Günter Wand

Bruckner: Symphony No. 8; Schubert: Symphony No. 8

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For many Brucknerians, Günter Wand's live recordings of the symphonies on RCA are the last word in modern interpretations, and those performances with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic rightly deserve to be held in high esteem. Yet while he was still alive, Wand's later concert recordings of the same repertoire with the Munich Philharmonic were held back from release to avoid competition with those of the regular director of the orchestra, Sergiu Celibidache, as well as his own. Following Wand's death in 2002, though, Profil began issuing these alternate renditions, so the avid collector of Bruckner symphonies has yet another series in which to revel. Wand's deep understanding of the Symphony No. 8 in C minor is fully apparent in this recording of the Haas Urtext edition, and the orchestra's playing is filled with gorgeously lyrical lines and marvelous resonance in all sections, but especially in the woodwinds and brass. Most noticeable is the way Wand lingers over Bruckner's plangent phrases and how he makes the dissonances sound full and emphatic for maximum tension. Because this recording of the symphony runs over two discs, Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor is included as "filler," though in this case, the affecting performance makes it much more significant and rewarding than that. Some may note that there is a strong link between late Schubert symphonies and Bruckner's works, so the pairing of the two here makes great sense. This set is highly recommended.

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