Mariss Jansons / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

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Mariss Jansons is not known as a major Bruckner conductor, but he has recorded a handful of the symphonies with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for the audiophile RCO Live label, and this 2016 hybrid SACD of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor is a vital addition to his discography. Jansons' previous recordings of Bruckner show a light touch, particularly in his clean textures and the feeling of propulsive motion in his tempos. His 2014 performance of the Ninth is similar, in contrast to more traditional recordings that are heavier in sound and ponderous in overall effect. Due to the advent of historically informed performances, Bruckner's symphonies are increasingly played faster and with leaner textures, in keeping with the practices of his time, and some of that revisionism is at play in Jansons' rendition, which otherwise is not updated with period instrumentation or seating. The timing at 54:44 indicates that Jansons takes it quite fast, compared with many other recordings, and the urgency of his interpretation should please listeners who grow impatient with overly reverent or stodgy Ninths. Aside from his speed and lighter approach, Jansons observes the convention of playing only the first three movements in Leopold Nowak's edition, so the opportunity to hear one of the scholarly completions of the finale is missed. But among recordings of this standard version, Jansons' performance is solid and well worth hearing.

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