Bernard Haitink / London Symphony Orchestra

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

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Bernard Haitink's recordings on the LSO Live label have yielded extraordinary performances of the Romantic symphonic repertoire, and this 2013 performance of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 in D minor is a perfect example of what he has been able to achieve with the London Symphony Orchestra. Together, they perform the music with the precision and clarity of chamber musicians, and the fine details they bring out in Bruckner's monumental last symphony are captured with high fidelity in the super audio multichannel format. The score is one of Bruckner's most austere, but paradoxically, it is also one of his densest, yet Haitink balances the orchestral sections with exemplary care so the inner parts can be heard clearly, and the DSD recording renders the counterpoint with absolute separation of lines, which is especially needed in Bruckner's heavy brass chorales and the loudest tutti passages. Haitink follows the 1951 edition by Leopold Nowak of the three-movement version of the symphony, which might make this recording seem passé, in light of the gradual acceptance of the completed Finale by Bruckner experts Nicola Samale, Giuseppe Mazzuca, Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs, and John Alan Phillips. Even so, among performances of the unfinished version, which will fill the catalog for years to come, this one surely ranks among the best ever recorded, and it is recommended with the highest marks.

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