Valery Gergiev / Münchner Philharmoniker

Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

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Performing the 1951 Leopold Nowak edition of Anton Bruckner's unfinished Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Valery Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic continue their cycle of the symphonies, which have received considerable critical praise for their power and authority. How much of this is due to Gergiev's insights and how much to the orchestra's tradition may be debated, because much more of the conductor's personality is apparent in his recordings of Russian repertoire with his Mariinsky Orchestra, while he seems to let the Munich musicians lead the way in Bruckner, a mainstay of its programming established in 1897 by Bruckner's student, conductor Ferdinand Löwe. Indeed, this performance of the original three-movement version is traditional to its core, and Brucknerians will be hard-pressed to find anything amiss in either the interpretation or the playing. Likewise, they won't find anything daring or original, trademarks of Gergiev's style. However -- except for recordings of attempted completions of the Finale, none of which have entered the standard repertoire yet -- the vast majority of recordings of the Ninth stick to the same general pacing, tempos, and phrasing, and Gergiev hews to the conventional line, unsurprising but reliable and reverent.

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