Israeli-born conductor/composer Yoav Talmi has made one crowning achievement to date as a recording artist, in his performance of the Bruckner Symphony No. 9 with the incomplete fourth movement, as realized by William Carragan.
A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music in New York, Talmi studied with conductor Walter Susskind in Aspen in 1966, and Erich Leinsdorf at Tanglewood, as well as spending several years training Europe. His first appointment was as co-conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Tel Aviv from 1970 through 1972, and he subsequently became Artistic Director and Conductor of the Gelder Symphony Orchestra in Arnheim, Germany, a post he held from 1974 until 1980. In 1979 and 1980, he was principal guest conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, and from 1984 until 1988 he was music director and principal conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra. His first American appointment came in 1989 when he was made Music Director of the San Diego Symphony. As a guest conductor, Talmi has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Oslo Philharmonic, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, the New York Chamber Orchestra, and the Detroit, Houston, and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras.
Talmi's compositions include the Overture on Mexican Themes, which has been recorded by the Louisville Orchestra, and the Dreams for Choir. He has recorded Gliere's Symphony No. 3 with the San Diego Symphony, and works by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Bloch, and Barber with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. By far his most notable recording, however, is his 1985 performance of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 with the Oslo Philharmonic, with the unfinished fourth movement represented by William Carragan's realization of the work.
The Bruckner work has long been considered one of the composer's greatest achievements despite the fact that he never lived to finish the last movement, and is normally performed in just three movements. The Carragan realization of the last movement, however, offers the listener glimpses of the final struggle of the composer's life, as he labored to complete a symphony that he dedicated "to God." Talmi's recording of the four-movement version on the Chandos label, although competent and occasionally inspired, is overall not in a league with the legendary three-movement recordings as those by Bruno Walter, Herbert Von Karajan, or Jascha Horenstein. It is a vital addition to the collection of any Bruckner enthusiast, however, and its value is enhanced by Chandos' decision to issue it as a two-for-one CD, complete with recordings of the unedited passages of Bruckner's sketches for the fourth movement.