Bruckner Symphony No. 4 'Romantic'; Valery Gergiev & Münchner Philharmoniker

As uber professionals, both the LSO and Valery Gergiev kept up the excitement to the end of their contract, but in truth, there was a tiredness in the final performances. Both needed a change. Gergiev got Munich's house band. Not in the LSO's league, but a money maker and musically safe. The LSO got Rattle!

I jumped at the chance to review this new Bruckner from Gergiev and Munich's famous old band. What a lovely surprise. This is a gorgeous recording full of sensitive musicianship, flawless balances within the orchestra and very refined orchestra playing. 

This is the first recording from the orchestra's eponymous label.  

I was expecting a milquetoast version of Bruckner's most popular symphony after what could be a cynical musical appointment. Money for nothing. Wrong! Gergiev's speeds are perfect and I'm not sure whether this is honeymoon stuff, but this is one of the most beautifully played 4ths I know. The brass balances are flawless with a great opening horn solo. Up there with Alan Civil/Klemperer and Stephan Dohr/Rattle. 

Valery Gergiev.

Valery Gergiev.

I think the key to the city and other things come with this musical appointment. Both parties had something to prove. Prove it, they did.  

All movements have a free flowing tempo and each sounds just right. The strings have weight and heft, the woodwind contributions are gorgeous and the aforementioned brass awe inspiring. Good for Gergiev. Seems, he's got his mojo back. 

So many fuss with this symphony. This is a straight no chaser version. And Bruckner's better for it.  

Gergiev uses the 1953 Nowak Edition and records in the home base, Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich. The engineers make the barn sound like Carnegie. Go figure. The mix has been more important than the hall for many years. 

Put your faith in this record and it'll repay you in spades. Perfectly guaged tempos, beautiful playing, flawless balances and a recording that captures all in golden sound. I'll be returning many times. It's become my favourite 4th. Very highly recommended.  

Track Listings

  1. Symphony No. 4 in E-Flat Major, "Romantic": I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell
  2. Symphony No. 4 in E-Flat Major, "Romantic": II. Andante, quasi Allegretto
  3. Symphony No. 4 in E-Flat Major, "Romantic": III. Scherzo (Bewegt) - Trio (Nicht zu schnell, keinesfa
  4. Symphony No. 4 in E-Flat Major, "Romantic": IV. Finale (Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell)

Product Information

Label: MUNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER GBR

    Release Date

    October 21, 2016

    Duration

    01:08:18

    Recording Date

    September 22, 2015 & September 23, 2015
     

    RECORDING LOCATION: Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich

    PRODUCER: Johannes Müller

    RECORDING ENGINEER: Gerald Junge

    EDITING: Johannes Müller
    MASTERING: Christoph Stickel
    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Münchner Philharmoniker

    PUBLISHING CREDITS: Zweite Fassung von 1878–86 in der Edition von Leopold Nowak (1953)