yakov kreizberg

Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Kreizberg) – ‘Bruckner: Symphony No.7 in E major’  An SACD review by Mark Jordan

Vienna Symphony Orchestra (Kreizberg) – ‘Bruckner: Symphony No.7 in E major’ An SACD review by Mark Jordan

The nasty Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick infamously described Bruckner’s ‘Symphony No. 7 in E major’ as “a symphonic boa constrictor” after its first Vienna performance in 1884, but even he had to begrudgingly note in his review that the audience seemed very pleased with the work. In fact, their ovation lasted for forty-five minutes, giving the shy bumpkin Bruckner his first taste of success at the tender young age of sixty, after a lifetime of laboring in relative obscurity. In retrospect, it seems hard to imagine what efforts Hanslick must have gone to in order not to like this expansive, sincere, and often quite genial work. What the critic couldn’t (or wouldn’t) come to terms with was Bruckner’s expansion of traditional symphonic structure allowing for structures much more massive than earlier classical symphonies. His typical sonata form structure is almost like traditional sonata form squared, with each subsection having its own contrasting subsections. Bruckner combined this ingenuity with the sound world of Baroque and Renaissance polyphony, which he then “souped up” with a Wagnerian approach to harmonic flexibility. The resultant brew is unique to Bruckner, and it is no wonder that many early listeners became hopelessly lost along the way. The ‘Seventh’, however, is Bruckner’s least wayward symphonic adventure, and most patient listeners will find themselves eventually swept up by the composer’s heartfelt invention. read more…

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