BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 5 in B flat
Hague Residentie Orch/Neeme Järvi, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5080 TT: 62:05
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BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 7 in E
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orch/Paavo Järvi, cond.
RCA RED SEAL SACD 389972 TT: 67:27
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BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 9 in D minor
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orch/Paavo Järvi, cond.
RCA RED SEAL SACD 5452571 TT: 65:39
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Three Bruckner symphonies from the Järvi family! The venerable Neeme, now 74, leads the Residentie Orchestra in Symphony No. 5, a recording made in September 2009 in the orchestra's home, the Dr. Anton Philips Concert Hall, with Jean-Pierre Gabriel producing, and engineer Wim van den Berg. Audio quality is excellent, with the orchestra in front and little use made of rear channels. The performance is probably the fastest ever made of this symphony, particularly the second movement. And it surely doesn't sound as if extra brass was used in the final pages of the last movement. The recent Suisse Romande/Marek Janowski Pentatone issue is far superior to this. The elder Järvi, in spite of his incredible broad repertory, is ill-suited to Bruckner, evidenced by his Symphony No. 8 with the London Philharmonic, now available on Chandos. Neeme's son Paavo is much more in tune with the Bruckner idiom. These recordings of Symphonies 7 and 9 were made in November 2006 at Alte Oper Frankfurt, both live recordings. The Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, of which Järvi has been chief conductor since 2006, plays superbly with particularly strong brass. This orchestra has a considerable history with music of Bruckner. Led by Eliahu Inbal from 1974-1990, towards the end of that tenure they recorded a number of Bruckner symphonies, including original versions of several. These new recordings are reverent, powerful performances, beautifully recorded (no imaginative use of surround sound, with the orchestra in front); you will not be disappointed. If this is the beginning of a new Bruckner cycle, it is very welcome.

R.E.B. (May 2010)

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