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Thread: Prom 45: Thursday 18th August 2011 at 7.00 p.m.(Larcher, Bruckner)

  1. #21
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    Default Bruckner blind spot - I tried and failed again

    Quote Originally Posted by jayne lee wilson View Post
    "A rather dull symphony" - eh, what? Could you elaborate please?

    It's one of the 7 wonders of the symphonic world, with an extraordinary level of melodic inspiration, harmonic originality and long-term architectural design, exceptional in any composer's output.
    Hesitate to intervene here, but my reaction is the same as, if not worse than, Paul's. Bruckner 5 and indeed most of his symphonies always leave me feeling exasperated and bored by the tortuously slow and/or stop and start process by which he develops his argument, and what always strikes me as a predictable tread, when clearly it must be inventive and unusual for its time. It's not the length and lack of concentration (I love Mahler, Wagner etc), nor is it prejudice (what glorious choral music Bruckner wrote, some of which was played by R3 after the concert). Is my reaction similar to that of those who wouldn't accept his greatness at the time he was composing? Feeling frustrated that Bruckner symphonies won't speak to me the way they obviously do to so many people.

  2. #22
    barber olly Guest

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    I enjoy Bruckner Symphonies - usually a couple of slow movements, a bouncy, lively third, but his finales always seem a little thrown together, and he never seems quite sure how and when he should finish the work. But as I say I always enjoy a listen, particularly 4,5 and 7.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by barber olly View Post
    ... but his finales always seem a little thrown together, and he never seems quite sure how and when he should finish the work.
    The only finales for which arguably this is the case in terms of internally un-balanced sections are the finale of 3 (1889 version that is, not the others), finale 6 (what Bruckner admitted himself, btw) and the finale of the String Quintet. All the others show Bruckner's mastery to end a symphony - which is nicely demonstrated by the 3 extant finales of the Romantic symphony, all three adding a strong argument and end to the symphony, despite their differences.

  4. #24
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    I thought the Larcher would be the usual predicatable brand new concerto sound but it wasn’t like that! It had a very interesting soundworld with unusual instruments. For me this set it apart from the other new concertos we’ve had so far. Mvt 1 rhythms were all different. Ended with the slow mvt (usually the 2 mvt concertos would be the other way round!) I will hear it repeated- got a bit distracted getting dinner and watching Channel 4 news!

    Bruckner 5 is the best Bruckner symphony. It’s one of the ones that’s different to the others. 6 is another one but I think Bruckner went wrong in that one. Can’t believe someone on here described No.5 it as dull! Its even got a slow mvt that you feel compelled to listen to all the way through.
    End of mvt 1 didn’t sound as happy and as joyous as Naxos- more like grim determination.
    Unfortunalty the scherzo was played too fast and we missed details as a result. Especially the middle quiet bit in the middle of the scherzo. Scherzo means joke- and no more so than here. The strings repeating notes with pauses!
    What happended towards the end of the finale? The big mvt 1 tune seemed to be played all in the wrong places.

    Anyway, another good prom. The seemed to have been quite good this week.

    3VS

  5. #25
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    Yes, the 5th is the greatest, formally the most achieved, and as roehre suggests, we're lucky it wasn't played while he was alive, as then Bruckner would have come under pressure to cut and revise again! (This is why I think Haas, whilst seeming to depart from strict scholarly procedures, gives us a truer view of the 8th and others. He tries to see back to where Bruckner began, before those pressures were applied).

    Interesting that the finale of the 5th is quite unique in its grand double-fugue design, his usual formal approach e.g. in 4, 6, 7 and 8 carves a harmonic terrain out of plentiful melodic ideas which are continuously varied and developed through many contrapuntal musical paragraphs. There's often a lot happening at once! Sorry, Pilamenon if you have trouble with it...perhaps try the 7th's finale again? This is the finest of his usual formal finale structures. Plenty happening but more concise and, melodically at least, easier to follow.

    He was a very original composer, much less a part of his time than it might seem, not really a "Romantic" composer in the usual sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by 3rd Viennese School View Post
    I thought the Larcher would be the usual predicatable brand new concerto sound but it wasn’t like that! It had a very interesting soundworld with unusual instruments. For me this set it apart from the other new concertos we’ve had so far. Mvt 1 rhythms were all different. Ended with the slow mvt (usually the 2 mvt concertos would be the other way round!) I will hear it repeated- got a bit distracted getting dinner and watching Channel 4 news!

    Bruckner 5 is the best Bruckner symphony. It’s one of the ones that’s different to the others. 6 is another one but I think Bruckner went wrong in that one. Can’t believe someone on here described No.5 it as dull! Its even got a slow mvt that you feel compelled to listen to all the way through.
    End of mvt 1 didn’t sound as happy and as joyous as Naxos- more like grim determination.
    Unfortunalty the scherzo was played too fast and we missed details as a result. Especially the middle quiet bit in the middle of the scherzo. Scherzo means joke- and no more so than here. The strings repeating notes with pauses!
    What happended towards the end of the finale? The big mvt 1 tune seemed to be played all in the wrong places.

    Anyway, another good prom. The seemed to have been quite good this week.

    3VS

  6. #26
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    I think I will have to thank Iilan Volkov for making me understand this magnificent work better, after hearing it with him conducting!
    Music is in the air all around you. You just take of it as much as you want(Sir Edward Elgar)

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayne lee wilson View Post
    (This is why I think Haas, whilst seeming to depart from strict scholarly procedures, gives us a truer view of the 8th and others. He tries to see back to where Bruckner began, before those pressures were applied).
    But jlw, Nowak gets right back to Bruckner's original with his edition of the 1884-87 version, surely? You, and many others, may prefer what Haas compiled, but it was not Bruckner's original, that much is clear. Like it or not, the description "pick and mix" fits the bill, I feel.

  8. #28
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    Listened to the Larcher earlier. Some of it is very beautiful, all of it very conscious of clarity and colour; I did wonder though how much musical 'protein' there was here (although that might be missing the point). Echoes of Arvo Part at times, also Schnittke in the juxtaposition of unexpected elements in the first movement (that brief Rococo moment - where did that come from?). I found parts of it very fidgety - it reminded me of sitting at an office desk, trying to work calmly and logically, but being unable to resist fiddling with the executive toys! I quite liked it and perhaps it will cohere better next time I try it, but on the whole I was less impressed by this than the other piece of his that was broadcast earlier this year whose title escapes me - was it a violin concerto?

    I wish I could enjoy Bruckner as much as some other posters! I have been thrilled by No 5 (and Nos 6 and No 8) in concert, but was once overcome by a terrible feeling of claustrophobia (almost literally) in the opening bars of a performance of No 7 and only endured the next hour or so with great difficulty - I've been very wary of him ever since! Never had any problem of that sort with Mahler or Wagner so it's certainly nothing to do with the length of the work. And, like another poster, I'm very fond of the choral music (particularly the short a cappella works) so it isn't the language per se. I'll have to persevere!

  9. #29
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    Yes, that's fair enough, Bryn - I should have written "a truer view of the 1890 8th and others" - those passages in the 1890 editions where Haas has restored, speculatively if you like, I would say with an unerring Brucknerian's instinct, those key passages in the 8th's adagio and finale which Nowak, following the 1890 revision strictly, left out. As Tintner puts it, Haas "restored sections excised from the 1887 version which he rightly considered essential".
    And now we all have to cope with the greatest of latter-day Bruckner scholars, William Carraghan, placing the original versions centre stage as, potentially, the preferred ones. Well, we have the luxury of recorded choices, if not always the time to listen to them...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bryn View Post
    But jlw, Nowak gets right back to Bruckner's original with his edition of the 1884-87 version, surely? You, and many others, may prefer what Haas compiled, but it was not Bruckner's original, that much is clear. Like it or not, the description "pick and mix" fits the bill, I feel.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayne lee wilson View Post
    Well, we have the luxury of recorded choices, if not always the time to listen to them...
    Absolutely - that's very much the point, and whatever our scruples or simple preferences about one version or another, there are multiple rather good performances of them from which to choose. I tend to side with Carragan et al in, as it were, the moral argument re Bruckner texts, but you and Tintner both make perfectly reasonable points. Mind you, his defence of Haas does sound a bit like special pleading so that Tintner can justify including all the bits he wanted to play, without having to use the 1887 score that has those bars anyway. Maybe 'recomposition' was a bit strong - but it is a bit of reverse engineering that I (honestly) don't think is an improvement. (That's a matter of taste, of course).

    (As a late-night aside - though it's really not a pleasant one and I'm afraid it tends to colour my view of Haas - there's also the inescapably grim matter of the first publication of his edition of No. 8 and it's unfortunate dedication, as well as Haas's worryingly loyal - since 1933 - membership of the NSDAP. But then he's hardly the only musician...)

    My own particular Brucknerian bugbear isn't one of the pieces (probably) interfered with by well-meaning friends, but Bruckner himself, when he made the final revision of No. 3 - I find it vastly less satisfying than the 1878 [or 1877] version - but others, I'm sure don't agree. The thing is, it doesn't matter because I can listen to Matacic, Kubelik and Haitink, while anyone wanting 1889 can enjoy Boehm, Jochum et al. Credit to Nowak for making both of them (and, indeed the 1873 version) so readily available - so the choice is there for conductors in the first place. We're really spoilt rotten.

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