Christian Thielemann -- Bruckner Symphony No. 5

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CelloGuy
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Christian Thielemann -- Bruckner Symphony No. 5

Post by CelloGuy » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:09 pm

I recently obtained the recording of Christian Thielemann conducting Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in a live recording with the Munich Philharmonic (on Deutsche Grammophon). This recording evidently represents the beginning of a new phase in his career, as he assumed the music directorship of that orchestra sometime around the year 2004. This is probably also his first recording with that orchestra.

I am enjoying the recording immensely. Just to put things in perspective, I will mention a couple of my favorite Bruckner recordings. For a long time I have had the CD of Blomstedt conducting Bruckner's 7th with the Staatskapelle Dresden (probably long out of print), which is an absolute favorite recording of mine. Also, I love the recording of Celibidache conducting Bruckner's 9th with the Munich Philharmonic (on EMI ... the stand-alone issue of that recording may also be out of print).

So far with the Thielemann recording, I am listening more to individual movements rather than concentrating on the entire symphony in one sitting. (It is one of the longest Bruckner symphonies, and most of the movements are over 20 minutes in length.) I am especially enjoying the last three movements (slow movement, scherzo and finale). I've been a bit slower warming up to the first movement, but I probably will.

The interpretation is broad, grand and deep, in my estimation. Also, the orchestral playing is extremely fine, and the technical quality of the recording seems excellent. I don't know if the Munich Philharmonic always has played so well in the last 20 or 30 years (the three Bruckner recordings I own are all excellent), but my impression is that they are one of the world's great orchestras. In this Thielemann recording, they play extremely well in tune, have a magnificent full sound in general, and also do a beautiful job of every other sort of texture and dynamic.

I will say that the playing of the principal clarinet and oboe on this recording may be somewhat of an individual taste. They are both excellent players, and play very well in tune, but the tone quality of each seems a bit unvarnished, perhaps "naturalistic". I don't know quite how to describe this ... but anyway, even though these two soloists seem to stand out a little due to their slightly odd tone colors, they do not diminish the overall quality of the performance.

All in all, a wonderful recording, and one that will probably become a favorite in my small but well-loved Bruckner collection.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:54 pm

I also enjoyed the Thielemann Bruckner 5 recording, although perhaps not quite as much as you. I enjoyed the tempos and playing, but he didn't pull off the climaxes quite as well as a few of my other favorites.

I once was supposed to see him conduct this symphony with the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, but he unfortunately had to cancel.

It's my hope that he'll get to record the Bruckner 8 with either the Munich or Vienna Philharmonic. I believe he's conducting it with the VPO a few times this season. Perhaps those performances will be taped by DG for later release.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
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pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:53 pm

It's not surprising that Thielemann's Bruckner is excellent. He inherited an orchestra with great Bruckner performance traditions that go all the way back to Ferdinand Lowe, a Bruckner pupil and a major editor of his work. It also includes such eminent Brucknerians as Siegmund von Hausegger, Oswald Kabasta, Hans Rosbaud, Eugen Jochum and of course Sergiu Celibidache, whose more recent performances of the symphonies are famous.

BorisG

Post by BorisG » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:09 pm

pizza wrote:It's not surprising that Thielemann's Bruckner is excellent. He inherited an orchestra with great Bruckner performance traditions that go all the way back to Ferdinand Lowe, a Bruckner pupil and a major editor of his work. It also includes such eminent Brucknerians as Siegmund von Hausegger, Oswald Kabasta, Hans Rosbaud, Eugen Jochum and of course Sergiu Celibidache, whose more recent performances of the symphonies are famous.
Thielemann Bruckner 5 was only average. Munich pondered, then ran out of steam.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:12 pm

BorisG wrote:
pizza wrote:It's not surprising that Thielemann's Bruckner is excellent. He inherited an orchestra with great Bruckner performance traditions that go all the way back to Ferdinand Lowe, a Bruckner pupil and a major editor of his work. It also includes such eminent Brucknerians as Siegmund von Hausegger, Oswald Kabasta, Hans Rosbaud, Eugen Jochum and of course Sergiu Celibidache, whose more recent performances of the symphonies are famous.
Thielemann Bruckner 5 was only average. Munich pondered, then ran out of steam.
I haven't heard the recording -- just paraphrasing CelloGuy's review and the review of other critics who heard Thielemann's inaugural concert. If Munich ran out of steam as you say, it wasn't average Munich Bruckner. I've heard many Munich recordings, including Celibidache's as well as Kabasta's 4th, 7th and 9th, and there's no doubt whatsoever that the Munich Philharmonic was and is one of the great Bruckner orchestras.

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:26 am

My first recording of the Bruckner 5th was Knappertsbusch/Vienna Phil., although I have him doing Wagner with the Munich Phil., which (to my knowledge) is also known as the "Symphonieorchester des bayerischen Rundfunks", with which Kubelik made so many fine recordings.

At any rate, it was typical Knappertsbusch----long lines, a bit slow at times but with great climaxes---one of the great Bruckner masters!

I taped the Thielemann/Bruckner 5th from t.v.----and this performance made me warm a bit more to this symphony, a work I know well but does not charm or grab me as do the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th. Perhaps seeing the conductor at work gives me more insight into the work....

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

pizza
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Post by pizza » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:52 am

Jack Kelso wrote:My first recording of the Bruckner 5th was Knappertsbusch/Vienna Phil., although I have him doing Wagner with the Munich Phil., which (to my knowledge) is also known as the "Symphonieorchester des bayerischen Rundfunks", with which Kubelik made so many fine recordings.

At any rate, it was typical Knappertsbusch----long lines, a bit slow at times but with great climaxes---one of the great Bruckner masters!

I taped the Thielemann/Bruckner 5th from t.v.----and this performance made me warm a bit more to this symphony, a work I know well but does not charm or grab me as do the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th. Perhaps seeing the conductor at work gives me more insight into the work....

Jack
There are some great performances of the 5th available on record. Jochum's 1986 live performance with the Concertgebouw on Tahra is a must for any serious Brucknerian. Skrowaczewski's with the Saarbrucken Radio SO on Arte Nova is another.

Furtwangler once declared that the last movement of the 5th was the greatest symphonic movement ever written. Who knows? He may have been right!

jwinter
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Post by jwinter » Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:48 am

Jack Kelso wrote:... the Munich Phil., which (to my knowledge) is also known as the "Symphonieorchester des bayerischen Rundfunks", with which Kubelik made so many fine recordings...
Jack
Fascinating, I did not know that! I have quite a few recordings from both groups, but I never imagined that they were one and the same. :) Two other conductors whose works with the Munich orchestra(s?) I've always enjoyed are Rudolf Kempe and Colin Davis.

I haven't heard the Bruckner recording in question, although I'm familiar with Thielemann's Beethoven 5 & 7 and did not particularly care for it. If I recall correctly (it's been a while) it was viscerally exciting at a very surface level, but he had a tendency to exaggeration in phrasing and tempi that grated after awhile, as if he were trying to emulate Furtwangler's technique without WF's sense of structure and proportion. His sense of the "long line" tended to zig zag all over the road, if you know what I mean. But then, that recording was made several years ago -- perhaps, as you say, he's come into his own in Munich.

For a modern take on this symphony, I've enjoyed Sinopoli/Dresden.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:23 pm

jwinter wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:... the Munich Phil., which (to my knowledge) is also known as the "Symphonieorchester des bayerischen Rundfunks", with which Kubelik made so many fine recordings...
Jack
Fascinating, I did not know that!
Is anyone certain of that? I'm fairly sure they're two different orchestras, unless they're one orchestra functioning under two seperate music directors (Jansons and Thielemann presently). I could be wrong, but I'd be surprised to find out they're the same orchestra.

I know the Munich Philharmonic was around before the BRSO and that Jochum formed the BRSO.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

pizza
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Post by pizza » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:49 pm

A short history of the Munich Philharmonic from its website:

http://www.mphil.de/mphil/en/index.php?Set_ID=162

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:19 am

Barry Z wrote:
jwinter wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:... the Munich Phil., which (to my knowledge) is also known as the "Symphonieorchester des bayerischen Rundfunks", with which Kubelik made so many fine recordings...
Jack
Fascinating, I did not know that!
Is anyone certain of that? I'm fairly sure they're two different orchestras, unless they're one orchestra functioning under two seperate music directors (Jansons and Thielemann presently). I could be wrong, but I'd be surprised to find out they're the same orchestra.

I know the Munich Philharmonic was around before the BRSO and that Jochum formed the BRSO.
I guess I was wrong about the Munich Phil. I thought it was the same situation as the Stuttgarter Philharmonie---when they make recordings they're known as "das Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart".

But aren't the orchestra members often the same people---even if the conductors are different? What about London's "New Philharmonia", "London Philharmonic", "London Symphony Orchestra", etc.

Jack

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

Barry
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Post by Barry » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:45 am

Jack Kelso wrote: I guess I was wrong about the Munich Phil. I thought it was the same situation as the Stuttgarter Philharmonie---when they make recordings they're known as "das Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart".

But aren't the orchestra members often the same people---even if the conductors are different? What about London's "New Philharmonia", "London Philharmonic", "London Symphony Orchestra", etc.
Jack
I'm not aware of it being the same for those three London orchestras either. I would guess they all play too many concerts for musicians to hop back and forth between the three (although it may happen on a fill-in basis as needed).
I know the Vienna Philharmonic is comprised of musicians from the Vienna State Opera Orchestra though.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:49 pm

Jack Kelso wrote: What about London's "New Philharmonia", "London Philharmonic", "London Symphony Orchestra", etc.
all different orchestras, different personnel...

the players switch around alot, or used to in past years. but they are all different ensembles.

Sergeant Rock
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Post by Sergeant Rock » Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:57 pm

Jack Kelso wrote:My first recording of the Bruckner 5th was Knappertsbusch/Vienna Phil
I love that recording but unfortunately Knappertsbusch uses the Schalk edition, long discredited even during Knap's day! It's interesting as an historical curiosity though...and for the fire and passion.
Jack Kelso wrote: I taped the Thielemann/Bruckner 5th from t.v.----and this performance made me warm a bit more to this symphony, a work I know well but does not charm or grab me as do the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th. Perhaps seeing the conductor at work gives me more insight into the work....
For someone trying to come to grips with the symphony, Dohnányi and Cleveland are ideal. A blazingly dramatic performance.

Sarge
"My unpretending love's the B flat major by the old Budapest done"---John Berryman, Beethoven Triumphant

burnitdown
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Post by burnitdown » Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:54 pm

I just got immersed in Furtwangler's version of the 8th. Very cool. I'll look out for this guy "Christian Thielemann."

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:03 am

Sergeant Rock wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:My first recording of the Bruckner 5th was Knappertsbusch/Vienna Phil
I love that recording but unfortunately Knappertsbusch uses the Schalk edition, long discredited even during Knap's day! It's interesting as an historical curiosity though...and for the fire and passion.
Jack Kelso wrote: I taped the Thielemann/Bruckner 5th from t.v.----and this performance made me warm a bit more to this symphony, a work I know well but does not charm or grab me as do the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th. Perhaps seeing the conductor at work gives me more insight into the work....
For someone trying to come to grips with the symphony, Dohnányi and Cleveland are ideal. A blazingly dramatic performance.

Sarge
Thanks, Sarge---sounds like just the recording I need!

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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