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Reviews: Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 - Haitink

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Reviews: 2

Review by dschawv December 3, 2010 (1 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I recently picked this from Amazon. I put it into my cars cd player.
On my way to work, as a band director, I was pleasantly surprised.
Great sound, sturdy performance, solid interpretation.
I have yet to play it on the sacd player. But, Ihave a feeling it will be quite good.
In the end, I like this performance. It may not be Karajan, Jochum, or Sinopoli.
But, it is very good.
Enjoy if you you want a solid, well recorded Bruckner 5.

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Review by willemvoorneveld July 25, 2012 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Among the 10 Bruckner symphonies, the 5th would get my vote as the one with the most beautiful introduction; it evolves from silence and remains constraint till, minutes later, the Adagio commences. Attention assured. Not less convincing is the six bar orchestral end-motive, whereby the orchestra echo’s the percussion in fff that ends the symphony. This is the way symphonies should end you hear Bruckner say.

Between the introduction and the “end motive” Bruckner is challenging his listeners with 3 Orchestral fugue’s playing at the same time, two middle movements (Adagio and Scherzo) that use the same theme but in different ways and last but not least the symphony as a whole is a rollercoaster of mood swings. Brilliant but maybe also a bit complicated. This may explain why not every conductor puts this symphony (and the 6th) on his or her repertoire list.

Throughout his career Bernard Haitink has been a noted conductor of Bruckner, and his Bruckner recordings have always been regarded as among the finest available. In this recording he seems to build on the experience already gained and in addition the recording technology combined with the quality of the orchestra allow for increased listeners participation.

Haitink has a strong overall view of the extended symphony’s structure. At the same time he is very flowing and spontaneous and this combination makes for a very balanced end result.

The playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is excellent, with powerful climaxes and some beautiful quiet passages (the introduction amongst other). The solo contributions, such as the clarinet in the early stages of the finale, are suitably distinguished and the percussion, at crucial moments, sounds very well integrated.

The recorded sound is always a crucial factor in Bruckner. Dynamic range, high and low frequency balance and resolution are all very good, but the Philharmonie im Gasteig has a somewhat dry acoustic. I prefer to hear Bruckner in places like Amsterdam or Boston with their richer sound.

Compared to a few other recordings made in the Gasteig, this recording reveals more of the acoustic space than before, but it remains on the dry and compact side, even in Multi-Channel.

Apart from the caveat re: acoustics, a memorable recording and a must have for every Brucknerian.

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