Review by hiredfox June 18, 2009 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
|The Second Symphony is not well known and is rarely played in concert or recorded, which is a great pity as it contains some of the most delightful music composed by Anton Bruckner. Nor is there much consensus on the 'best' recording of the work. My personal choice has been the Chailly / RCO recording made at the Concertgebouw in Oct 1991 (Decca 436 154-2) which seemed to capture the disparate moods of this enigmatic composition fairly well and better than most or so I thought, until now....
Suddenly, we are presented with a recording of the finest quality both in performance and recording that literally triumphs over everything that has come before. A clear first choice and an aural delight that surely will bring Bruckner's music to a wider audience. It is of demonstration class.
Here is concentrated playing from the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of the highest precision and deepest passion and commitment superbly led by Jaap van Zweden, with ever contrasting moods that tests one's emotionality and audio system to their limits! The pastoral beauty of the Adagio with its impassioned string tones gently fading at it's close urging tears to break is followed by the explosive ear shattering dynamism of the Scherzo played with such fervour one senses it as a release for the musicians as well as the audience. The Finale is characterised by it's sheer precision and faultlessness and receives an insightful interpretation by van Zweden that had me longing for more. Taken at an average pace of just over 67' how could so much time have flown by so quickly. The performance is that deeply absorbing.
The recording as mentioned before is of demonstration class, to my ears it is flawless, beyond reproach and a fine, fine tribute to the engineers at Exton. Well Done! to them for a disc that in sonic terms is surely amongst the Best Three SACD's ever made. The Exton guys have gone for broke with dynamic range and detailing of the sound-stage and they have succeeded beyond anybody's wildest dreams.
A disc to treasure and talk about for years to come. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this to any serious collector of classical music and especially those who regard Bruckner's music as a bit left field. Luckily this is global release, not japan only so should be easy to track down
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