Author Topic: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?  (Read 25315 times)

Ivor

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2007, 03:16:12 AM »
Vatz,

I was partly responding to Wunderhorn saying many famous conductors ignore Bruckner - I'm sure that's true - and to those who have written that,in effect,they 'don't get' Bruckner.

It's an interesting question for me whether I was "aiming" or "responding". Since a felow-cricketer has recently suggested I show more aggression with the bat, I think "aiming" doesn't come second nature to me. I might just have passive-aggressive down to a fine art. I dunno.

I do know from my psychotherapeutic experience that objective observations about other people is at least up for debate.

Best wishes,

Ivor

Offline bluesbreaker

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2007, 06:53:08 AM »
I always see Bruckner and Mahler tied together, and I realy dont know why. Both wrote huge symphonies and both being influenced by Wagner, and Mahler was Bruckner's student once. Other than that I dont see anything in common. Can anyone explain that? I'd appreciate it.
To my limited knowledge this doesn't make too much sense.
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Offline barry guerrero

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2007, 07:42:10 AM »
I agree with you. Other than the fact that they both large large symphonies, I don't hear a lot of similarities either - more differences, if anything. They both use Laendler, and that's about it. Their approaches to orchestration couldn't possibily be more different.

Offline sbugala

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2007, 09:35:12 AM »
I'm jumping into this discussion late, but here's some of my thoughts...

I've always loved Bruckner, probably as much as Mahler.  I think author Jim Svejda (of the Record Shelf Guide)  has a point when he says that for a Bruckner performance to work, all things have to work well.  A second or third rank orchestra with an average conductor can deliver a pretty tolerable Beethoven performance.  That usually won't work for Bruckner. 

But more importantly, I think many don't find themselves drawn to Bruckner because of the epic expanses of his works.  In this microwaved, drive thru, instant downloadable world we live in, it's tough for many to listen to an 80 min symphony unfold. 

It may sound unusual, but I adore the early numbered symphonies.   To me, his 1st is remarkable: dark, mysterious, even angry in spots.  The second is ethereal, but kinda sweetly naive, too. 

That various texts confuse matters, but for me most things are resolved today. 

I see Mahler and Bruckner as descendants of the Beethoven and late Schubert line of symphonies, rather than the Schumann/Mendelssohn.   Mahler was more of an innovator, but sometimes I'll stand back in awe of certain things Bruckner did.  The Ninth is remarkably modern to me.  Its scherzo reminds me of Shostakovich.  There's a string passage in the last movement that sounds like Bruckner stole it from Vaughan Williams, even though Bruckner obviously wrote it first.  I think minimalism, which I love, is indebted to Bruckner. 

I guess in conclusion, I'll say that orchestras are probably better equipped to play Bruckner today than in the alleged "good old days." But I don't think audiences are.  So perhaps Barry has a point.  But the last time I heard Bruckner live, it was with Skrowaczewski leading the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in Bruckner's 4th.  Going into that concert, I was kinda falling away from the Fourth.  But at the concert's conclusion, I found my faith in it reawakened, so to speak.  I think the audience realized they just heard Something Special, and I heard one of the best rounds of applause for anyone in my 16 years of concert attendancer.  Somehow, the conviction of the performance locked everyone on to Bruckner, if only for a night. 

Thanks for putting up with my thoughts...

Cheers,
Steve






Offline barry guerrero

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2007, 11:05:28 PM »
Steve,

What you say about Skrowaczewski and B4 is very interesting because the very same thing happened here in S.F., only with Celibidache/Munich Phil. performing on tour instead. I do think that the 4th is one of Celi's more successful Bruckner recordings, as well.

Barry
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 09:52:41 PM by barry guerrero »

Offline bluesbreaker

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2007, 12:38:18 AM »
By the way Barry, about the Sixth: I only heard the first minutes of the Sixth years ago, and never heard it again since. But it's hard for me to imagine that Bruckner wrote more modern stuff than the Scherzo of the Ninth! That sinister shit doesn't sound like coming from Bruckner to my ears(in a good way)!

Speaking of the NInth, I think there's something in common between Mahler and Bruckner: The Adagio of both Ninths. Both movements sound very similar at the opening but never heard people pointing that out. But among the 2 adagios Bruckner sounds more otherwordly, I think.
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Ivor

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2007, 10:37:23 PM »
I think the reason for the M/B linkage is partly that Mahler followed Bruckner in the same lineage,partly that the younger man was a pupil of the older, and partly that they were dismissed together in the UK at least between the wars as an acquired Teutonic taste. ('Between the wars',btw,for my generation, means '1918 - 1939').

Eric Blom,the notable English critic,said at the time about mahler,"We don't want his sort here."

Thank goodness that attitude is no longer the leading one.


   Ivor

Offline bluesbreaker

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2007, 09:50:53 PM »
By the way, yesterday I saw a Eighth recording by Solti and VPO on Decca. I may get it as my first Bruck 8 because its single disc. But I would like to know if any one have heard it. Any opinions?
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Wunderhorn

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2007, 10:22:44 PM »
Yes, I think that it many respects, Bruckner is a top notch composer. He reaches back to medieval and baroque musical ideas, as well as displaying the strong influence of Schubert and Wagner. But his works aren't virtuoso show pieces for the modern symphony orchestra, except for perhaps the brass. I feel that there are some problems in the way that Bruckner orchestrates. Woodwind lines are often times obscured, particularly the bassoons. To me, it's little wonder that Schalk, Levi, and others, tinkered with his works. The problem is, those folks only made it worse in the long run.

I recently watched the DVD of B5 from St. Florian Cathedral with Welser-Most/Cleveland Orch. Unfortanately, that performance falls flat as a pancake. In his greatly altered edition, Schalk doubles the timpani part at the end of the symphony. To be truthful, it really badly needs that (I don't think that his gratuitous cymbals and triangle hurt any either). Unfortunately, American brass sections just can't play the 5th properly, with perhaps the exception of Chicago. Using just four modern F/Bb double horns, just isn't enough to get the horn parts across during the closing brass chorale passages. If you're going to use those acoustically dead sounding double horns, you need to bring the number up to six or eight. Also, the big 6/4 CC tuba - like the one that the young Japanese tuba player uses in Cleveland - is completely wrong sounding for that tuba part. In the fifth, the tuba is much more like a fourth trombone than a super-bass to the entire orchestra. A smaller tuba with a more driving sound is what's required. At least Cleveland used German rotary valve trumpets, with their longer and wider bell sections; that much they truly got right. In the fifth, Bruckner writes completely independent bassoon parts, and you never hear a single note that they ever play. I don't think it would help to bring the number of bassons up to six or eight either - there's just too much other loud stuff to compete with. Those parts need to be divided up to other instruments that can cut through (the bassoons are often times playing counter rhythms that no one else in the orchestra has)

So, what I'm bringing up here, isn't to say that Bruckner is a poor composer by any means. It's just that the way he orchestrates his music doesn't provide enough clarity and/or coloristic "ear candy" to compete with the likes of Mahler, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Bartok; and many, many others. For many modern listeners, his music comes off as both repetitive and blustery. That's why I'm fearful that his music will slide down the pantheon a bit. By the way, I really liked the fact that Herbert Blomstedt did a fair amount of Bruckner here in S.F. Unfortunately, his B5 performances fell flat for the same exact reasons. In essence, there just isn't enough "oomph" at the climax of the brass chorale to balance out the length and weight of the previous 65 minutes of music. Mahler could have fixed all that very easily.

You're forgetting tone Barry, TONE!!! It doesn't matter what he 'did' say, but what he was 'trying' to say that matters; In other words, simply assumed Bruckner thought beyond modern orchestral instruments, 'Period'!, (A S  I N  D E F I N I T E ! ! ! ) !  !  !

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2007, 10:34:24 PM »
Scream at me all you want. You and I may understand what Bruckner was trying to get at, but not everyone will. I'm not saying that Bruckner will ever go away altogether. But what I am saying, is that it seems that his ship has already come and gone in Austria and Germany; and that he was never been that popular in the U.S., except for maybe Chicago. So, I feel that his music will slide down the pantheon of highly popular composers a fair bit. I'm also saying that a big reason for that happening is the way that he orchestrates his music - so I don't care if his music is just one great, long TONE.  I suppose the final chord of Mahler 3 isn't about TONE!!! - Period! (AS IN DEFINITE!!!)! ! !
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 10:54:40 PM by barry guerrero »

Wunderhorn

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2007, 09:48:18 AM »
Scream at me all you want. You and I may understand what Bruckner was trying to get at, but not everyone will. I'm not saying that Bruckner will ever go away altogether. But what I am saying, is that it seems that his ship has already come and gone in Austria and Germany; and that he was never been that popular in the U.S., except for maybe Chicago. So, I feel that his music will slide down the pantheon of highly popular composers a fair bit. I'm also saying that a big reason for that happening is the way that he orchestrates his music - so I don't care if his music is just one great, long TONE.  I suppose the final chord of Mahler 3 isn't about TONE!!! - Period! (AS IN DEFINITE!!!)! ! !

Barry it was not an angry scream, but a join my cult scream. All these symphonists, every last one of them, I would love to work in the subway, assuming they'd come once a week merely for the opportunity of shining their shoes. Yes, call it buffoonery, but I don't think it is my place to ask why Bruckner had issues with his music; Nor any mastercraftmen's critic, as I am not a master craftsmen, but a master of someone else's craft! See what I'm saying? For those who choose to be a master at someone else's craft, like all us Mahlerites, I ask the question, 'Do our own personalities interfear?' Bruckner in monumental ways reminds me of a young adults infinite imagination, yet being forced into the reality of tangible. Many others were more exceptional, but only at staying in the dotted lines; This is perhaps caused they didn't demand as many lengths and breaths sonically as Bruckner did. I completely agree with you in saying Mahler was better at Orchestration. Bruckner brass obscures everything else, but it doesn't matter because they usually only interfear with synchronized moments only, so what's the difference?

Offline barry guerrero

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #41 on: May 17, 2007, 11:47:46 PM »
"Bruckner brass obscures everything else, but it doesn't matter because they usually only interfear with synchronized moments only, so what's the difference?"

I'm not sure that I would agree with that, but I do see your point. Good points - all of them.

Offline bluesbreaker

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2007, 02:50:57 AM »
Quote
By the way, yesterday I saw a Eighth recording by Solti and VPO on Decca. I may get it as my first Bruck 8 because its single disc. But I would like to know if any one have heard it. Any opinions?

Did anyone see my question above?
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Vatz Relham

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2007, 06:52:52 AM »
Quote
By the way, yesterday I saw a Eighth recording by Solti and VPO on Decca. I may get it as my first Bruck 8 because its single disc. But I would like to know if any one have heard it. Any opinions?

Did anyone see my question above?

Bluesbreaker,

I haven't heard the Solti B8 you mention but, if you want a very good B8 with the VPO on a single disc get the Boulez recorded live at St. Florian in Austria, excellent performance and sound, you won't be dissapointed.

Vatz

Offline sbugala

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Re: OT: Is Bruckner slowly sliding into obscurity?
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2007, 06:56:28 PM »
Quote
By the way, yesterday I saw a Eighth recording by Solti and VPO on Decca. I may get it as my first Bruck 8 because its single disc. But I would like to know if any one have heard it. Any opinions?

Did anyone see my question above?

I'm afraid I haven't heard either, so I'm just going on an educated guess.  While I'm no big fan of Solti in anything, much less Bruckner, I' could say "stay away."  But the Vienna Phil essentially recorded an entire Bruckner cycle under various conductors from the 60's through the early 70's.  Everyone I've encountered has been at the very least good. (The Horst Stein 2nd and 6th are probably best, although the Mehta 9th is pretty darn good, too.)

The only two I don't know are Solti's two contributions, the 7th and 8th.  Perhaps Solti will be less punchy with the VPO than his later Chicago accounts.  By the way...avoid his CSO 8th at all costs. I'll have to dig out my old Penguin guide and see how they rate, if you like.   


 

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