Bruckner: Symphony No. 8

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Some combinations of composer and conductor make intuitive sense; others seem to be a contradiction in terms. Initially, the idea of arch-modernist Pierre Boulez conducting that paragon of romantic grandiosity, Anton Bruckner, might cause raised eyebrows. But within moments of his launch into the composer's monumental Eighth Symphony on this live recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, doubts are swept away. Simply put, while it might not fully displace memories of Jochum, Furtwängler, or Klemperer, this is one of the strongest modern Bruckner performances to surface yet. The Vienna Philharmonic could probably play this music in their sleep. But with the vigilant and ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Some combinations of composer and conductor make intuitive sense; others seem to be a contradiction in terms. Initially, the idea of arch-modernist Pierre Boulez conducting that paragon of romantic grandiosity, Anton Bruckner, might cause raised eyebrows. But within moments of his launch into the composer's monumental Eighth Symphony on this live recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, doubts are swept away. Simply put, while it might not fully displace memories of Jochum, Furtwängler, or Klemperer, this is one of the strongest modern Bruckner performances to surface yet. The Vienna Philharmonic could probably play this music in their sleep. But with the vigilant and meticulous Boulez on the podium, there's no question of the orchestra sleepwalking through the score the Haas edition of the 1890 version, for anyone keeping track. Bruckner's rich, organ-like sonorities ring out gloriously, but subtle details abound. Rhythm is particularly lively; this is no sludgy plod through the composer's thick harmonies. Boulez shaves a few minutes off the Adagio -- allowing the performance to fit on a single disc instead of spilling over onto a second -- but the movement still proceeds at a radiantly spiritual pace and doesn't feel rushed. Final mention must be made of the splendidly reverberant acoustics captured here, at the very church -- St. Florian in Linz, Austria -- where the composer is buried.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
Admit it. The first time you heard that Pierre Boulez had recorded Bruckner's "Eighth," you laughed. How could you not? The only thing more ridiculous than Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the high priest of authentically autistic performance practice, conducting the authentically ecstatic music of Bruckner is Pierre Boulez, the high priest of excruciatingly objective cerebral modernism, conducting the profoundly subjective spiritual music of Bruckner. The question was: would Boulez conduct the mighty and majestic "Eighth" as an exercise in counterpoint or a musical meditation on the numinous? You had to ask? Of course, Boulez does what he always does: he plays it straight. If the "Eighth" were only a superbly composed piece of music, that would be enough, because Boulez leads the Vienna Philharmonic in a thoroughly lucid performance of Bruckner's score. Not only does Boulez hear everything in the score, he lets the listener hear everything in the score. But nowhere does the listener hear more than is in the score because Boulez's objectivity cannot imagine the immensity beyond the score, the immensity that Bruckner heard and which a great performance forces the listener to confront. Although the Vienna Philharmonic plays with great beauty of tone and Deutsche Grammophon's live digital sound from Bruckner's St. Florian in Linz is awe-inspiring, Boulez is only conducting the notes. The numinous immensity beyond the notes is silent.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/13/2000
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028945967820
  • Catalog Number: 459678
  • Sales rank: 128,432

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 Symphony No. 8 in C minor, WAB 108 - Pierre Boulez & Anton Bruckner (76:14)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Pierre Boulez Primary Artist
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The ultimate 8th

    I could go on about the technical details of Boulez's Eighth, but because the pristine, brilliant and meticulous conductor exacted such glorious sounds from the orchestra, I want only to say that I wept most of the way through. I've all of Bruckner, but somehow, Boulez' treatment of this particular symphony goes way beyond words. If you have empathy for the extraordinarily complicated composer, buy it. NOW. But be prepared for an emotional journey through the intellectual approach of Boulez. Yes - a contradiction - but isn't that what Bruckner was expressing?

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