- DVD Bonus Disc
As 19th century repertoire is increasingly played on original instruments and in period style, the late Romantic symphonies of Anton Bruckner have become the subject of historically informed performance practice. While some conductors have attempted this transformation in isolated cases, Mario Venzago has treated each of Bruckner's symphonies (with the exception of the "Studiensymphonie") to authentic practices with different orchestras, to re-create the varied ensemble sounds and performance styles appropriate to their time periods. Considering that Bruckner's experiences with orchestras spanned three decades, he would have witnessed the growth of the orchestra and the introduction of improved instruments, which clearly influenced his decisions when he composed and revised each work. Thus, the Tapiola Sinfonietta ("Symphonies Nos. 0," "1," and "5"), the Northern Sinfonia ("Symphony No. 2"), the Sinfonieorchester Basel ("Symphonies Nos. 4" and "7"), the Berner Symphonieorchester ("Symphonies Nos. 3," "6," and "9"), and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin ("Symphony No. 8") offer their different ensemble sizes, instrumentation, and sectional organization to the project. Venzago typically employs brisk tempos, transparent textures, distinctive brass and woodwind sonorities, and strings played with minimal vibrato. This is a fresh take on Bruckner's music, and Venzago avoids the excessive heaviness and reverence that many 20th century conductors imposed on his works. These streamlined readings may not persuade traditionalists, but the startling performances in this CPO box set may well change the way we think of these symphonies in the future. This ten-CD collection also includes a bonus DVD of Laurent Jaquet's film Venzago's Bruckner.