- Symphony No. 2 in C minor, WAB 102
Following his CPO recording with the Tapiola Sinfonietta of Anton Bruckner's "Symphony in D minor, Die Nullte," and the "Symphony No. 1 in C minor," Mario Venzago presents the "Symphony No. 2 in C minor," this time with the Northern Sinfonia. Unlike some contemporary conductors who favor the original 1872 version of this symphony, Venzago performs the more familiar 1877 version, edited by William Carragan. This is the first of Bruckner's symphonies where he expanded the form to an hour duration, and the fertile ideas it contains are appropriate to the greater time frame. Yet this work has never been accepted by audiences in the way most of the later symphonies have, such as the "Fourth," "Seventh," and "Ninth," and the music falters over too many starts and stops, indecisive development, and repetitions. Even so, there is much attractive material here, and Venzago brings it off with a light touch, having the orchestra play delicately and sweetly, almost as if this were a Mendelssohn symphony. The result is surprisingly appealing, and many who find Bruckner's music to be too heavy or overly Wagnerian may find this piece is more to their liking. CPO's recording is clear and focused on details, though there is a lack of realistic dimensions, so the orchestra's sections and soloists seem to have the same volume levels.