- Symphony No. 8 in C minor, WAB 108
- Symphony No. 7 in E major, WAB 107: 2. Andante (Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam)
Following his successful 2006 recording of Anton Bruckner's "Symphony No. 7" with the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Yannick Nézet-Séguin turns in a stunning account of the "Symphony No. 8 in C minor" that will secure his reputation as a true Brucknerian and win new admirers of his conducting. This 2009 rendition is certainly one of the most awe-inspiring ever made of this apocalyptic symphony, and the clarity and wide dynamic range of ATMA's live recording provides astonishing details and inner voices that are often lost elsewhere, because Nézet-Séguin clearly has striven to make every note audible. This effort is aided by the extraordinarily responsive acoustics of Montréal's Église du Très Saint-Nom-de-Jésus, which give the music vast spaciousness and depth and make the orchestral colors sound utterly luminous. But the most impressive aspect of the recording is the interpretation, which is as immense, far-reaching, and stupendous as the composer ever could have wished. Nézet-Séguin really gets inside the emotional world of Bruckner's music and finds the right tone, pacing, and pulse to make the symphony feel organic, continuous, and endlessly expansive. Thanks to Nézet-Séguin's commitment to let the symphony unfold on its own terms and exist in its own universe, everything makes sense in its own place, and there is none of the episodic choppiness that comes from excessively driven or heroically forced performances. The "Symphony No. 8" is divided between two discs, with the Finale carried over to disc 2, and the elegiac Adagio from Bruckner's "Symphony No. 7" is provided as filler, though this gripping performance is much more than padding; it is on the same level of intensity as the featured work and worth hearing in its own right. This album is highly recommended as one of the finest of 2009.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
BRUCKNER SYMPHONY #8.-PERFORMANCE PROMISES NOT YET FULFILLED Yannick Nezet-Seguin is a successful conductor with a great future. His career has taken off and he is sought after all over North America and Europe. His recordings have generally received high praise. This is the first one that I have listened to with care and contemplation. The Bruckner 8th symphony is a work which has and will challenge all conductors who attempt to interpret it. Bruckner's most massive composition, the 8th is acknowledged as one of the truly great symphonic masterpieces. Over the last 100 years, few conductors have been linked to successful interpretations of this complex score. Those conductors who come to mind are: Furtwangler, van Beinum, Karajan, Bohm, Jochum, Schuricht, Wand, and Giulini. They all conducted this symphony during their careers, but led great performances in their later years. Nezet-Seguin studied with Giulini. The question: Can a 34 year old star conductor give a first-class performance of this work?? Of course he/she can, but from my perspective, not here. The first movement is just an outline of the depth needed to engross the listener. The major themes are not well contrasted. Dramatic urgency is lacking. Piano-forte sections are not developed well. The mystery, drama, and brutality are mostly lacking. The second movement scherzo is interpreted better, but this is also the movement with the most measured tempo and fundamental structural outlines. Still, the dynamic changes are not emphasized enough and the re-cap variations show little imagination. The tempo Nezet-Seguin maintains in the monumental Adagio is fine and the way I generally like it. However, this movement demands the most imagination from the conductor. I hear little of that here. Also, there is a lack of momentum-crucial in all Bruckner symphonies. The last movement suffers from the same momentum problems as the Adagio. The coda that ends this magnificent work was upon me with little or no dramatic buildup. Will Nezet-Seguin conduct more absorbing and fulfilling performances of this work in the future? Let's hope so. Without the tension, mystery, drama, and momentum ,the Bruckner symphonies can just be boring. "Overwhelming" is the experience one wants to have listening to his music. The second disc is filled out with the Adagio movement from the 7th symphony. This is from Nezet-Seguin's highly praised complete recording. Unfortunately, I hear many of the same problems with this performance as I mention above. The Orchestre Metropolitain of Montreal plays very well and impressed me in this most demanding music. The sound and engineering are generally excellent with some tightness in the soundstage. The orchestral balances are managed well. The notes contain one essay and a bio of the conductor and the orchestra in both French and English.