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Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 - Kubelik

Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 - Kubelik

Audite  92.543

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 in D minor

Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Rafael Kubelik (conductor)


“I was just going from the theatre building to Wahnfried at 5 o’clock when the master of all masters hurried towards me with open arms, embraced me and said: ‘Dear friend, the dedication is justified, you are giving me great pleasure with the work’.” Anton Bruckner

Anton Bruckner’s Third Symphony pays tribute to the deeply revered Richard Wagner, to whom it is also dedicated. But the monumental work, on which Bruckner worked for nearly twenty years, is also the first fully valid example of his extraordinary symphonic idea: a combination of resplendent sounds and church service, as well as demonic romanticism and the comforting belief in heaven.

The live recording of the concert on 30 January 1970 in the Herkules-Saal of the Munich residence with Rafael Kubelik and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is available again, now in CD format.

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Review by John Broggio - June 11, 2006

This is a fascinating audiophile's introduction to the effect of the remastering engineers apply which happily comes allied to a good performance of Bruckner's 3rd Symphony from Kubelik and "his" orchestra.

As part of Audite's Listen & Compare series (other titles are: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - Kubelik, Schubert: Symphonies 3 & 8 - Kubelik & Schubert: Mass No. 6 - Kubelik), the listener can compare the original tapes (having been repaired and re-spliced if needed) to a version (which is presented first on the SACD and is the version on the RBCD layer) which the engineers have gone to work so that "tape noise and disturbing noises are reduced to a minimum, pre-echoes and echoes removed, rests revised and the recording sound improved as much as possible". The two versions are presented back-to-back on the stereo SACD layer, eliminating a need to change layers to hear the difference.

Before examining the differences in sound quality, the performance. Kubelik has chosen the 1877/78 version of Bruckner's score and this shortened version (compared to the 1873 original score) is presented with admirable humanity. Throughout the tempi are well chosen and the pulse is kept steady in a manner similar to Karajan's approach to Bruckner although without the allusions to spiritual grandeur that Karajan often sought. The performance taken from a single performance shows just how good the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra were in the 1960's (this concert was held on 09/11/1962 and for a November night, the audience is admirably quiet!) Apart from a small lapse of intonation by the trumpets in the Adagio, there is nothing else of criticism that can be levelled at the orchestra nor at Kubelik. In fact, if you don't respond well to the spiritual approach, this performance is nicely straightforward without the anonymity that some people can be accused of today. Those who dislike applause need not fear as it has been excised.

The comparison between the two versions is very interesting. The "altered" version sounds slightly brighter (arguably a very little overly so) and ever-so-slightly plastic compared to the more "natural" sound of the unaltered version. However, I did not feel like this at all upon first listen and the differences are so slight as to be unnoticable (in this case) for much of the time. Still, the 1962 is not first rank for todays standards but is very good for the period.

Recommended.

Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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