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Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 - Janowski

Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 - Janowski

PentaTone Classics  PTC 5186351

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Bruckner: Symphony No. 5

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Marek Janowski (conductor)

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Review by John Broggio - June 10, 2010

This disc is easily the best so far from Janowski and the SRO.

In the opening Introduction, we are given tentative probing's of the musical ideas that are convincingly set into the towering octaves of sound that punctuate their exposition. The transition to the allegro is also well handled and the movement as a whole is neatly turned out. Janowski is flexible throughout the movement, and indeed the symphony, so listeners should beware that some of the rubato applied might be a little exaggerated for all tastes - certainly, someone who only knows Bruckner from Karajan will be in for a big shock! A slight disappointment though was the rather timid sounding timpani roll at the conclusion - from earlier climaxes, this is not a feature of the recording but a deliberate interpretative decision with which some listeners might not be completely comfortable.

Unlike the truly dreadful Bruckner: Symphony No. 5 - Järvi, Janowski paces the adagio very well indeed, the music just about moving in compound duple time but certainly a great deal more space than a flowing tempo permits. The SRO revel in such freedom and the tone from the strings is really quite special at times. The Scherzo is paced slightly more quickly than usual but to the SRO's credit, the players never sound harried by Janowski and convey the spirit of Bruckner's music convincingly.

In the finale, Janowski again secures very fine playing from the SRO and melds all the fugal elements convincingly and with great clarity. A great many details are heard here that are often swamped by too much emphasis on the main theme(s) - not that they are underplayed. The great final chorale is presented very exuberantly indeed (perhaps a little too much so from the heavy brass but some listeners will find this exciting) only to be undermined (as in the first movement) by a rather lacklustre timpani roll right at the death, most strange and very regrettable.

The sound is undoubtedly the best that this great symphony has ever been accorded, with a tangibility to the tremolando strings that is astonishing. Equally impressive is the dynamic range and the sense of scale achieved as an acoustic; unlike some recordings, it doesn't collapse in quieter moments and keeps the sense of the Victoria Hall (Geneva) throughout.

Copyright © 2010 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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Sonics (Multichannel):

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