Bruckner: Symphony No. 2 - Janowski
PentaTone Classics PTC 5186448
Classical - Orchestral
Bruckner: Symphony No. 2 in C minor
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Marek Janowski (conductor)
Review by Graham Williams - June 17, 2013
Marek Janowski's consistently fine cycle of Bruckner symphonies for PentaTone continues with this release of the 2nd Symphony – a work seemingly discussed more often for its many versions and revisions rather than its undoubted musical strengths.
There are effectively four versions of this symphony that Bruckner began in October 1871 and completed in September 1872. These are:
The original of 1872
The original performance version of 1873
The performance version from 1876
The revised version of 1877
However, the revisions, corrections and alterations made by Robert Haas (1938) and Leopold Nowak (1965) in their editions of the above also add further decisions for interpreters of this score to make.
For this new recording Marek Janowski has chosen to perform the 1877 version of the symphony in the edition by the Bruckner scholar William Carragan (2007). This eliminates sections of the 1872 score that Haas incorporated in his edition and were also retained by Nowak. The comparative brevity of Carragan's edition of the score coupled with Janowski's urgent pulse means that the playing time of the disc is a mere 54.55. However, such is the quality of the music making that it would be churlish to complain of short measure.
Janowski adopts brisk, but not inflexible, tempi in all four movements of this work and, as in the earlier issues in this cycle, he adopts a fluent and purposeful approach to this early symphony, but one that carries a unerring sense of Bruckner's symphonic architecture.
The second movement, a grave and reflective 'Andante (feierlich, etwas bewegt)', is perfectly paced allowing for some beguiling playing from the wind (and especially the horn) soloists of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande . It is unfortunate that careless proofing of the booklet and jewel case sees this movement marked 'Adante'!
Even judged by the very high standard of the earlier issues the recorded sound is wonderfully spacious and clear with superb internal balances, while the playing of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is both confident and refined. The acoustic and ambience of the Victoria Hall, Geneva is especially well reproduced – just listen to the timpani in the final minute of the 'Scherzo'.
Janowski's exhilarating and masterly performance of this symphony, the penultimate issue in his cycle, captured in superlative sound quality, can be unhesitatingly recommended.
Copyright © 2013 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net