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CD Review

Anton Bruckner

Symphony #8 in C minor

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam/Riccardo Chailly
Decca 466653-2 79m DDD
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Chailly's latest release in his projected Bruckner cycle confirms the status of the Concertgebouw as a top class Bruckner ensemble. I was not entirely convinced however by the occasional erratic shapings of the tempi in the light of the Novak edition used. The opening Allegro moderato is suitably paced and the mystery of this famous movement comes across quite magically although all is a little too earthbound towards the end. The Scherzo is similarly informed with bite and drive but here the Dutch must yield to the VPO with Karajan in 1988, this version remains in a class of its own, at least in my opinion. In the Adagio, we are again faced with the complex problems of holding such a gigantic movement together and the wondrous Concertgebouw strings once again surpass themselves in this, the most sacred of Brucknerian adagios. I thought Chailly was a bit too eccentric in the Finale which disappoints slightly at the end but the fact that the performance fits on a single disc may sway one to purchase this new Eighth.

Otherwise, I'm afraid Chailly must yield to greater Eighths in the shape of Karajan, Furtwängler and of late the expansive 1887 version with Georg Tintner on Naxos.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech