LABELS: BBC Legends
ALBUM TITLE: Bruckner
WORKS: Symphony No. 9
PERFORMER: BBC SO/ Reginald Goodall
CATALOGUE NO: BBCL 4174-2
The often revelatory BBC Legends series shows no signs of drying up, despite having far exceeded its original plan. The outstanding disc for me so far this year is this Bruckner Symphony No. 9, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Reginald Goodall. He gave very few concerts during his great years in the 1790s and 1980s, and they were mainly of Bruckner, this being one of the finest. Recorded in the BBC studios in 1974, no doubt with a huge rehearsal period, it is measured but not unusually slow. It has mystery, anguish, spiritual search and demonic terror, kept in the kind of tenuous equilibrium which this complex work demands. Goodall sorts out the strands of sound patiently, builds climaxes of astounding menace (the scherzo, Bruckner’s most frightening music, is wild) or glory, and lets the work come to rest in the gentlest, most consolatory way. I would be somewhat amazed to hear a finer interpretation of this symphony.