Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 (1877 version)

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LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Symphony No. 3 (1877 version)
PERFORMER: Berlin PO/Daniel Barenboim
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-13160-2
When Bruckner conducted this second version of the Third Symphony in December 1877 (it originated in 1873) it was a disaster, the players of the Vienna Philharmonic laughed at the music and mocked the composer’s conducting. Barenboim has no such problems despite some audible grunts at times. Dedicated ‘in deepest veneration’ to Wagner in its original form, Bruckner removed most of the quotations from the works of ‘the unattainable world-famous and exalted Master of Poetry and Music’ for the Vienna performance, but even so most of the audience had gone before the end. This is all unbelievable today, for Bruckner is well and truly established. Barenboim’s account is stylish and the playing from the BPO accomplished. An effusive warmth pervades the Adagio and the outer movements are both massive in outline and clear in detail. The scherzo is taken at a sedate tempo, leaving space for judicious phrasing. This is a live performance from Berlin’s Philharmonie. Christopher Fifield