Bruckner: Symphony No. 6

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COMPOSERS: Anton Bruckner
LABELS: ATMA Classique
ALBUM TITLE: Bruckner: Symphony No. 6
WORKS: Symphony No. 6
PERFORMER: Orchestrae Métroplitain/Yannick Nézet-Séguin


The first movement of this least-played of Bruckner’s mature symphonies has the marking Majestoso, although you’d never know it from the urgent tempo here. Coupled with a lightness of orchestral texture, this is a performance that shakes off the well upholstered image of Bruckner. Nézet-Séguin finds more warmth in the second theme, but the strings overdo vibrato in their search for emotion, and the brass lack power. The end of the movement is particularly unconvincing.

After that, the Adagio comes as a welcome surprise, with some flexibility in the rubato, and more coherence in the brass chording. But a few weaknesses in exposed string lines are laid bare by the clean recording, as is some lack of ensemble in the scherzo. This becomes more wearing as the movement goes on, and ultimately deprives it of punch.

The finale, as so often in Bruckner, is episodic in structure and has to be absolutely sure in its tempo relationships and direction. Not all the joins show here, but there are enough to disturb the overall shape, and the players sometimes sound wrong-footed. If a brisk approach to Bruckner suits, Roger Norrington would be a better bet, or for a more traditional view, the magisterial Colin Davis.


Martin Cotton