Bruckner: Symphony No. 4

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Decca Legends
WORKS: Symphony No. 4
PERFORMER: Vienna PO/Karl Böhm
CATALOGUE NO: 466 374-2 ADD Reissue (1973)
It would be hard to find a better Bruckner Fourth than this one. The Vienna Philharmonic, opulently recorded at its golden-toned best, is an ideal canvas on which to paint this work, and Böhm’s Bruckner unfolds most naturally—I nearly said genially, but that would imply a casual quality that really isn’t a part of the equation here. Listen, for example, to the magically quiet moments of the Andante to be convinced of the expressive care Böhm applies. This conductor tends to encourage the horns to greater prominence than they generally attain under other maestri, as in the final coda, where they call out passionately over the vast landscape gradually taking shape around them. If at this moment and others I could do with a bit more large-scale strategising than Böhm supplies, I hasten to repeat that the combination of sonority and flow makes this an admirable recording. David Breckbill