Bruckner: Symphony No. 7

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bruckner
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Symphony No. 7
PERFORMER: Cleveland Orchestra/Christoph von Dohnanyi
CATALOGUE NO: 430 841-2 DDD
Dohnanyi’s new account of the Seventh is glossily streamlined, but doesn’t live up to expectations of what a great Bruckner experience ought to be. Expressively matter-of-fact, its big moments are disappointingly under-characterised and wanting in climactic tension. And its rhythmic attack lacks that extra ounce of tightness and emphasis which can be the difference between a memorable performance and a merely routine one.

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Good Bruckner playing is about structural pacing and a feeling for tempo that’s neither rushed nor laboured. Given famous inspirational accounts of the past by such as Furtwängler, Klemperer, Karajan and Jochum, Dohnanyi’s reading is hasty and low in emotional voltage. True, Furtwängler’s 1951 Cairo performance on DG was faster still, but Furtwängler generates spine-tingling electricity while Dohnanyi doesn’t. Ates Orga