WORKS: Symphony No. 4 (original version)
PERFORMER: Bavarian State Orchestra/Kent Nagano
CATALOGUE NO: 88697368812 (hybrid CD/SACD)
Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony is here performed in its first version, unheard until 1975: it is much more expansive than the usual version, and the orchestral score is more than 100 pages longer.
I have previously not liked the early version, which is also quite different – the scherzo, quirky even by Bruckner’s standards, is quite unlike the familiar one; and there is much material throughout which Bruckner changed or dropped.
Nagano has persuaded me that the original, for all its oddities and shapelessness, is an inchoate masterpiece, far more interesting and original than the work we are familiar with, which is Bruckner’s least adventurous work. This is a major act of reclamation, something to be deeply grateful for. Michael Tanner