Bruckner: Symphony No. 7

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bruckner
LABELS: RCA Red Seal
WORKS: Symphony No. 7
PERFORMER: Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Paavo Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: 88697389972

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One would expect a conductor like Paavo Järvi to have something interesting to say about Bruckner’s Seventh. In fact the results are more than interesting.Järvi’s view is more a spacious Schubertian landscape than a ‘cathedral in sound’ – and none the worse for that.

At first I thought Järvi might be committing the cardinal modern sin of taking the first movement too slowly, but he soon eases into something closer to Bruckner’s Allegro moderato. His tempo is fluid enough to allow tender, even delicate expression and prevent the sequences from becoming mechanical without spoiling the music’s even undercurrent.

It’s in the Adagio that my doubts begin. The sound is lovely, the pacing well judged, but the quality of noble restraint that giants like Klemperer and Furtwängler brought to the first theme especially is lacking.

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So, who to recommend? It’s not easy: the obvious choice, Günter Wand with the NDR Orchestra, still comes with a ghastly editing mistake in the Adagio, while my enthusiasm for Karl Böhm on DG has abated a little with time. Georg Tintner on Naxos may not be the fieriest or grandest version on record, but it has so many of the good qualities of the former recordings and an integrity
all its own. Stephen Johnson