Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C minor

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COMPOSERS: Bruckner
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: Symphony No. 8 in C minor
PERFORMER: Vienna PO/Carlo Maria Giulini
CATALOGUE NO: 445 529-2 DDD (1985)
After the first performance of Bruckner’s Eighth, the eccentric composer presented its conductor, Hans Richter, with a tray of 48 steaming hot doughnuts at the stage door as a token of his gratitude. He evidently had no idea of the conductor’s monumental task, nor its physical after -effects.

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Giulini’s account (using Nowak’s edition of the final version) aptly conveys the vastness and magnitude of this work by plumbing both its spiritual and emotional depths in a Germanic interpretation in the best sense. Brass is heavily favoured by conductor or engineer, much trumpet detail in the Scherzo would not be so forward in live performance. String sound, particularly at the appearance of the harp, is warm and lush, woodwinds blend superbly. Giulini has the measure of this mountainous symphony. Christopher Fifield