Bruckner Symphony No. 7

Venezuela Symphony Orchestra
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This recording, together with the Bruckner 8th also available here, were reviewed in the January/February issue of Fanfare. It stated the following:

"Eduardo Chibás proves a thoroughly sympathetic and powerful interpreter of Anton Bruckner's music. His vision is distinctly his own, but it rivals in quality those of legendary conductors whose names come up most often when we think of great interpreters of Bruckner, for example Furtwängler, Jochum, Karajan, Klemperer, Knappertsbusch, Tintner, and Wand. Less astonishing, but essential to the results, is the responsive and idiomatic playing of the Orquesta Sinfónica Venezuela. Fine stereo sound allows the orchestra to spread out across the soundstage with stable placement of solos and choirs. Rich and full-bodied in tone, the sound is also clear enough to reveal the important subordinate parts and counter-melodies in which these symphonies abound. Those who keep track of timings will note that both are slightly, though not unusually faster than the average performance of these symphonies in the current era."

"Chibás understands that Bruckner requires contrasts from movement to movement and within movements, so when appropriate he has his musicians being playful, ethereal, solemn, forceful, excited, or calm. The contrasts always make sense, and make these long statements hold one's attention from beginning to end. Yes, I did spot a couple of places-one in each symphony-where I thought the playing a bit shaky; these are live performances. My only big surprise, apart from the overall excellence, is the coda of the first movement of the Seventh Symphony. I have never heard it sound so solemn and imposing. Both discs are very strongly recommended."

The comment on the tempos is very interesting. I believe that Bruckner is played slower and slower all the time, which understates the important visceral aspects of his music, emphasizing the contemplative. To me, this music is full of vitality and thrust. Furtwängler's tempos were also faster than current performances, and often faster than mine. This brings Bruckner closer to Beethoven, which I think is correct, as Bruckner is perhaps the only true heir of Beethoven.