I was reminded just how much I like the Sixth Symphony of Bruckner when I heard a performance of Bruckner’s (allegedly) most popular symphony, the Fourth, last Monday in Rome. The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Marek Janowski took a crack at the “Romantic”. But while a preceding Horn Concerto by Mozart (No. 3 – Alessio Allegrini blowing his own horn) was solid, sumptuous, with a skilled and softly playing soloist, Bruckner did not quite come across. The very reserved applause from a sparse audience in Renzo Piano’s gorgeous if acoustically limited Sala Santa Cecilia, the biggest of three ‘scarabs‘ sitting on the “Auditorium” complex, suggested that the audience didn’t ‘get’ Bruckner. Not surprising, because neither did the orchestra. There were fine touches amid able music-making, few enough sordid brass moments – but the result sounded like I imagine it would if a German were to recite from theDecamerone or Comedia in perfectly proper Italian, but without actually understanding the language.
A. Bruckner, Symphony No.6,
Haitink / Dresden Staatskapelle
| Bruckner, Sy.6, Celi / MPhil|
UK | DE | FR
Bruckner, Sy.6, Wand / NDRSO
UK | DE | FR
With this 2003 Bruckner Sixth, Profil has issued a recording that should enter the mainstream. Taut rhythms in broadly played music, excellent playing, and loving execution make this as engaging a Bruckner Symphony as you could possibly hope to hear. At 57 minutes Haitink is, if anything, on the brisker side, though he never sounds it. The A-major Majestoso rises in its full might without being ponderous. The Adagio, one of Bruckner’s finest next to that of the Seventh, flows gloriously. The Finale is full of the zest that had given rise to Bruckner punning that the Sixth was his coyest (or ‘sauciest’) symphony (“Die Sechste ist die Keckste”). Excellent sound does its part to make this release a winner. Indeed, it’s so good, it might convince even Italians of Bruckner’s genius.