Time for a review of classical CDs that were outstanding in 2012. My lists for the previous years: 2011, (2011 – “Almost”), 2010, (2010 – “Almost”), 2009, (2009 – “Almost”), 2008, (2008 - "Almost") 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.
# 7 - New Release
Hans Pfitzner, Palestrina, K.Petrenko, Frankfurt Opera & Museum Orchestra and Chorus, Oehms OC 930
Hans Pfitzner, Palestrina
K.Petrenko / Frankfurt Opera & Museum Orchestra and Chorus
Oehms OC 930
# 7 – Reissue
A.Bruckner, Five Symphonies, Günter Wand, Berlin Philharmonic, RCA 1708661
Bruckner, Five Symphonies,
G.Wand / Berlin Philharmonic
Bruckner, Symphonies 1-9,
G.Wand / Cologne RSO
This time it is his incomplete Berlin Philharmonic cycle that contains the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Symphonies. There are proponents of each of Wand’s cycles and his various recordings of the Eighth and Ninth especially. I’ve always made my case that the Eight in this is among the most special Bruckner recordings there are—of any symphony by any conductor: gravity, divine architecture, recording quality, dedication, orchestral sound, just enough—not too much—reverb, and that inscrutable ‘innate musicality’ in perfect combination. The Berlin Ninth is certainly my favorite Wand Ninth and among the very best. The rest is exemplary in the unfussy, unassuming, sneakily grandiose way of Wand’s.
Wand’s performances can get mistaken for bland, especially by those in need of ostentatious glare-and-blare. But that’s not how I prefer my Bruckner, nor how I think of Bruckner. Some of these recordings have been difficult to come by in the US… which makes their re-release doubly welcome. It’s anyone’s best first Bruckner-stop (unlike the specialist-Schuricht choice earlier) just as it belongs in any Bruckner-veteran’s collection.