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A Survey of Bruckner Cycles

Discographies on ionarts: Bach Organ Cycles | Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycles I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX | Bruckner Symphony Cycles | Dvořák Symphony Cycles | Shostakovich Symphony Cycles | Sibelius Symphony Cycles

Like the Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycle Survey, the Dvořák Symphony Cycle Survey, the Bach Organ Cycle Survey, and the Sibelius Symphony Cycle Survey, this is a mere inventory of what has been recorded and whether it is still available. Favorites are denoted with the “ionarts’ choice” graphic.

There are several incomplete, out of print, hard to get, and just plain obscure (at least in the West) Bruckner Symphony cycles that are not listed below. This includes all but the third of six (!) complete and partial cycles of the Japanese conductor, founder of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, and Furtwängler-inspired Bruckner-nut Takashi Asahina. (His Sixth and last, from within months of his death, can be found here.) That also includes the once ultra-inclusive Gennadi Rozhdestvensky cycle on Melodiya, which has been cobbled together from various, dubious sources as a sketchy MP3 offering on Amazon. While some incomplete and unboxed cycles have been included (Norrington, because I think his traversals are worthwhile), others (Roegner, on Edel) have not. There is no particular logic to that decision.

Bruckner wrote 11 Symphonies (counting the Study Symphony in f, “00”, and the retracted Symphony in d, “0”). Ten of them are complete, and the unfinished “Ninth” exists in various performance versions. The inclusiveness of a set is indicated: 00-9* would mean all 11 Symphonies including a completed 9th; 1-9 would indicate the conventional nine, with only the three finished movements for the Ninth. There are no cycles that include “00” but not “0”. Where the Te Deum is included in a set, it is mentioned; “Te Deum (F)” means that the Te Deum directly follows the third movement of the Ninth in the make-shift completion suggested by Bruckner. There are a few different ‘performing editions’ of the finale, most prominently William Carragan’s (in three revisions) and those based on the work of Nicola Samale and Giuseppe Mazzuca (1984). With John A. Phillips and Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs included on their team, they produced the 1992 Samale/Mazzuca/Phillips/Cohrs Completions below abbreviated SMPC, along with the year of the particular revised version...

Bernard Haitink recorded a Bruckner Symphony cycle with the Concertgebouw for Philips, which is temporarily out of print. [Ed.: It can be had as part of the catch-all "Haitink Symphony Edition" box set, along with his Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler] Meanwhile he was and is busily recording with his favorite orchestras (BRSO, CSO, Dresden Staatskapelle, LSO, and RCO of course). From those recordings, many in the Super Audio format, one can cobble together an incomplete Bruckner cycle of astounding quality. It's bound to expand over the next few years, and we'll be the richer for it.

[Ed.4/25/16] Out of the vaults from the SWR (South West German Radio) comes a new-old cycle with Michael Gielen. The picture is included below; a functioning link will be added when available.

[Ed.5/18/15] Speaking of the superlative Skrowaczewski cycle: It has been re-released at a budget price where it might be anybody’s first choice now!

[Ed.1/30/13] Curiously the smallish Oehms label is working on two concurrent Bruckner cycles, adding to their superlative Skrowaczewski cycle one on SACD’s with the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Simone Young (1-4 & 8 so far; "0" will appear in April of 2013, the rest—including "00"—will be recorded by 2014/15; past experiences with this conductor have me made avoid this cycle, so far), and another with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and the genial Ivor Bolton who is only Symphony 1 & 2 away from the standard 9. (No time-table yet, when, but planned.) These cycles will be included here when they are completed.

Daniel Barenboim (I)
Chicago SO
DG ~$42,-

+ Te Deum, Helgoland, Psalm 150
UK | DE | FR

SACD, including Samale/Philips/Cohrs/Mazzuca 1992*05 Finale

Marcus Bosch
Aachen SO
Coviello ~€125

+ Finale 9th Symphony SMPC/05

UK | DE | FR

available at Amazon

Eugen Jochum (II)
Dresden Staatskapelle
Brilliant ~$47

(“0” from Skrowaczewski’s cycle)
UK | DE | FR

available at Amazon

3-5, 7-9
Hans Knappertsbusch
BStO, BPh, MPhil, WPh
Music & Arts ~$50

(One of several cobbled Kna’ ‘cylcles’; none integral, all slightly different)
UK | DE | FR

available at Amazon

Georg Tintner
Royal Scottish NO
Naxos ~$80 oop

[Box Import Only]
+ “Volkfest Finale” Sy.4
(+ 1876 Adagio Sy.3)
UK | DE | FR


Anonymous said...

Schallers, Youngs and Venzago cycles are also complete now :)

jfl said...

Thanks for the reminder! I shall add them before long... when I've recovered from updating and revamping the Sibelius cycle survey. :-)

Anonymous said...

just see there are also some uncompleted cycles (Sinopoli, Norrington, etc.). maybe you should also add the uncomplete cycles from Harnoncourt and v.Dohnanyi (Symphonies 3 - 9 )

Matt said...

...and a new complete set from Barenboim/Staatskapelle Berlin (download only) has also just dropped, available on iTunes.

jfl said...

Matt: This Barenboim is presumably the audio-version of his live cycle so far issued on DVD/bluray by Accentus?! I will include it when it is available in toto in some hard copy format.

Yes, Dohnanyi & Harnoncourt probably deserve their inclusion... 3-9 is (sadly, esp. as No.2 is wonderful) basically a cycle in Bruckner.

Upcoming is also Dausgaard on BIS... and Schaller is now complete but for the "00" which he will presumably add, too. Thanks for all the tips & hints!!!