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Ionarts-at-Large: Markus Poschner Shines Again In Bruckner

After having my pants impressed off by the Bruckner Zeroeth Symphony where Markus Poschner conducted the Vienna RSO (see also: “Anton Bruckner's Zeroeth Symphony, A Viennese Miracle”) and upon learning that he would be back with Bruckner in the Musikverein within a fortnight – this time the Eighth Symphony with his own orchestra, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz of which he has just become the chief conductor, I knew I had to be there. Had the previous evening been a fluke or solely an achievement of the orchestra’s? (Unlikely but not impossible.) A confluence of coincidence, the alignment of rare planets, or Poschner’s work and ingratiating character? Well, the sample size is still small, but it certainly seems as though the Bavarian conductor, who’s taken the slow route for his steady, constant career, knows how to make an orchestra play their best Bruckner.

available at Amazon
Walton, Bruch, Pärt, Viola Concertos
N.Mönkemeyer/M.Poschner, Bamberger SO

This Eight Symphony was well controlled, full of beautiful transitions, eschewed extremes and portentousness. Although Poschner does get animated at times, his big frame sort of swallows the movements up and makes them look controlled, harmonious, smooth, and slower than they are. The first movement exuded calm without being slow. Everything had shape. Liquid and gorgeous, the third movement – in splendid sound and never micromanaged – worked gradually towards the climax… uninterrupted by premature exultations.

The performance – not executed just as precisely or flawlessly as the ORF’s but altogether splendidly played – shone particularly since my second-to-last Bruckner Eighth, a few months back, was a dull, dull, dull affair with the great Mariss Jansons and the great Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The last, with Philippe Jordan and his Vienna Symphony Orchestra, was good but tamely conventional. Poschner’s Eighth on the other hand, while certainly not unconventional, was never not interesting and subtly intriguing. The steady motion of the finale purring away in swift-feeling, swinging finale with beautifully accumulating energy was essentially an exclamation mark on that finding. Tremendous, really! I know there shall be more Poschner- (and Bruckner Orchestra-) listening in my future.


Anonymous said...

Good to know that the Bruckner Orchestra still can play its namesake's music - during Dennis Russell's Davies' tenure the orchestra's name was change to the Philip Glass Orchestra of Linz! :-)

Sarcasm apart, I remember listening to some of the recordings by Kurt Eichhorn with the same orchestra. The conductor is an old pro, but I remember loving the sound of the orchestra. Not the most disciplined band but with its own sound culture that I find ideal for Bruckner.

jfl said...

My first Bruckner cycle was the Jochum Bros. collection on Tahra, with some *really* old Bruckner Orchestra recordings... And yes, DRD's Bruckner was more on the unique side than on the side of splendor.