Search MusicWeb Here


selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases


Symphonies 1,2,4 £11.75 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

 

  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes


Let me tell you


David Pia


Beethoven Rattle


Highly Impressive


Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!


To live with


outstanding retrospective


A superb celebration


flair, insight, controversy


outstanding singing

 


Sheer bliss


best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Prima voce
Red Priest
Redcliffe
Retrospective
Saydisc
Sheva
Toccata Classics
Wyastone


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor (1871-2, ed. Haas) [57:25]
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Euryanthe: Overture (1822-3) [8:59]*
Invitation to the Dance (1819; arr. Berlioz, 1841) [10:32]*
Vienna Philharmonic/Horst Stein
rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, December 1973, *October 1977
DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 8557 [77:06]

As a noted Bayreuth Wagnerian of the 1970s, Horst Stein could be expected to have a good feeling for Bruckner. The two symphonies he recorded for Decca - there's also a Sixth - bear this out. His approach is workmanlike rather than galvanic or glamorous, but his firm line and sense of purpose convey a rugged, unaffected integrity. He lays out the broad melodies in a glowing cantabile while maintaining a solidly weighted sonority.
 
The result, with the Vienna Philharmonic contributing full-bodied, variegated playing, is pleasing in a general way. If you know the music well, though - or if you're following it with a score - you may notice a lack of consistency in the handling of various musical matters.
 
The very start of the symphony, for example, displays the conductor's fine sense of orchestral texture: Stein draws both the 'cellos' theme (mezzo forte) and the horns' counterpoint (piano) in sharp relief against the strings (also piano), to good effect. Some more simply layered passages, however, aren't as carefully defined. In the same movement, the trombones, of all instruments, have to fight their way through the tutti at 8:02. What should be a clear, open sonority at 8:41 of the slow movement sounds a bit cloudy.
 
In other passages, an upward "marking" of dynamics, with numerous piano passages creeping towards mezzo forte, doesn't serve any apparent purpose. The strings don't sound quite sorted out at 4:20 of the first movement, nor the first time around theTrio of the Scherzo - on the repeat, Stein highlights the interplay of string lines nicely.

The conductor also has a fine feel for "atmosphere" - note the hushed mystery at the start of the first-movement development - but other such opportunities, as at 1:19 of the slow movement, elapse unacknowledged. In that same movement, the decorated restatement of the first theme at4:52 is spacious and tender, but its unfolding later on, building the movement's climax, seems slightly rushed. General pauses, especially in the Finale, don't always get their full value.
 
The Weber items, recorded four years later, are fine, but a different production team captures a "longer" resonance in the Sofiensaal, producing boomy bass and rendering the textures gummy and opaque.
 
As for the symphony, its handsome playing and recording and its forthright musicality have their undoubted appeal: I still enjoy the performance when I'm "just" listening. For a fuller realization of the score's drama and breadth, however, you're still best off with Haitink's now-venerable account - probably hard to find, alas, outside the old Philips "bargain box" reissue.
 
Stephen Francis Vasta
Stephen Francis Vasta is a New York-based conductor, coach, and journalist.

Masterwork Index: Bruckner symphony 2