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Bruckner sys PH22007
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Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Complete Symphonies (revised versions)
Mass No 3
Psalm 146
Organ Works
Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller
rec. live, July 2007 - November 2020, Abteikirche, Ebrach, Upper Franconia and Regentenbau, Bad Kissingen (D minor Symphony & No 1 1866 “Linz”, No 1 1891 Vienna & No 4 Volksfest finale), Germany
PROFIL PH22007 [20 CDs: 1097 mins]

In 2018 Profil Hänssler released an 18 CD box set of Bruckner’s Complete Symphonies performed by the Philharmonie Festiva and Gerd Schaller, which I reviewed here and where you will also find more links to my earlier reviews of individual issues. This new, 20 CD box set supersedes that, in that it includes performances recorded since then. Those new recordings are as follows (with links provided to my previous reviews):
Symphony No 1 in C minor (1891 Vienna version) (ed. Schaller)
Symphony No 3 in D minor (1890 version) (ed. Schalk)
Symphony No 9 in D minor (ed. Nowak; finale completed by Gerd Schaller rev. 2018)
Symphony No 9 in D minor (Organ transcription Gerd Schaller)

Thus the Schalk edition of the 1890 version of the Third Symphony is now included here as well as William Carragan’s edition of 1874 version, but the 2012 recording of the Ninth with William Carragan’s 2010 revised version of the finale is no longer included; instead, we have the 2018 recording including Gerd Schaller’s revised completion. A further addition is Schaller’s organ transcription of the Ninth and the organ works first issued on a separate, double CD set.

Given that the new box set duplicates much of what is contained in the 2018 issue, those who purchased that first box set are unlikely to want this new one, especially as if they already know and like Schaller’s Bruckner, they will probably already have acquired the later recordings as they appeared, but otherwise this new bargain-box compendium presents as complete and varied a collection as could be found for anyone who hesitated to purchase this first time around. All eleven symphonies are presented in excellent performances and three of those -the First, Third and Fourth - are each played in two very different versions.

Perusal of my previous reviews will reveal that I am almost uniformly complimentary about, these recordings. My only caveat concerns the quite resonant acoustic resulting from most of these being recorded in the Ebrach abbey (apart from four symphonies performed in the Regentenbau) but that reverberation is by no means excessive and suits the monumental nature of the music. Otherwise, the virtuosity and artistry of the dedicated performers concerned are invariably impressive.

There is more to come, in that this is part of Gerd Schaller’s ongoing BRUCKNER2024 project launched in 2011 with the aim of performing and recording all of Bruckner's symphonies in all versions by the time the 200th anniversary of composer's birth falls on 4 September 2024. Hence, for example, not included here is the original 1874 version of the Fourth also just about to be released as I write and new versions of the 1877 Second, the 1888 Fourth and the 1887 Eighth which will be performed and recorded at this year’s Ebrach Musiksommer festival. Further intermediate versions of the Third and the Eight will also appear and the project will ultimately extend to more than thirty CDs. The later Schalk versions of the Fifth and the Eighth, not thought to be the work of Bruckner himself, are not included in the project as Schaller is concerned only to present editions in which the composer is known to been involved, but they will probably nonetheless eventually be recorded.

The aim of the project is to present the dedicated Brucknerian with the most recent and musicologically sound editions of Bruckner’s symphonies, such that the development of his genius can be explored and appreciated through the constant changes and refinements he introduced into his works. Although Gerd Schaller is meticulous in his research and the production of critical editions, he is certainly no dry academician; he is also an outstanding organist and conductor whose love of Bruckner’s music constantly informs these incandescent performances.

Ralph Moore

CD 1: Symphony in F minor (Study Symphony) (1863) [43:23]
Edition: Gerd Schaller
CD 2: Symphony No 1 in C minor (Early Linz version 1866) [51:34]
Edition: William Carragan
CD 3: Symphony No 1 in C minor (1891 Vienna version) [50:30]
Edition: Gerd Schaller
CD 4: Symphony in D minor WAB 100 (1869) – Die Nullte (1869) [43:29]
Edition: Gerd Schaller
CD 5: Symphony No 2 in C minor (Version 1872) [70:21]
Edition: William Carragan
CD 6: Symphony No 3 in D minor (Version 1874) [70:24]
Edition: William Carragan – World Premiere Recording
CD 7: Symphony No 3 in D minor (1890 version) [57:24]
Edition: Schalk
CD 8: Symphony No 4 in E-flat major Romantic (1878/1880 version) [65:43]
Edition: Leopold Nowak
CD 9: Symphony No 4 in E-flat major Romantic (1878/1880 version with Volksfest finale 1878) [60:11]
Edition: William Carragan/Leopold Nowak
CD 10: Symphony No 5 in B-flat major [72:52]
Edition: Leopold Nowak
CD11: Symphony No 6 in A major [57:30]
Edition: Leopold Nowak
CD 12: Symphony No 7 in E major (1883) [64:52]
Edition: Leopold Nowak
CDs 13 [61:14] & 14 [38:15]: Symphony No 8 (Variant of 1888) [85:42]
Edition: William Carragan – World Premiere Recording
Otto KITZLER senior (1834-1915) & Otto KITZLER junior (1863-1931)
Trauermusik (1906) (orch. Gerd Schaller) [13:37]
CDs 15 [37:09] & 16 [50:13]: Symphony No 9 in D minor (1896; ed. Nowak; finale completed by Gerd Schaller - revised 2018) [87:22]
Edition: Leopold Nowak
CD 17: Bruckner - Mass No 3 in F Minor (1893) [60:21]
Edition: Leopold Nowak
CD18: Psalm 146 & Organ Works [56:48]
Psalm 146 (1858?) [30:03]
Edition: Gerd Schaller
Ania Vegry (soprano); Franziska Gottwald (alto); Clemens Bieber (tenor); Timo Riihauen (bass); Philharmonischer Chor München, Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller
Organ Works [26:29]:
Bruckner’s Bad Ischl improvisation sketches 1890, completed as “Festmusik” by Erwin Horn [8:35]
Andante in D minor (WAB 130) [1:49]
Postlude in D minor (WAB 126) [4:07]
Prelude and Fugue in C minor (WAB 131) [5:54]
Fugue in D minor (WAB 125) [3:58]
Prelude in C minor (WAB 129) [2:06]
Gerd Schaller (organ)
CDs 19 [36:58] & 20 [48:27]: Symphony No 9 in D minor for organ
Organ transcription by Gerd Schaller
Gerd Schaller (organ)

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