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For Rob G.

Here are my Bruckner videos, from most best to least best:

IV, Finale, coda:

IX, Scherzo, excerpt:

IX, Adagio, excerpt:

I have not yet dared to attempt a visual equivalent for any part of the 8th - the greatest & strangest of all symphonies.

Comments (13)

All performances, here, courtesy of the notorious conductor Sergiu Celibidache (1912-1996), a more-or-less insane Romanian with a taste for Buddhism, and for Bruckner.

Kudos, Steve! Excellent work!

I've only got one Celibidache recording -- No.4. I've got four No.9's, but not his.

BTW, have you noticed some similarity between the adagio of no. 9 and the opening of Mendelssohn's 'Reformation' symphony? I've often wondered if it was intentional.

Great job on the 4th symphony, Steve! Hope to view the others soon ...

Steve, where do you find such horror-scapes for the visuals? (For the Scherzo, that is).

I listened to the the Fourth finale last night, and woke up this morning with Wagner's Entry of the Gods into Valhalla, from Das Rheingold running through my head. Go figure. Think there's any connection?

"where do you find such horror-scapes for the visuals?"

Hieronymus Bosch

Rob G - while a student at U. of Michigan, about twenty years ago, I attended, with a very skeptical attitude, a concert by Sergiu Celibidache and the Munich Philharmonic. The only work on the program was the Bruckner 4th.

After the first movement, I leaned over to my dear friend Scott, who had done me the honor of accompanying me to the concert, and whispered: "this is the greatest performance of anything that you will ever hear."

And that was about forty minutes before hearing Celibidache's account of the finale.

Rob G, again - honestly, I can't hear much connection between the lovely & euphonious opening of Mendelssohn's 5th and the tormented world of Bruckner's 9th, which comes to such a horrific climax in that passage from the Adagio that I used in my video.

Tony - the "horror-scape" for the scherzo of the Ninth is Bosch's triptych "The Temptation of St. Anthony," in the National Museum in Lisbon.

As for connections between Bruckner & Wagner, well...one could spend the rest of one's life.

"honestly, I can't hear much connection between the lovely & euphonious opening of Mendelssohn's 5th and the tormented world of Bruckner's 9th"

That's interesting. I'd been familiar with the Mendelssohn for close to 20 years before I ever heard the Bruckner, but upon listening to the latter for the first time that's the thing that immediately popped into mind. Granted, the similarity is superficial. If I get a chance I'll listen to both and note the approximate times of what I hear.

Excellent work. Very interesting interplay of music and images.

As is well-known,Bruckner did not complete the finale to his mighty 9th symphony,but it was actually much more complete than was previously believed ,and there have been several reconstructions of the finale by musiclogists such as Bruckner authority William Caragan and others,and there have been a number of recordings by conductoes such as Eliahu Inbal, Yoav Talmi,Nikolaus Harnoncourt,Daniel Harding and the late Kurt Eichhorn.
The music is extraordinary, and you might say the the program of the finale is Bruckner's triumphant entry into heaven. The exultant finale brings the symphony to a thrilling conclusion and resolves the terror and anguish of the previous three movements. Don't miss hearing at least one version with the completed finale.
I've been a devoted Brucknerian for about 40 years now,since I was a teenager.

Steve, the points of similarity I see between the adagio of Bruckner 9 and the opening of Mendelssohn 5 are minor. They primarily revolve around the rising motif that appears at approx. 1:55 of the Mendelssohn, which then repeats at about 2:10. It is similar to a rising motif that occurs in Bruckner at about :40, then reappears later in the movement.

I find this similarity striking but other than that, as you say, there is not much else in common.

Robert Berger, I own 4 recordings of Bruckner 9 but none with the completed finale. Do you have a particular recommendation?

The trouble with the unfinished finale of the 9th is that the coda is almost entirely missing - so any "completion" is pretty conjectural, when it comes to the overall shape of the movement.

I recommend Harnoncourt's performance. He's not a favorite conductor of mine, but he performs all of the available sketches with no attempt to fill them out with somebody else's guesses - so there are lots of gaps, and it ends in mid-air - but it's 100% Bruckner.

In case you'd like to give it a listen, I have uploaded a very high-quality mp3 version here:


Just click on "regular download" and follow directions from there.

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