BRUCKNER SYMPHONY NO. 4
A soaring, jubilant interpretation of the “Romantic”
When it comes to shaping a musical event for the ears and the eyes, the monumental majesty of Anton Bruckner’s (1824-1896) symphonies and the exhilarating vibrancy of St. Florian’s monastery are a perfect match – especially when they are captured on film so thrillingly by such an eminent director as Brian Large.
But there are more decisive links between the Austrian composer and St. Florian: Bruckner became acquainted with the monastery’s organ in his childhood, and served as the organist there from 1845 to 1855. An instrument admired far and wide, it has over 7,300 pipes. St. Florian and its organ remained Bruckner’s spiritual and musical home till the end of his life; according to his express wish, his body was embalmed and buried in the crypt beneath the great organ.
Welser-Möst, the principal conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra and General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera, is an acknowledged Bruckner specialist who has developed a passion for the composer’s Fourth Symphony – called the “Romantic” by its creator – in its infrequently played first edition (1888/89). More slender, dynamic and finely shaded than the more commonly performed version, this score is also more daring, with its sharper contrasts and boldly exposed dissonances.
Following the recordings of Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos. 5, 7, 8 and 9, the performance of the Fourth marks the fifth installment in the Cleveland Orchestra’s Bruckner cycle recorded by Clasart Classic. The Cleveland Orchestra, called the most European of America’s prestige formations, has been setting new standards in Bruckner interpretation for several years now through the “expertise” of Franz Welser-Möst, who “elicits a grandiose interpretation from his technically unsurpassable ensemble” (Austria’s leading daily, Die Presse).