BRUCKNER SYMPHONY NO. 8
The Eighth Symphony – A monument carved from musical tones
With its majestic themes soaring upwards like Gothic pillars and its brilliant chorales and fanfares glowing like stained-glass windows, Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 is the most monumental of his orchestral works, a cathedral in sound that grows out of pianissimo murmurs.
Coming after the triumphs celebrated by the composer's Seventh Symphony and Te Deum, the Eighth was considered by Buckner as the artistic climax of his career. Yet Bruckner put aside the original version of the work when his friend the conductor Hermann Levi rejected it. It was first performed in 1954 and first published in 1972.
One of the champions of the original form is the Cleveland Orchestra's Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, who conducts this live performance recorded at Cleveland's Severance Hall. The concert marks the fourth installment in the orchestra's Bruckner cycle, which has been documented for posterity on DVD by Clasart. While the Fifth was recorded at the Baroque monastery of St. Florian near Linz, Austria, and the Ninth in Vienna's Musikverein, the Seventh and the Eighth were recorded in Cleveland, a stunning concert hall that artfully mixes Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Classicism, Egyptian Revival and Modernism.
The Cleveland Orchestra joined the ranks of the world's greatest orchestras shortly after it moved to Severance Hall in 1931. Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Möst has been its Music Director since 2002, and has extended his contract to 2018, the orchestra's 100th season. In addition to his duties in Cleveland, Welser-Möst has been General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera since September 2010. Reviewing the Bruckner Eighth concert, the Cleveland press wrote: "It seems there's no composer Franz Welser-Möst cares about more than Bruckner. […] At every moment, all one sensed from conductor and orchestra were respect and affection for the score" (The Plain Dealer).