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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 in Austria are a perfect match – especially when they are captured on film so thrillingly by such an eminent director as Brian Large.
The Fourth Symphony marks a major milestone in Bruckner’s attempt to establish a symphonic design suitable to sustain his innovative musical thought. Not surprisingly, the score was subjected to extensive revisions. The Fourth, in fact, represents the most convoluted revision history of all his symphonies – and this for a composer for whom variant editions of a work, often involving substantial changes, became the norm. The result is that the identification of the “authentic” final score that should be performed is a matter of ongoing debate for many of his symphonies – in particular the Fourth.
Franz Welser-Möst, the Music Director 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).
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 … It was an excellent concert … as anticipated.” (Austria’s leading daily, Die Presse).
“There can be no question that the Cleveland Orchestra play superbly throughout and that Welser-Möst is every inch the master interpreter. He directs a very grand view of Bruckner's great work. Special mention must be made of the wonderful viola section, but everyone plays their hearts out such that even the conductor is visibly moved at several points in the finale.”
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