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Symphony No.4 in E-flat major has been one of Bruckner's most popular works ever since its first performance, in Vienna 1881. It is often called the ‘Romantic', a nickname that Bruckner himself used, most probably in reference to the literary genre of the medieval romance. What was performed in Vienna in 1881 was a second, revised version of the symphony, which had actually already seen first light in 1874. In spite of the success of the revised version, further revisions took place before publication, resulting in the so-called ‘1888 version' recorded here. Although this remained the preferred version for several decades, it later became discredited, as it was assumed that the revisions it contained were the product of others than the composer himself. The rehabilitation of the 1888 version is to a large extent due to the efforts of the musicologist Benjamin Korstvedt, who in 2004 prepared the first modern edition of the 1888 version for the Bruckner Collected Works edition. In his liner notes to the present disc, Korstvedt discusses this background, giving a number of interesting illustrations of the differences between editions.
It has been said that Bruckner took Beethoven's Symphony No.9 as the starting point for his symphonies. It therefore seems logical that Osmo Vänskä and his Minnesota Orchestra have chosen to record this work after their acclaimed cycle of Beethoven's symphonies.
“…surely the hottest modern interpretation on disc. Rhythms, colours, articulation: everything is pointed and bright…Buy and rejoice.” The Times on Vanska’s Beethoven cycle with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, WAB 104, "Romantic" (1888 version)
I. Ruhig bewegt (nur nicht schnell)
III. Scherzo: Bewegt - Trio: Gemachlich
IV. Finale: Massig bewegt
“...even if you decide against this score in the end, this finely recorded, authoritative performance will make the process all the more enjoyable.”
3rd July 2010
“...high-definition ensemble and well-sprung tempi...strike a balance between tradition and a modern spring-clean...There is nothing remotely ponderous about this performance - the emphasis is on spring-coil energy...Vänskä’s dynamism [is] effective on its own terms, and his mid-Western orchestra responds to his will with flawless spirit.”
“The performance is vintage Vänskä: lean, lithe, emotionally engaged, meticulously prepared”
“Vänskä's rhythmic incisiveness and his rendering the music's formal evolution in terms of dovetailed blocks rather than rolling paragraphs is appropriate for the continuity pursued here”
1st July 2010
“Vänskä shows that Bruckner's last thoughts on his most popular symphony deserve to be heard...The performance has a sense of missionary zeal about it, too – predominantly swift tempi, fiercely worked climaxes and a real dramatic charge, all underpinned by exceptional orchestral playing.”
16th July 2010
“Everything sounds natural and mellifluous...Vänskä’s inspired and caring direction makes everything plausible; and the Minnesota musicians respond with that taut, fresh attack and lyrical glow familiar from their exciting Beethoven symphony cycle.”