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Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, WAB 104, "Romantic"
I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell
II. Andante quasi allegretto
III. Scherzo: Bewegt
IV. Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell
“…one of the greatest accounts of the work that I have heard. The LPO is on magnificent form, the horns especially covering themselves in glory the whole way through… Tennstedt's fervent love of every note transmits itself to the listener.”
“The physical and psychological variables of live music-making can lead musicians to adopt stratagems which are disagreeable and distracting when repeated on record. Tennstedt, curiously, was not such a musician. For all that his performances are vibrant and alive, they tend to be of a piece. There was never anything manufactured or self-conscious about his music-making. This live Bruckner Fourth is certainly a performance sufficient unto itself. Most conductors worth their fee can make an effect with the glowingly atmospheric first movement and hunting Scherzo. It is quite another thing to be able to make sense of the fallibly drafted finale and trickier still to give the impression that the two outer movements are of a piece, culminating in a coda that truly 'arrives'. Tennstedt achieves all this. As to the inner movements, his tempo for the Andante is unnecessarily broad, though the playing itself is poetic and precise, the climax finely achieved. The Scherzo, by contrast, is rather quick. The horns, led by Nicholas Busch in whose honour the recording is released, retain their composure at this driving pace; the trumpets are inclined to shout. The Royal Festival Hall was never a good Bruckner venue. The acoustic shows chordal sonority to advantage but tends to be unforgiving in soaring climaxes and sudden fortissimi. For that reason alone, this is not a 'library' Fourth to set beside the classic versions. Not that admirers of Tennstedt, an under-recorded conductor, are going to lose much sleep over such a caveat.”
“Most conductors worth their fee can make an effect with the glowingly atmospheric first movement and hunting Scherzo. It is quite another thing to be able to make sense of the fallibly drafted finale and trickier still to give the impression that the two outer movements are of a piece, culminating in a coda that truly "arrives", Tennstedt achieves all this.”
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