The Bavarian State Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in the world, with a long and rich tradition. Its origins can be traced back to 1523. The orchestra began playing opera as early as 1653. In 1811, the Musical Academy was founded, the oldest series of symphonic concerts in Munich.
The symphonic sound of the Bavarian State Orchestra has been moulded by this long history and the kind of emotional playing demanded of an opera orchestra. Its uniquely warm and expressive musical style reflects the centuries spent playing the operatic works of Mozart, Wagner, Strauss and many other composers.
The orchestra's conductors have always recognised these special qualities. When Kent Nagano took up the position of Bavarian General Music Director in 2006, one of his main goals was to continue this tradition, while at the same time developing it into the future.
During their years as a team, the Bavarian State Orchestra and Kent Nagano have achieved a perfect synthesis. The emotional intensity and characteristic warm sound of the orchestra have combined with the detailed analytical work and structural clarity provided by its chief conductor to create a unique fusion.
This combination is ideally suited to Bruckner's music. His works demand long lines and a dark, dense tone colour from the orchestra – a sound that the State Orchestra has always possessed, owing in particular to its long involvement with the music of Wagner. At the same time, Kent Nagano brings out the architecture of Bruckner's monumental pieces with skill and intelligence.
And the choice of the rarely played and extremely difficult first versions of the 4th and 8th symphonies sets this publication well apart from the crowd of Bruckner recordings. The recordings collected here are an eloquent testament to seven years of collaboration and their artistic fruits.
The recordings of the 4th and 7th symphonies, which were produced in the Farao Studios, were already issued in 2008/2011 on Sony Classical. The original version of the 8th Symphony is a first release.