Message modified by board administrator February 26, 2010, 10:32 am
Ken Ward wrote to me: 'I've just read your nice review of Masur's Bruckner 4th, but what you neglect to mention is the extraordinary fact that a man who has conducted full and complete performances of the symphony for probably more than 50 years, suddenly at the age of 82 decided to truncate the Scherzo in a fashion that belongs to no existing version - that is to say, he began playing the da capo, but at the first ff cadence, bar 92, he just stopped. And that was it - almost attaca into the Finale. The music hadn't even returned to the tonic for the movement. Very strange. At first I thought it was just a failure of concentration on my part, but I've since heard an in-house recording, and it was so.) And then something peculiar with the timpani - although I think I have heard this before, though can't locate a version of the score that does it, certainly not Haas - was that it was shorn of the bold timpani stroke that completes the first tutti statement of the Finale main theme - bar 46, and in the recap. The timps were restrained throughout, but this was not mere restraint, rather total deletion of the gesture. And while I'm expressing my astonishment, we're used to one bumper with the horns, but now we also get one with the trumpets and trombones; and as if not to let their increase be matched by their colleagues, the horns now had two bumpers, making a total of six. Well, it all makes work for the working man to do, but six horns sound significantly less individual and vulnerable, and less thrilling, as they blaze out the first movement motto theme above all else at the end of that movement: the increase in quantity makes that Hegelian shift into a change of quality, not necessarily for the better. But apart from all that, yes, it was actually a nice performance!
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