Bruckner’s majestic Symphony No. 8 overflows with lavish themes and rich sonorities, representing the composer at his grandest, whilst the Symphony’s occasional title ‘Apocalyptic’ alludes to an underlying tone of solemnity. This strong and idiomatic reading comes from a live-to-air BBC recording dating from October 1981. This is very early days in the Orchestra’s long association with Tennstedt. In true Tennstedt fashion, the sheer beauty of the sound and opulence of the textures are awe-inspiring in this triumphant interpretation. Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 29 October 1981.
Sir Charles Mackerras and the London Philharmonic Orchestra shared a musical heritage spanning 45 years and this live recording of Dvorák’s Symphonic Variations and Symphony No. 8 from 1992 pays tribute to a partnership that exuded a joy and vivacity in music making.
…In his late years, Wand restricted his repertoire almost exclusively to the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (which he had never conducted until he was over 60), Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart. Wand regarded Bruckner as the "most important symphonist after Beethoven". Wand's biographer Wolfgang Seifert believes that "it is no exaggeration to say that Günter Wand has made an indispensable contribution toward the understanding of Bruckner in our time."
The late Alfred Schnittke has, after his death, been accused of writing too much music of variable quality. This debate is still raging although suffice to say that the Eighth Symphony truly is one of his greatest works and indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), creating a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra.
Milhaud’s six little symphonies are brief, lighthearted experiments in sound combinations, and they are also very charming. These performances are delightful … precise, spirited, brilliant …
I don’t see how anyone could go wrong with these performances, which MDG captures in bright, characterful sound.
"…But in its elegant and precise way the Utrecht have made a fine start in their welcome cycle." ~musicweb-international