Recording the symphonies of the iconic Austro-German Romantic, Bruckner, with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande – an orchestra with roots in the French music-performance tradition – was a courageous decision. Conductor Marek Janowski attests to the fact that exploring and working on this repertoire was a joyful process for all musicians involved, and the result of that endeavour speaks for itself.
The Symphony No.1 is performed in the Linz version of 1877 (ed. Nowak). Bruckner’s omnipresent “version problem” manifests itself with great clarity for the first time in the Symphony No.2. Three versions of the work exist: 1871–72, 1873–77 and 1892. The versions from 1872 and 1877 were presented as part of the “New Complete Edition” in two volumes (ed. William Carragan), and this recording is based on the latter. The colossal dimensions of the first version of Symphony No.3, with its sprawling and untamed shape, and the restrained, pruned-down version dating from 1888/89 (ed. Nowak) recorded here are worlds apart. Marek Janowski recorded the well-known second version of Symphony No.4, i.e. the 1878/80 Version with Bruckner's 1886 revisions (ed. Nowak). Only one version remains of both the Symphony No.5 and Symphony No.6: the 1878 Version (ed. Nowak) and 1881 Version (ed. Nowak), respectively. Likewise, the Symphony No.7 has only one version, from 1885, however the Nowak edition recorded here differs from the earlier Haas edition.
Symphony No.8 is recorded here in its 1890 Edition (ed. Nowak), heavily revised at the bidding of conductor Hermann Levi, Bruckner’s intended conductor for the premiere. The unfinished Symphony No.9 is presented here as such: a three-movement work (ed. Nowak).
This cycle of the nine canonical symphonies of Bruckner is graced with the addendum of the Mass No.3, in which Bruckner clearly gears his style towards that of the symphonic–orchestral Mass paradigm of composers ranging from Haydn to Schubert, and most emblematically, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, yet with a “mixture of the archaic and the personal, of an as yet undeveloped style of composition” (M. Hansen).
- Recordings made 2009–2012 at Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland
- Booklet in English contains an introduction by the conductor, liner notes by Franz Steiger and profiles of the orchestra and conductor
- Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was one of the most significant figures in the late Romantic era. His nine symphonies, monumental works, often described as cathedrals of sound, showcase Bruckner's unique style, marked by lush harmonies, expansive orchestration, and a profound sense of spirituality.
- Bruckner's symphonies are a journey through the depths of human emotion and spirituality. They are characterized by their grandiosity, with some lasting well over an hour in performance. The composer's fascination with the music of Richard Wagner and his deep Catholic faith are evident throughout these compositions, resulting in a fusion of Wagnerian drama and religious mysticism.
- A reissue on Brilliant Classics of the original Pentatone recordings from 2015, with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Marek Janowski: “Janowski has forged an instrument that projects Bruckner’s richly textured canvases with a combination of warmth, transparency and tonal weight, the brass sounding particularly impressive… Pentatone has provided Janowski and his Geneva forces with excellent sound. This is yet another significant step towards what I am convinced will eventually turn out to be one of the finest recorded Bruckner cycles of the 21st century.” Rob Cowan in Gramophone. As an “encore”, the Mass in F minor is included in the recording.