Anton BRUCKNER (1824-96)
Symphony No. 0 in D minor, 'Nullte'. String Quintet in F - Adagio (arr.
Saarbrücken Radio Symphony
Arte Nova 74321 75510-2
The strength of this performance lies in the fact that Skrowaczewski sees
the D minor symphony in its own terms rather than as a poor relation to the
towering edifices that were to follow. No mere apologist, therefore, he refuses
to take it as read that he is dealing with inferior Bruckner: the results
Skrowaczewski is as underrated a conductor as they come. His began his stint
with the Hallé Orchestra (not even mentioned in Arte Nova's biography)
with a revelatory performance of Mahler's Tenth in the Deryck Cooke realisation.
Here he inspires the Saarbrücken orchestra to play beyond their means:
the brass chorales are appropriately warm-toned, the wind project their solos
well and the strings dance beautifully in the Scherzo. Skrowaczewski makes
the symphony more than the sum of its constituent parts, capturing en
route the fragmentary passages of the first movement particularly well.
At any price this performance would be worth acquiring, but at super-budget
it is indispensable.
Tintner, his rival at this price, couples his account with the Eighth, and
so spreads it over two discs (Naxos 8664215/6), effectively ruling it out
of court. Haitink's 1966 recording is a solid recommendation (Philips 442
040-2), while Solti and the Chicagoans give their all on Decca 452 160-2.
But whatever the competition, you will not be disappointed with Skrowaczewski.
The filler is Skrowaczewski's own arrangement of the Adagio from the F major
String Quintet. This is very beautifully realised: Skrowaczeswski retains
the feeling of chamber music on the larger canvas.
Well worth the small outlay.