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Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, ‘Romantic (1887 edition) [70:18]  
Orchester der Klangverwaltung/Enoch zu Guttenberg
rec. 25-26 April 2007, Musikverein, Vienna
FARAO CLASSICS S108051 [70:18]
Experience Classicsonline

This occasional orchestra and their conductor are not well known internationally; yet their performance is beautifully shaped and the playing is most refined. Those descriptions sum up the performance quite neatly, in fact. There is always more than one way to perform a masterpiece and Guttenberg brings out the sophisticated shadings of dynamic, thanks to some refined playing from the strings of his orchestra.
All this implies that there are some priorities which stand above others, and so they do. What is lacking here is a strong sense of drama. While the performance has its dramatic moments, and these cannot be avoided altogether since they are in the score, Guttenberg does not impose an epic scale or the utmost power. In some respects this can be frustrating, since the music can seem under-stated at times, such as the development section of the finale, but it always sounds well and there are always rewards in terms of the ebb and flow of the musical line and the quality of the string sound.
Therefore this is a performance to enjoy for its own sake. There is no sense of definitive view for anyone who knows the symphony well, but there are many pleasures to enjoy along the way. The engineers have captured the live Musikverein performance(s) (there were two) most sensitively, with an appropriate sense of space and with the support of a particularly well behaved audience (would that the same were true elsewhere).
Founded as recently as 1997, the Klangverwalten Orchestra is another of those occasional orchestras who gather for special projects. To quote the booklet notes: ‘For each project, a constant base of musicians from leading symphonic orchestras such as the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic, the State Opera Houses of Munich Stuttgart, Hamburg and Hanover, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, as well as different German radio symphony orchestras, comes together in order to revise their meanwhile sizeable repertoire, but also to compose a new one. . . . No wonder the playing is so refined.
The accompanying booklet is nicely produced, with a selection of razor-sharp photographs. But these, like the programme notes, are preoccupied with the artists rather than with the music, a priority which is hardly rare but undoubtedly wrong.
There is no sense of definitive view for anyone who knows the symphony well, but there are many pleasures to enjoy along the way.
Terry Barfoot


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