One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 6 in A major (1879-81) (Nowak, 1952)
Symphony No. 7 in E major (1881-83, 1885) (Nowak, 1954)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Mariss Jansons
rec. live, 2012. DDD
RCO LIVE RCO14005 [53:11 + 63:16]

I have not really followed Mariss Jansons' career but I am well aware of how highly esteemed he is by respected fellow reviewers. Many of his recordings with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra issued on their RCO Live label have been greeted with acclaim. The same is true of his work with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on the BR Klassik label. I have even read his name mentioned in connection with the appointment of the next chief of the Berlin Philharmonic although his age at 71 and his health following a very serious heart attack in 1996 militates against that possibility. Indeed, he is due to step down this year from his Concertgebouw post.

My relative lack of acquaintance with his Bruckner prompted me to sample this latest release of two live recordings and I am impressed. I was first relieved to discover that here there is none of the understatement I hear too often in Bernard Haitink's recordings with "his" orchestra. These are brisk, energised accounts with real crispness of attack and sustained momentum.

The Sixth is closest is conception and execution to my favourite version by Wolfgang Sawallisch on Orfeo. Like him, Jansons takes the first and third movements relatively fast; Schaller is more mysterious and Klemperer grander in that opening but both they and Jansons all convey the "Majestoso" instruction in their different ways. The Adagio is certainly grand and very elegantly played, if just a little soft-edged. The Scherzo is very sharply accented and exploits a wide dynamic range. The Finale is a triumph, especially given the relative shapelessness of a movement not invulnerable to justified criticism for its lack of coherence. The balance between brass and strings is excellent, particularly so for a live performance and Jansons generates real thrills in the last few minutes.

The Seventh is by and large given a far more propulsive account than my hitherto preferred recording by Kurt Sanderling. I am open to alternative readings and it must be admitted that Sanderling's approach is the more eccentric, with daringly distended tempi in both opening movements, especially the Adagio. This road is taken to slightly reduced extremes by Karajan and Skrowaczewski. Jansons' performance is more moderately paced and although some might lament a certain lack of personality in the beautiful playing, I revel in the voluptuous sonorities and noble conclusion of the "Allegro moderato". The Adagio is the least successful movement in that it courts blandness and I want greater attack to, and more luxurious shaping of, those generous phrases. That said, compensation is afforded by the "dark, humming sound", as the notes aptly put it, of the Wagner tubas and the special, hushed serenity of the closing bars. The Scherzo is played with welcome bite and the brass snarl superbly in the emphatic reiteration of the leaping martial theme of the Finale, in which Jansons brings out all the lyricism of the score.

These are the two symphonies by Bruckner around which there is least musicological debate regarding the validity of the emendations and the authenticity of the edition employed. Only the question of whether to permit the cymbals and triangle at the climax of the Adagio of the Seventh remains and they are here triumphantly included.

The live sound in the Concertgebouw is absolutely first rate in terms of balance, dynamics and lack of obtrusive noise. This bargain twofer represents the essence of Jansons' Bruckner.

Ralph Moore

Previous review: Brian Reinhart


We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger