One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

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

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No. 4 ‘Romantic’ (version 1878/80, edited Robert Haas)
Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann
rec. live, 17 May 2015 Semperoper, Dresden, Germany
Edition Staatskapelle Dresden – Volume 42
PROFIL PH16064 [73.06]

My colleague Michael Cookson has already glowingly reviewed this live performance and provided both background to the choice of version used here – the 1878/80 Haas edition – and outlined the distinguished Bruckner performing tradition of the glorious Staatskapelle Dresden, so I do not propose to reiterate the information he so eloquently provides.

The live recorded sound here is exceptionally fine, the occasional faint cough notwithstanding, both reflecting the excellence of the Semperoper acoustic and matching the majesty of Thielemann’s interpretation. The key to his approach is that he generates enormous grandeur without ever skirting bombast. I momentarily wondered whether I would find his tempi lugubrious, but soon realised that the underlying tension and subtlety of his phrasing and dynamics wholly negate that risk. Several consecutive hearings since, at home and in my car, have confirmed my impression that this is a recording of the highest standard; how I would have liked to have been present. The standard of playing, too, is extraordinary, especially the brass, which is impeccably tuned and mightily imposing without coarseness. Time and again, Thielemann steers the orchestra towards a magnificent climax with unerring pace and control; then that unique Brucknerian “tingle factor”, familiar to the true aficionado, strikes. The impact of the peroration of the first movement is contrasted by delicacy of the ensuing Andante, then Thielemann captures the Dionysian exhilaration of the Scherzo effortlessly without affectation, the lovely Trio relaxing into a paean to Mother Nature surely just as Bruckner intended.

I have long pondered whether the finale maintains the emotional intensity and melodic inspiration of the preceding three movements but playing such as this here allays any doubts. The balance between the swirling strings and blazing brass is ideal and the tremendous conclusion, followed by ten seconds of stunned silence, elicits rapturous applause from the previously virtually silent audience.

Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony has a rich discography and this is by no means the only recommendable recording, even if choice is restricted merely to live performances of the Haas edition only. Tennstedt’s two live recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1981 and the London Philharmonic in the Royal Festival Hall in 1989 are both superb, especially the latter, owing to its special intensity and superior sound; then of course for the True Believers there is Celibidache’s 1989 live recording with the Munich Philharmonic – more of a specialised, or perhaps, acquired, taste.

However, anyone wanting the electricity of a live recording of the Haas edition of this symphony, captured in phenomenal sound, will undoubtedly be satisfied by the acquisition of this Profil issue.

Ralph Moore

Previous review: Michael Cookson (Recording of the Month)



We are currently offering in excess of 50,400 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
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger