Day 5: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor (Young)

This morning, I am listening to Bruckner’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor (WAB 101), nicknamed “The Saucy Maid,” interpreted by Australian conductor Simone Young (1961-).

According to an entry about her on Wikipedia,

Simone Margaret Young AM (born 2 March 1961) is an Australian conductor. She was born in Sydney, of Irish ancestry on her father’s side and Croatian ancestry on her mother’s side. Young was educated at the Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College in North Sydney. She studied composition, piano and conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Her orchestra is the Philharmoniker Hamburg.

According to its entry on Wikipedia,

The Philharmoniker Hamburg is an internationally renowned symphony orchestra based in Hamburg. As of 2015, Kent Nagano has been General Music Director (Generalmusikdirektor) (de) and Chief Director (Chefdirigent). The Philharmoniker Hamburg also serves as the orchestra of the Hamburg State Opera. The Hamburg Philharmonic is one of three major orchestras in Hamburg, the others being the Hamburger Symphoniker and the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The CD booklet that sort of serves as liner notes reads,

You will find detailed liner notes from Michael Lewis for all sinfonies via download on www.oehmsclassics.de

That’s all well and good.

But I just paid $31.58 for this box set. And now I have to go to a web site to find liner notes?

Good luck with that.

Especially when that URL is to the home page of OEHMS Classics, and not a specific page that lists liner notes for this set and others. Without that dedicated URL (which is what I would have printed in the liner notes booklet), it’s anyone’s guess where the liner notes are on their site.

See what I mean:

Where are the liner notes? Yoo-hoo? Liner notes! Come out, come out, wherever you are!

How much time do I want to spend searching for them?

Zero.

That’s how much time.

But I clicked around for awhile until I found the link to the pdf of the liner notes. Here it is.

You’re welcome.

And, by the way, the pdf of liner notes – at 56 pages – is actually quite extensive. There’s some interesting stuff in there.

Here are the objective aspects of today’s recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor (WAB 101), composed between 1865 and 1866
Simone Young conducts
Young used the “Linz version,” according to the liner notes that I had to download myself from the OEHMS Classics web site (or “Linzer” and “Urfassung 1865/66,” according to the CD sleeve (“Urfassung” is German for “original version”)
Philharmoniker Hamburg plays
The symphony clocks in at 49:08
This was recorded in Hamburg, Germany, in January of 2010
Young was 49 when she conducted it
Bruckner was 42 when he finished composing it (the first time)
This recording was released on the OEHMS Classics label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four movements. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 1 in C Minor), from this particular conductor (Young) and this particular orchestra (Philharmoniker Hamburg) is as follows:

I. Allegro (C minor)……………………………………………………………………………………13:30
II. Adagio (A-flat major)………………………………………………………………………………………………………..12:32
II. Scherzo: Lebhaft (lively)—G minor – Trio: Langsam (slowly)—G major…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8:46
IV. Finale: Bewegt und feurig (with motion and pep)—C minor…………………………………………………………………………………………………………14:16

Total running time: 49:08

Okay. Now, here are the subjective aspects of today’s recording:

My Rating:
Recording quality: 4
Overall musicianship: 4
CD liner notes: 2 (meager notes, confusing layout, essential an “ad” for the Hamburg State Councillor of Culture on page 5)
How does this make me feel: 4

The first thing I noticed about Maestro Young’s interpretation is how it was recorded – the thrum, thrum, thrum of the cellos at the start of the Allegro isn’t as pronounced as it was on the Janowski recording. Plus, the tempo is slower than the Janowski recording.

But there’s a lot of verve to this recording, a few feisty moments (especially in the Scherzo) that made me sit up and take notice, as well as some tender, heart-wrenching moments (the finale minute of the Adagio, for example).

Plus, the Finale has great boldness to it.

All in all, this is a very nice recording of a very fine performance. The orchestra is playing its little heart out.

My beef with this OEHMS Classics edition is the liner notes. I’m a stickler for good liner notes. If that label had printed the liner notes that it offers as a pdf, and bundled it with the CDs themselves, this would be a box set to be reckoned with.

I can’t believe this is the last CD in the cycle of listening to Bruckner’s First. So, tomorrow starts Symphony No. 2 in C Minor. Already!

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