Day 16: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Young)

This morning, I am listening to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor WAB 103 (nicknamed “Wagner Symphony”), interpreted by Australian conductor Simone Young (1961-).

Her orchestra is the Philharmoniker Hamburg.

Last time, I wrote I wouldn’t provide the background info on Simone Young and her orchestra.

So I won’t.

But I will tell you I first encountered Maestro Young on this leg of my Bruckner journey on Day 5.

Then again on Day 10.

You can read what I thought of her interpretations by letting your mouse do the clicking.

Or not. Up to you.

Today is the third time I’m listening to a performance conducted by Ms. Young.

And with about the same results.

But more about that later.

I wrote that I would not duplicate my bios of Ms. Young and her orchestra. But I feel I do have to provide the information about the CD booklet that pretends to serve as liner notes. In that slim volume, I read,

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

What were the folks at OEHMS Classics thinking?

Especially when that URL goes 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 had I been in charge of this box set), 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 liner notes that should have been in the box in the first place?

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. I just wish it was included in the CD box set and/or given a unique URL to find them quickly and easily on the OEHMS web site.

Ah well. As Tony Soprano would say, “Whattayagonnado?”

Here are the objective aspects of today’s recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, composed 1872
Simone Young conducts
Young used the “Urfassung 1873,” according to the liner notes that I had to download myself from the OEHMS Classics web site (“Urfassung” is German for “original version”)
Philharmoniker Hamburg plays
The symphony clocks in at 68:38 – Yikes! (this wins the coveted “Yikes!” award for length)
This was recorded in Hamburg, Germany, on October 14-16, 2006
Young was 45 when she conducted it
Bruckner was 49 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. 3 in D Minor), from this particular conductor (Young) and this particular orchestra (Philharmoniker Hamburg) is as follows:

I. Gemäßigt, mehr bewegt, misterioso (Moderate, more animated, mysterious)……………………………………………………………………………………………………25:38
II. Adagio. Bewegt, quasi Andante (With motion, as if Andante)………………………………………………………………………………………………………..19:20
III. Scherzo. Ziemlich schnell (Fairly fast) (also Sehr schnell)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..6:40
IV. Finale. Allegro (also Ziemlich schnell)………………………………………………………17:09

Total running time: 68:38

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

My Rating:
Recording quality: 3
Overall musicianship: 4
CD liner notes: 2 (meager notes, confusing layout, essentially an “ad” for the Hamburg State Councillor of Culture and the Hamburg Philharmonic)
How does this make me feel: 3

Methinks Maestro Young is from the Lorin Maazel school of conducting – as in, the longer I make this, the better it will be.

Hers is, once again, the longest performance of Bruckner’s Third of the six conductors (including Young) I heard on this leg of my journey.

Doubt me?

Take a look:

Janowski, Day 15 – 53:20
Inbal, Day 8 – 65:30
Celibidache, Day 15 – 65:31
Barenboim (Pink Box) – 57:38
Barenboim (Blue Box) – 59:36

At 68:38, Maestro’s Young’s interpretation is 10 minutes longer than either of Barenboim’s, 3 minutes longer than Inbal’s and Celidbidache’s. And nearly 15 minute longer than Janowski’s. That’s not quite venturing into Ass Hurt territory. But it’s a curious thing to note that, so far, I can expect longer from Simone Young.

As was her interpretations of the Second and First, this is a decent performance.

But it’s not worth 3-15 minutes longer of it.

That, combined with the lack of decent liner notes…

Combined with a lack of “magic”…

Combined with a lackluster recording…

Don’t get me wrong. She’s not bad. The orchestra is not bad. The recording is not bad.

It’s just that none of it adds up to the kind of magic I need when I listen to Bruckner.

Your mileage may vary.

By the way, what’s with the “Urfassung” stuff? Would it have killed these people to print the words “Original Version” so that most of the world would understand what they’re trying to communicate?

Apparently so.

Also – and this is an important consideration – I feel sorry for Maestro Young because she follows Marek Janowski in my rotation of conductors. The exceptional, exceptional quality of the Janwoski box makes the Young box look like something I’d find beside the road. The sound quality of Janowski’s work is the highest possible. Absolutely top notch. And the box itself – liner notes and all? A work of art.

So that may color how I feel about Simone Young’s performances, too. Following Janowski is no easy task.

And OEHMS Classics was not up to it.

Tomorrow starts a new cycle of symphonies – Bruckner’s Fourth!

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