Day 32: Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major (Young)

This morning, I am listening to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major (WAB 105), nicknamed “Pizzicato Symphony” or “Tragic,” interpreted by Australian conductor Simone Young (1961-).

Her orchestra is the Philharmoniker Hamburg.

I first encountered Maestro Young on this leg of my Bruckner journey on Day 5, Symphony No. 1.

Then again on Day 10, Symphony No. 2.

Then again on Day 16, Symphony No. 3.

Then again on Day 24, Symphony No. 4.

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

Or not.

It’s up to you.

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

I previously 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

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?


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’s an excerpt from the liner notes (written by Martin Stastnik) about Bruckner’s Fifth:

Polyphonic Way of Life
Some Brief Remarks concerning Anton
Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony in B-flat Major

Anton Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony in B-flat Major stands at the centre of his œuvre and life as a creative musician, towering like a lonely monolith; in our day, it continues to exert a puzzling fascination. Many commentators regard this symphony as completely separate from the others, standing alone – a conscious turning away from the Fourth Symphony and in marked contrast to the Sixth Symphony in A Major that immediately followed it. The latter observation may be true in that Bruckner did indeed attempt to strike out on new formal paths here after completing the monumental Fifth. Be that as it may, the contrast with the Fourth is only true in reference to the third version of the Fourth Symphony that was made after the Fifth.

These are quite good liner notes. It’s just a shame the record label didn’t choose to put them in the box set where they belong.

Here are the objective aspects of today’s recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major (WAB 105), composed 1875–1876
Simone Young conducts
Young used the ??? version. No version is listed in the CD booklet, on the CD sleeve, or in the pdf notes I downloaded from the web site
Philharmoniker Hamburg plays
The symphony clocks in at 73:23
This was recorded in Hamburg, Germany, on March 1-2, 2015
Young was 54 when she conducted it
Bruckner was 52 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. 5 in B Flat Major), from this particular conductor (Young) and this particular orchestra (Philharmoniker Hamburg) is as follows:

I. Adagio — Allegro……………………………………………………………………..19:56
II. Adagio – Sehr langsam. (Very slowly)……………………………………..16:59
III. Scherzo – Molto vivace…………………………………………………………..13:03
IV. Finale (Adagio) — Allegro moderato……………………………………..23:23

Total running time: 73:23

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, essentially an “ad” for the Hamburg State Councillor of Culture and the Hamburg Philharmonic)
How does this make me feel: 4

Once again, I am surprised by a performance conducted by Maestro Young!

This was a very solid performance. It was well recorded, well played, and conducted with verve.

I can’t say any one movement stood out to me. It was just fine overall.

I could probably recommend this to a newbie who has never heard a Bruckner symphony before.

NOTE: Today’s symphony has two distinctions going for it:

1. I am now at the half-way point of my second exploration of Bruckner’s symphonies, and

2. This is the end of the cycle of Symphony No. 5. Tomorrow, starts a brand-new cycle.

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