Day 46: Symphony No. 7 in E Major (Janowski)

This afternoon, I am listening to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major (WAB 107), interpreted by Polish-born German conductor Marek Janowski (1939-).

Maestro Janowski’s orchestra is Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

If you want to know what I thought of Maestro Janowski’s interpretations prior to this day, check out Day 4, Symphony No. 1.

And Day 9, Symphony No. 2

And Day 15, Symphony No. 3.

And Day 22, Symphony No. 4.

And Day 30, Symphony No. 5.

And Day 38, Symphony No. 6.

Here are the objective aspects of today’s recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 in E Major (WAB 107) composed 1879–1881
Marek Janowski conducts
Janowski used the “Nowak Edition,” according to the back of the CD sleeve
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande plays
The symphony clocks in at 66:04
This was recorded at Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, in October of 2010
Janowski was 71 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 59 when he finished composing it
This recording was released on the Pentatone label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four movements. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 7 in E Major), from this particular conductor (Janowski) and this particular orchestra (Orchestre de la Suisse Romande) is as follows:

I. Allegro moderato………………………………………………………………………………..21:05
II. Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam…………………………………………..21:37
III. Scherzo. Sehr schnell………………………………………………………………………..09:47
IV. Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell……………………………………………………13:15

Total Time: 66:04

Here’s a quote from the superb CD booklet written by Franz Steiger:

The Symphony No. 7 is the most frequently performed of Bruckner’s symphonies, and extremely popular with the audiences. This is certainly due to the specific features that clearly distinguish is from its six predecessors and two successors. In no other symphony does Bruckner exploit the melodic potential to such extremes.

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

My Rating:
Recording quality: 5
Overall musicianship: 5
CD liner notes: 5 (big, thick, substantive booklet with insightful essays about the symphonies, the orchestra, and the conductor translated into English, German, and French)
How does this make me feel: 5

Perfect in every way. This recording is a delight from start to finish, so well recorded that it scares me. So well performed that it’s almost unearthly. Did human beings actually play those instruments? Or were they immortals?

Honest to God. If I had to pick one box set of Bruckner’s symphonies, one that best represents how his music could sound, it would be this one from Mareck Janowski on the Pentatone label.

I’ve heard other performances with more “magic” to them, some with slightly better recorded sound (more akin to what I like in a recorded performance of a symphony). Barenboim’s with the Berliner Philharmoniker, for example. Or a few performances from Celibidache.

But note for note, box set against box set, the quality of this CD set is unparalleled.

Beautiful music. Truly. In the case of the Adagio, achingly so.

“Huzzah!” doesn’t seem adequate.

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