Day 62: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (Janowski)

This afternoon, I’m listening to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (WAB 109), 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.

And Day 46, Symphony No. 7.

And Day 54, Symphony No. 8.

If you don’t want to know what I thought of Janowski’s interpretations prior to this day, read on.

Here are the objective aspects of today’s recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (WAB 109), composed 1887–1896
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 62:01
This was recorded at Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, in May of 2007
Janowski was 68 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 72 when he died before finishing it
This recording was released on the Pentatone label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four movements. He would have done so this time, as well, but he died before completing the Finale. The time breakdown of this performance (Symphony No. 9 in D Minor), from this particular conductor (Janowski) and this particular orchestra (Orchestre de la Suisse Romande) is as follows:

I. Feierlich, misterioso………………………………………………………………………….24:57
II. Scherzo. Bewegt, lebhaft; Trio. Schnell………………………………………………………………………………………………….10:53
III. Adagio. Langsam, feierlich…………………………………………………………………………………………………25:51
IV. Finale……………………………………………………………………………………………….00:00

Total Time: 62:01

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

SYMPHONY NO. 9 IN D MINOR:
THE MODERN

Bruckner had never written so modern a work as his Symphony No. 9, no other composition of his plunges harmonically so deep into the 20th century. Bruckner had never been so innovative as in the beginning of the first movement, the resolution of which surpasses even his own symphonic models.

The Scherzo is probably the most modern piece of music ever written by Bruckner.

Indeed.

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

This is an incredible performance.

The recording quality itself is crystal clear and, although it leans a bit heavy on the brass, it’s nevertheless powerful, eminently listenable, and enjoyable throughout.

The Scherzo is big and bold. Love it.

The Adagio – especially the gorgeous ending – is splendid. (You see, this is why I never want to hear another recreation of the Finale. The ending of the Adagio was more than enough for me.)

All in all, this Janowski performance deserves a big “Huzzah!”

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