Day 63: Thank you!

Simone Young was the last conductor, and this is my last post to 63 More Days With Bruckner and Me.

Thank you to everyone who spent even a minute reading my blogs.

Thank you to the conductors.

Thank you to the orchestras.

And a very big THANK YOU to Anton Bruckner, a composer who equals Beethoven for being able to touch my soul with his music.

After seven months of listening to Anton Bruckner and his nine major symphonies I am certainly ready to say, “It’s a wrap.”

When all is said and done, I will have spent 207 days and – by conservative estimate – well over 600 hours on this project. And I don’t even want to know how much money I spent buying two dozen Bruckner box sets, each from a different conductor and/or orchestra.

I had additional projects lined up to complete an entire year of listening and blogging. The Complete Recordings of Wilhelm Furtwangler, for example. And Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). And even the complete discography of King Crimson (because, let’s face it: man cannot live by Classical recordings alone).

But this Bruckner project took a lot out of me, and set me back on my book and screenplay projects. So I doubt I will give those other projects the green light at this time. I need a break.

So, tonight I say goodbye to Anton Bruckner and all the conductors and musicians who interpreted his symphonies.

But I’ll never say goodbye to my love for Classical music in general, and Anton Bruckner specifically.

Nor will I part ways with my desire to overdo things.

That, unfortunately, I’m stuck with.

Just call me Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.

My wife does.

5 Comments

  1. Mark Williams

    Fantastic blog Bill, thank you for sharing your epic musical adventure!

    Just wondering if you have collated and summarised your reviews and if so where I can find them? (apologies if it’s already somewhere obvious!)

    Many thanks,

    Mark

    • Thank you for commenting, Mark. I appreciate it.

      I had so much fun listening to Bruckner (actually, “fun” isn’t the right word; it was a transcendent experience) that I’ve been thinking lately of creating a third leg, a part three.

      There are only about 8-9 box sets left of “complete” Bruckner symphonies (complete meaning his most famous nine symphonies) that I haven’t purchased and listened to. And some are definitely lesser-than efforts. But I miss immersing in Brucker to that level. So I may do it, anyway. It’s about $400 to buy the 8-9 box sets. But I’d get to experience total joy for another 72 days or so of Bruckner.

      As to your question, I realize that I did not compile all of my findings into one resource. I had meant to do so. But one thing or another always pushed that project to the back of my mind.

      I think it would be worthwhile for me to do that, though. I’d like to know myself which conductors and box sets were my favorites (although I can tell you right now the list would include Jochum, Haitink, Klemperer, Furtwangler, and a few others).

      I’ll think on that and see if I can (a) compile my results, and (b) undertake a third (and possibly final) leg of Bruckner explorations.

      • Mark Williams

        Thanks Bill, I look forward to reading about the final leg.

        I feel the need to contribute to your exploration, but what do you give the man who has everything?! I’ll try a humble recommendation:

        One of my favourite Bruckner recordings is Blomstedt’s 2010 recording of the 1877 Nowak edition of the 3rd:

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/Symphony-No-min-original-version/dp/B00530GNAS

        It’s not the greatest of Bruckner’s symphonies but this has become one of my absolute favourite recordings. The orginal version isn’t performed that often but contains a stunning climax in the adagio (complete with Tannhauser quotes) that gets removed in later editions. The recorded sound is superb (SACD) and you get decent liner notes.

        Enjoy!

        PS. Mahler next, surely?

        • Thank you for the recommendation for your favorite (favourite?) Bruckner recording: his Third Symphony, conducted by Blomstedt.

          I found one on Amazon US. It’s about twice the price of the one you link to on Amazon UK. But at least, I can buy a copy of it. Sometimes, a thing that specific is way out of print and rare.

          I love recommendations, by the way. A couple of people in the FB Bruckner group recently suggested Bruckner recordings (one by Furtwangler conducting Symphony No. 5 with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1942, and one by Hartmut Haenchen, conducting Symphony No. 3 with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, year unknown). I immediately bought them. Both turned out to be superb.

          So I’ll likely buy a copy of your recommended performance.

          That’s the thing about my project. As I note many times in my blog entries and perhaps in the Intro/Explanation to my site as well, I’m not a musicologist. I’m not William Carragan, for example. I’m not an expert by any means. I’m just a guy who loves music – especially Classical music – and Bruckner happened to resonate with me on a deep spiritual level.

          I created listening experiences like this with Mozart and Beethoven, too. Ten years ago, I listened to the Complete Mozart box set by Philips (long out of print) at 180DaysWithMozartAndMe and a few years ago, a very long leg of Beethoven’s nine symphonies at 162DaysWithBeethovenAndMe.

          What I discovered is that Mozart affects me on an intellectual level. Like, I’m blown away by how creative he was and how much he accomplished in his short 35 years on earth. More than Beethoven and Brahms and Bruckner combined. Mozart was a genius.

          I discovered that Beethoven moves me emotionally. Some of his movements make me weep they’re so powerful. I can feel his soul in those symphonies.

          But Bruckner affects me on a spiritual level in a way Mozart and Beethoven do not. Bruckner fills me with awe. And joy. I think I enjoyed exploring Bruckner more than any other composer.

          As for my next project, I’ve thought about branching out into opera – Maria Callas or Pavarotti. I own their complete works.

          If Mahler’s symphonies are available in easy-to-find box sets, and there are enough conductors and orchestras playing them on CD, maybe I’ll consider it. But, tell me: Why Mahler? What does he do for you?

          Thanks again for writing.

          Bill

  2. Mark Williams

    Correction: This Nowak edition was published in 1977, representing an original version of the score from 1873.

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