The Conductors

I was able to find eight more CD box sets online that (mostly) include all nine of Bruckner’s major symphonies. And that was my criteria: I had to be able to find box sets that were complete – all nine symphonies – at the time of the start of my project. I didn’t want to cobble together a conductor’s complete nine (Gerd Schaller, for example – one of my favorite conductors – doesn’t have a box set of complete Bruckner symphonies; I’d have to spend something like $150 to buy them all separately). I wanted to let my fingers do the searching on Amazon and buy sets that were readily available, that anyone else could buy, too.

However, in working through the first leg of my Bruckner journey, I discovered (thanks to e-mails or messages from readers) that there were other CD box sets to which I might wish to listen. Three of them – Celibidache, Furtwangler, and Klemperer – only contain six of Bruckner’s nine symphonies. The first three symphonies were not included in the sets, presumably because the first three symphonies were not that popular back when these conductors worked their magic. But, because each of those three conductors is legendary, I felt I would be remiss if I did not include them in Phase Two.

I have linked the conductor’s name to where you can buy his/her box set on Amazon (and, by all means, buy these box sets; never, ever illegally download them!) to which I’ll be listening:

Daniel Barenboim with the Berlinker Philarhmoniker
Daniel Barenboim with Staatskapelle Berlin
Sergiu Celibidache
Wilhelm Furtwangler
Eliahu Inbal
Marek Janowski
Otto Klemperer
Simone Young

My project is to listen to the conductors in alphabetical order, one symphony from each per day.

In other words, for each 16-day period I will listen to one symphony interpreted by a different conductor each day. I started with Symphony No. 1. I will end with Symphony No. 9.

If the conductor, orchestra, date of recording, version of the symphony (Haas, Nowak, or Carrigan), or even record label makes a difference in how Bruckner sounds or feels to me, I should be able to discern it.

For other points of evaluation, see The Rating System. Keep in mind, this is not scientific. I am not a musicologist. This is a loose system of evaluating what sounds good to me. So take this with a grain of salt, please.

I will also do a little research on each of these conductors to see where they were born, if they’re still alive, how they were/are regarded, etc.

For example, I will read the books Out of Time: The Vexed Life of Georg Tintner and Seeking the Infinite: The Musical Life of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

As other bios come to my attention, I’ll read those, too.