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Musical Discussions
Topic: Some options for buying Bruckner

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 04-11-2020
Today and tomorrow you can stream for free Bruckne r#1-9 with Barenboim and Staatskapelle.

Posted by noviygera on 04-12-2020
Romy, thank you for this link, I am enjoying these concerts. Do you know if these recordings are available to purchase?

Posted by JJ Triode on 07-03-2020
Poking around for options to acquire downloads of the Bruckner symphonies, including the performances briefly streamed free in April, I came across the following options on In no particular order we have, covering at least B4 through B9:

D. Barenboim, B4-B9, Staatskapelle Berlin, 48k/24, 2015, live, probably the streamed performances were these, $52

D. Barenboim, B1-B9, Berlin PO, 44k/16, 1994, $38

O. Klemperer, B4-B9, Philharmonia and New Philharmonia, 44k/16, quite old and "remastered" in early digital era, $29

E. Jochum, B1-B9, Staatskapelle Dresden, 44k/16, mid-late 1970s, $23

Blomstedt, Haitink, Jansson, Maazel (different conductors for different symphonies) B1-B9, Bavarian Radio, 48k/24, $21

Any recommendations would be welcome; Romy, you're at bat!

Posted by Romy the Cat on 07-19-2020
I am not sure about the objectives. You are not well familiar with Bruckner and you would like to get an introductory box set or you would like to get a “box set” from downloadable recourses only? If the “downloadable” is the key they it would be just a selection of what is available and typically with Bruckner the best recordings are not on LP or in high-res format. If you are looking juts to have an initial dip then screw the format and get a box set from some “save” Brucknerian for initials listening. If you insist very good quality then I think I could pitch something but it always will be a compromise between audio quality and performing quality.

Posted by mats on 07-19-2020
Romy, it would be very much appreciated if you could share some of the 
highest achieving audio quality Bruckner recordings.  To know what has 
been accomplished so far sonically, regardless of format, will help us  
understand limits of our setups, as well as deepening appreciation for performances. 
When a great performance ”falls apart” sonically, I often loose confidence,
and wonder if it is my playback or the recording.  Reviewing Clark’s favorite 
recordings makes it clear that the ability to hear through technology limitations
becomes an important skill to avail one of the musical values offered. 


Posted by JJ Triode on 07-19-2020
A short list of your "safe" Brucknerian conductors and/or orchestras would be helpful. I do want to go with a download this time for a few reasons and would prioritize audio quality a little higher than performance quality. I do not insist on the very best or on having all the symphonies (the collections I listed do not include #0 for instance, it is fine.) I am also agnostic about the various versions and editions.
Thanks, JJ

Posted by Romy the Cat on 07-21-2020
God, Mats, thank you for reminding me about the Clark’s favorite recordings. I went over just one box and I have so many more! I wish I had time to do it, I had some time luxury a couple month ago as but not now. I do need to run that project through.
Regarding the “highest achieving audio quality Bruckner recordings”. Hm, I do not know. The best sound quality that I heard from Bruckner recordings are not the best interpretations or at list something that   I do not care too much. The sad irony for instance that the best B8 I have an all of my collection of Bruckner is a horribly compressed mp3 file and there is no way to get it better. There are some spectacular examples of sound quality from Bruckner, for instance Stanislaw Skrowaczewski with Minnesota Orchestra from 1997 playing B9. However, as good as the performance is, particularly the second movement it really sounds boring comparing to let say Giulini with Wiener in June 1988.

Posted by JJ Triode on 08-05-2020
So I bought the Bruckner symphony collection by the Bavarian Radio (Bayerische Rundfunk) Orchestra. It was the least expensive set offered by HDTracks and I thought it would be interesting to hear how different conductors approach Bruckner. It has Maazel conducting B1 and B2 from 1999, Jansons doing B3, 4, 7 and 8 in 2005, 2008, 2007 and 2017 respectively, Haitink doing B5 and 6 in 2010 and 2017, and Blomstedt B9 (3 movements) in 2009. All are 48k/24 files, and I bought them in .aiff format as I use a Mac for audio files.

Here is the not so good news: B1, 2, 3, 7 and 9 are "remastered" files in this collection, I suspect from 44k/16.

I listened so far to B1 and B5. The remastered file of B1 is clean sounding but kind of sterile, harsh on loud treble passages, and lacks low-level ambient information. The "not remastered" B5 is smoother, richer and has more reverberant spatial information, all of which is nice (especially for this music) but still sounds a bit gray compared to the best download files I have heard (e.g. many downloads and real-time streams from the BSO website.)

Will I poke around for more editions of these symphonies? Probably not until I have at least gone through this collection and decided what Bruckner's music might mean for me. right now I still am not "getting him" but it is early and maybe this set is really not good enough of a rendition (of course maybe also my installation is not up to the job but I am not making any changes there.)

Posted by Paul S on 08-11-2020
JJ, for me, the issue with Bruckner is that it does not often sound coherent to me, in terms of themes, phrasing, and structure. Rather, it often sound discursive to me. I have a copy of the 4th (comments in the Music section thread) that mostly makes sense to me, and I have played it a lot, listening closely. For some time I have thought that better performances would allow me to hear into Bruckner's music better, but, at the same time, the sound pressure level has to be adequate to present this Big and Complex Music credibly/intelligibly. I don't think it was written with hi-fi in mind. For one thing, there's a lot going on at low frequencies, and a lot of the interplay seems to "ride" on the LF, with things getting "worked out" over long periods in that context. For another thing, although most of Bruckner is less bombastic than, say, Wagner, yet high level dynamic contrasts are key to getting a good reading. What I'm saying is, maybe start with the 4th, and don't give up on finding adequate recordings of good performances, but also be aware that not every system is up to immersion in Bruckner.

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by JJ Triode on 08-17-2020
Actually Romy addressed my original question a while ago, I don't know why none of us remembered:

I will look into these. meanwhile I did have a nice listen to B4 from the Bavarian set, Jansons from 2008 and not remastered.

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