Originally published on April 8
We already have this, http://www.colinscolumn.com/gurzenich-orchester-koln-francois-xavier-roth-records-anton-bruckners-seventh-symphony-for-myrios/, and now this, the Fourth Symphony, the ‘Romantic’, not as we usually hear it, from 1878/81, for François-Xavier Roth has recorded the first version, original in every sense, dated 1874.
It’s fascinating to mentally tick-off all the passages that Bruckner amended, and his recognising them as the right thing to do, if occasionally we might wish he had left some of those initial thoughts. With the Scherzo he went further and wrote a completely new one; the discarded example heard here is thematically thin (and annoyingly repetitive) if brassily exuberant. The other movements were copiously revised, although as first-writ they are recognisably the same save for the many changes of harmony and scoring that would occur, essential for study purposes and also worthwhile to listen to as the Symphony ‘as it was’.
Roth leads a compelling account – superbly played and recorded, bloom and lucidity happily married and sporting a wide dynamic range – lasting seventy minutes, and it would be longer but for his judicious moving-along tempos, and also the Finale is shorter and without its awed mountain-climbing coda; as it is, the slow movement needs cutting, which Bruckner did, yet good to be in possession of the facts as to why.
This is not the first time 1874 has been recorded, although Roth and his wonderfully sonorous orchestra are magnificent enough to make this release mandatory, for music to smile at and/or be irritated by for its naivety and verboseness, and ultimately part of being a devout Brucknerian. Myrios MYR032 is released on April 14.