Following numerous accolades, Christian Thielemann’s landmark Bruckner symphony cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic - the orchestra’s first under a single conductor - continues with the composer’s final, unfinished symphony captured live at the Salzburg Festival in the summer of 2022.
120 years after the symphony was first performed in Vienna, Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic present a sonorous and deeply felt performance of Bruckner’s Ninth - an iconic score whose closely-held mysteries demand the most scrupulous and perceptive of interpreters.
The symphony was intended as Bruckner’s great spiritual autobiography. For the last two years of his life, the composer labored over its fourth and final movement but died while trying to piece it together. Even in its three-movement state, the work remains one of intense power and exquisite tenderness. It culminates in a great transfiguring Adagio that forms Bruckner’s epitaph in music of extraordinary expressive impact.
Christian Thielemann, Music Director of the Bayreuth Festival until 2020, is arguably his generation’s most esteemed interpreter of the Romantic Austro-German repertoire. Few conductors can match the solemnity and patience he finds in Bruckner’s symphonies, or his ability to draw on the unparalleled richness and beauty of the Vienna Philharmonic and its distinctive sound tradition.
Thielemann opts not to conduct one of the so-called ‘completions’ of the Ninth, but to stop at the Adagio Bruckner managed to complete, in the edition by Nowak. ‘There is a mystery here and we should leave it as it is,’ says the conductor of the score; ‘this also enhances the appeal of the Ninth.’
This first cycle of the Bruckner symphonies from the Vienna Philharmonic under a single conductor has been extensively discussed in the music press, as much for the depth of the interpretations as for a recorded sound that is resonant and detailed.
Previous installments have been named BBC Music Magazine Choice, Gramophone Editor’s Choice (and Critic’s Pick of 2022), and nominated for International Classical Music Award.
This final single-disc release comes in advance of worldwide celebrations of Bruckner’s 200th anniversary in 2024, and precedes a box-set of the complete symphonies and a major your of European cathedrals.
‘Thielemann at his best, conducting a stupendous orchestra’ – Fanfare (Symphony No 8)
‘Any new Thielemann recording of an Austrian masterwork with this orchestra is an event.’ – The Sunday Times