Dausgaard’s Bad Bruckner 6th: Perfect for a Pandemic

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 5

Sound Quality: 9

There’s something curiously satisfying about sitting at home, under Covid 19 lockdown, and listening to bad Bruckner. I mean, if the world is going to hell in so many different ways, why should this be any different? It just confirms what we’ve already known: even jobs that should be simple and foolproof seem to have suddenly become accident-prone in this day and age. Take the opening of Bruckner’s Sixth: Majestoso is what Bruckner says. Rushed and glib is what Dausgaard offers. The second subject should be “markedly slower,” but not static, as here. The tempo should remain slower until the accelerando to Tempo 1 leading to the recapitulation. Oops. Dausgaard already returned to his original, excessively quick speed for the third theme.

Honestly, what is wrong with this guy? Can’t he read? Granted, the Adagio is normal, but the Scherzo is, again, too quick to permit its gossamer details to register properly, and the finale is cut from the same cloth as the first movement. I suppose there’s a silver lining here: it’s over more quickly than usual, But seriously, what is going on with Bruckner performances these days? They seem to come in two varieties: lickety-split like this one, or moving in geological time (like Rémy Ballot). And both types try to sustain claims of a wholly spurious “authenticity” on top of it all. It’s crazy, musically indefensible, and a waste of your time and money. However, it was distracting, and perfect for a pandemic because it kills time while encouraging you to look forward to something better.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Klemperer (EMI); Haitink/Bavarian Radio SO (BR Klassik)

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