Thielemann Blows Bruckner’s Fourth

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 5

Sound Quality: 7

This is an easy call. Thielemann’s conducting is mannered, boring, and utterly predictable, with annoying “expressive” pauses at the ends of lyrical phrases, yielding a “stop and go” syntax that leaves no room for the music’s larger architectural shape. After all, Bruckner is already “stop and go,” and he needs no help in that respect. Louder passages are muted, with the Vienna brass subdued and the horns often buried in the texture. The “hunting” Scherzo is particularly awful. Thielemann’s attention to subsidiary voices means that the principal melodic lines often sound lifeless, especially in the Andante and second subjects of the outer movements. The whole production suffers from flat, diffuse sonics, with overly prominent strings and timpani. Life is too short for this. Oh yes, Thielemann uses the Haas edition, if you care.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Jochum (DG); Barenboim (DG); Böhm (Decca)

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