Classical CD Reviews

BRUCKNER/ LUNA: “Bruckner Unknown” – [TrackList follows] – Ensemble ViennAyres/ Ensemble Weiz Linz/ Hard Chor Linz – Preiser

Fine scholarship meets fine musicians.

Published on August 31, 2014

BRUCKNER/ LUNA: “Bruckner Unknown” – [TrackList follows] – Ensemble ViennAyres/ Ensemble Weiz Linz/ Hard Chor Linz – Preiser

BRUCKNER/ LUNA: “Bruckner Unknown” – [TrackList follows] – Ensemble ViennAyres/ Ensemble Weiz Linz/ Hard Chor Linz – Preiser PR 91250, 64:32 (Dist. by Albany) [5/20/14] ****:

What a grand idea for a CD. Bruckner Unknown is a collection of works by Bruckner that existed only in uncompleted sketches, or discarded ideas from Bruckner’s compositions. It’s all the work of Ricardo Luna. who was born in Buenos Aires and is a conductor, choral director, composer and singer who has lived in Vienna since 2000.

For much of his life, Ricardo Luna has dedicated time to the life of Anton Bruckner and has edited, transcribed, orchestrated or reconstructed unknown movements of Bruckner´s symphonies after extensive research. As a result, most of the works on this CD are world premiere recordings, as they are works he has completed and arranged for chamber orchestra. In the detailed booklet that comes with the CD, Luna himself explains his ambition, selection and approach of his arrangements, providing an insight into his love and respect of Anton Bruckner’s works.

So is this discarded music worth a listen? Decidedly and emphatically yes! The sound of the works will be immediately recognizable to Brucknerphiles, and yet everything seems new and fresh.

I especially enjoyed hearing two movements from the Symphony No. 1. The reconstruction is from earlier versions not pursued by Bruckner, yet they sound very ‘right’ and the playing by the Austrian musicians is excellent.

Also of note is this performance of Christus factus est, the original and later discarded version written in 1873. Bruckner lated changed the instrumentation, but this version is very listenable and filled with Brucknerian emotion.

A word about the recording, and the word is ‘excellent’. The strings are clear and almost ethereal sounding. Separation and imaging are quite good and not over-extended. It’s a realistic recording that further enhances the talented musicians.

Bruckner Unknown is a unique CD, and other than a few reconstructions of the Mahler 10th, I don’t remember anything quite like it.

Listeners who like Bruckner will be most satisfied, and classical music lovers will find Bruckner Unknown is a CD worth listening to and appreciating.

Track List:

1. Symphonie B Major: Sketch für den ersten Satz, 1869
2. Symphonie Nr. 1 Original Version 1865-66 C Minor: Adagio
3. Symphonie Nr. 1 Original Version 1865-66 C Minor: Scherzo
4. Symphonie Nr. 9 D Minor: Scherzo 1894
5. Symphonie Nr. 9: Trio Nr. 1, 1889
6. Symphonie Nr. 9: Trio 2, 1893
7. Symphonie Nr. 9: Trio Nr. 3
8. Symphonie Nr. 9: Finale (Fragment) 1895-96
9. Christus factus est, Original Version, WAB10

—Mel Martin




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