United Kingdom Bruckner: Lucy Crowe (soprano), Anna Stéphany (mezzo-soprano), Robin Tritschler (tenor), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (bass), London Symphony Refrain (refrain director: Mariana Rosas), London Symphony Orchestra / Nathalie Stutzmann (conductor). Barbican Corridor, London, 11.2.2024. (JR)
Bruckner – Symphony No.9 (ed. Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs, Urtext Version); Te Deum (ed. Ernst Hettrich 2015, Carus Version)
Bruckner’s Ninth seems set to stay one of many nice might-have-beens of music. Bruckner knew that ninth symphonies have been cursed or jinxed, destined to be a composer’s final and that the composer would possibly die both while writing it or earlier than finishing a tenth. Mahler, Beethoven, Schubert, Schnittke, Dvořák, Glazunov, Matthew Arnold and Vaughan Williams all succumbed, to call simply a few of the higher recognized.
Bruckner left sketches for the final motion of his last symphony and a few courageous souls have composed a Finale from these sketches; Simon Rattle has recorded the Samale-Mazzuca-Phillips-Cohrs model. In his dying days, Bruckner steered that his Te Deum would possibly make a becoming near this final symphony: I shall come on to that later in my evaluate.
Nathalie Stutzmann’s tackle Bruckner is idiosyncratic to the purpose the place she moulds virtually every be aware and she or he makes no apologies for that. Not everybody likes Bruckner, and never each Bruckner-lover will take to such an ultra-sculpted interpretation. There’ll loads of alternatives on this Bruckner anniversary yr to listen to less complicated, plainer variations of his nice symphonies the place the conductors keep a gentle beat and permit the music to talk for itself – Paavo Järvi and Manfred Honeck are already in my diary.
At occasions Stutzmann is virile to the purpose of deafening fortissimos, at different occasions much less vital notes and phrases are highlighted, all on the expense of the general construction. On stability, nevertheless, this was a extra satisfying efficiency than her interpretation of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony which I attended a couple of days in the past (evaluate right here). Stutzmann definitely maintained a gentle pulse within the Scherzo and the ultimate dissonance within the Adagio was completely executed. The London Symphony Orchestra performed with utter refinement and a contact of sophistication.
The 4 soloists got here on to the stage earlier than the Adagio in order that Stutzmann might launch straight into the Te Deum, in any other case I worry many who knew the three-movement symphony – however had not learn the programme – might need began untimely applause. The London Symphony Refrain have been made to sit down via your entire symphony earlier than their large second. The refrain ought to have been requested to face effectively earlier than their first be aware not simply as they sang it; it seemed as if the beginning took them abruptly too.
For the intensely pious Roman Catholic Bruckner, his choral-orchestral Te Deum was the satisfaction of his life. Its opening is awe-inspiring, a slab of sound which we regularly encounter in his symphonies. Many think about, nevertheless, that the Te Deum is a misguided ending to his unfinished Ninth Symphony, regardless of the composer’s personal utterings. I believed Stutzmann made fairly a convincing case, although the Te Deum is so monumental than it moderately eclipsed what preceded it.
Christina Nilsson was indisposed so in stepped the indispensable Lucy Crowe (a current recipient of a well-deserved OBE). The tenor has a significant half to play within the work and Irish tenor Robin Tritschler was most spectacular, the tessitura suited his timbre. The mezzo-soprano has hardly any publicity, so having Anna Stéphany add the low feminine line within the quartets was a luxurious. The bass solely has a brief solo: Ukranian Alexander Tsymbalyuk appeared to have stepped straight out of Boris Godunov, I discovered his voice too darkish. Chief Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (Russian-Dutch conductor Lev Markiz was his grandfather) performed the sweetest of accompaniments to the tenor solo. The best accolade should go the members of the London Symphony Refrain educated by the marvellous Mariana Rosas. The refrain have been an absolute glory to listen to, the excessive notes of the sopranos have been thrilling; all sections performed their spectacular half. They sounded as if they loved the work itself (as all of us did) and loved the vocal exercise that it afforded them. Rightly, they garnered the best share of the ultimate applause.
The live performance was broadcast reside on medici.television.