For many years, the ground was thick with misconceptions about Anton Bruckner – that he was a sort of idiot savant, that he composed nothing of merit until he reached middle age and that he was to be spoken of in the same breath as Gustav Mahler. None of these fables, and others, could be further from the truth. It is true, however, that his manners and tastes were sometimes rustic, that he (like Brahms!) didn’t complete his first numbered symphony until he was in his forties and that, in his music, he tended to express himself in paragraphs and not in individual sentences. Bruckner referred to the Fifth Symphony as his ‘fantastic’ symphony, but the adjective hasn’t stuck – presumably because Berlioz got to it first. His pupil and biographer, August Gollerich, called it the ‘Tragic’ Symphony. The Fifth Symphony is no more (or less) ‘fantastic’ or ‘tragic’ than any of his other mature symphonies.
Symphony No. 5 in B flat major
Recording producer: Michael Woolcock
Recording engineers: Gordon Parry; Jack Law
Recording location: Sofiensaal, Vienna, March 1974
‘just the right degree of rustic tone on the brass and deep and saturated strings’ 2MBS Fine Music