Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9
Eugen Jochum, Staatskapelle Dresden
Call me a late convert to Bruckner. A good friend of mine died in 2007 and left me all his CDs: a vast, sprawling collection of a lot of Bach and quite a bit of Bruckner! I tried listening to it all then, but I only developed a love of Bach! My Bruckner antennae were simply awash with ‘yugh!’. I don’t know why: I guess I just wasn’t ready for it (though my rational brain was also disturbed by knowing that for any version of a Bruckner symphony you hear on disk, about 13 other versions exist, because Bruckner was an inveterate tinkerer with his music! One never knows with recordings of Bruckner: is this what he wanted you to listen to? Which is a problem that makes accepting any particular recording tricky, in my case at least). Anyway: happily, those pre-Brucknerian days are behind me, and I think the 9th is just wonderful. I mean, clearly it’s ‘monumental’, but it’s also very poignant and emotional: and on top of that, the orchestration is so vibrant and colourful. I still cannot readily discern one Bruckner symphony from any other, but that will come -and I can definitely spot the 9th a mile off!