Day 40: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Karajan)

brucknerkarajancd3frontThis morning’s conductor of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (WAB 103), nicknamed “Wagner,” is Austrian Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989), one of the most highly respected conductors – and interpreters of Anton Bruckner’s music – who ever lived.

I encountered Herbert von Karajan twice before in this 144-day musical journey: On Day 8 , and on Day 24.

Karajan is considered the gold standard of conductors and Brucker interpreters.

brucknerkarajanboxBut the jury is still out for me on those sentiments.

Before I dive into the subjective, I first have to address the objective – what I’ve been calling the nuts and bolts:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, composed in 1873
The version Karajan used is the 1888/89 version, edited by Nowak
Herbert von Karajan conducts
Berliner Philharmoniker plays
The symphony clocks in at 57:08 (making it slightly longer than some I’ve heard)
This was recorded in September of 1980 in Berlin, Germany
Karajan was 72 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 49 when he composed it
This recording was released on the Deutsche Grammophon Record Label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four parts. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, 1877/78 Nowak version), from this particular conductor (Karajan) and this particular orchestra (Berliner Philharmoniker) is as follows:

Moderato (Mehr langsam, misterioso, officially)………………………….21:56
Adagio (Bewegt, quasi Andante, officially)…………………………………….16:21
Scherzo…………………………………………………………………………………………….6:53
Finale………………………………………………………………………………………………11:39

Total: 57:08

Okay. Now for the subjective stuff…

My Rating:
Recording quality: 4 (not great, not terrible)
Overall musicianship: 4
CD liner notes: 4 (if you like a Karajan Praise Fest)
How does this make me feel: 3 (meh)

I listened to Karajan’s interpretation of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (“the saddest of all keys”) three times through.

I have to be honest: nothing reaching out and grabbed me by the lapels.

I heard fine musicianship. I heard a lot of brass (which tends to grate on me). I heart triumphant crescendos and plaintive lulls.

But I didn’t hear anything that I remembered. Not even after three listens.

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