Day 42: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Masur)

brucknermasurcd3backThis morning’s conductor of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (WAB 103), nicknamed “Wagner,” is Kurt Masur (1927-2015), another person about whom I knew nothing and of whom I had never heard until I started this project.

He was born in Germany and died just last year at the age of 88 in Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.

brucknermasurboxI first encountered Mr. Masur on Day 10 and Day 26 of my 144-day journey.

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 Masur used is the 1889 version, edited by Nowak
Kurt Masur conducts
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra plays
The symphony clocks in at 54:34
This was recorded in January (I think) of 1978 in Leipzig, Germany
Masur was 51 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 49 when he composed it
This recording was released on the RCA Red Seal Record Label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four parts. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, 1889 Nowak version), from this particular conductor (Masur) and this particular orchestra (Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra) is as follows:

Moderato (Sehr langsam, misterioso, officially)………………………….21:50
Adagio (Bewegt, quasi Andante, officially)…………………………………….14:37
Scherzo…………………………………………………………………………………………….7:20
Finale………………………………………………………………………………………………14:25

Total: 58:12

Okay. Now for the subjective stuff…

My Rating:
Recording quality: 4
Overall musicianship: 4
CD liner notes: 0 (there are none! boo! hiss!)
How does this make me feel: 4

This recording has whatever it is that engages me. Right from the get-go. I was into it.

I especially liked hearing the pizzicato at around the 10:00 mark in the first movement…and then that really cool slow, mysterious build at around the 14:20 mark of that same movement.

Masur’s Adagio (Movement II) is quite restrained, somewhat elegant. But it’s full of delightful highs and emotional lows.

Movement III is as triumphant and engaging as they come. Love the bold way it begins.

All in all, I think this Kurt Masur box set is really good.

amazonmasurbruckner

Especially for the value, which is (as of November 13, 2016) from $15.91 to $28.48 new.

My biggest beef with this Masur box is that there are NO liner notes. No booklet. Scant information on the back of the CD jackets. Who’s Masur? Who’s Bruckner? Who’s the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig?

Unless you’re really into any of those names you’d have no reason to buy this box set.

But I think it’s worthy. So far, anyway. Not only do you get a conductor who looks like Burl Ives (or Kris Kringle), you get some fine music to boot.

By the end of this symphony I felt like cheering.

Bravo!

Bravo, Maestro!

See?

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