Day 48: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Wand)

brucknerwandcd3frontThis morning’s conductor of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (WAB 103), nicknamed “Wagner,” is German-born Gunter Wand (1912-2002), someone – thanks to reviews on Amazon and elsewhere – I had been eager to hear when I first began my project back on October 3, 2016.

My experiences with and opinions of his interpretations can be found on Day 16 and, most recently, on Day 32.

Today marks another milestone for me.

This is the last conductor for Bruckner’s Third Symphony that I will hear.

Tomorrow, I cycle back to Daniel Barenboim and start 16 more days – this time listening to Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony.

But that’s tomorrow.

brucknerwandboxThis morning, it’s Gunter Wand conducting Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D minor – what Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel calls “the saddest of all keys.” (See Day 33 for more on that subject.)

Here are the nuts and bolts, the objective aspects, to today’s music:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, composed in 1873
Gunter Wand conducts
Wand used the 1889 version
Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester plays
The symphony clocks in at 54:25
This was recorded at the Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal in Cologne, Germany, in 1981
Wand was 69 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 49 when he composed it
This recording was released on the Red Seal/Sony label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four parts. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, 1889 version), from this particular conductor (Wand) and this particular orchestra (Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester) is as follows:

Moderato (Mehr langsam, misterioso, officially)………………………….21:25
Adagio (Bewegt, quasi Andante, officially)…………………………………….13:42
Scherzo (Ziemlich schnell) ……………………………………………………………..6:41
Allegro……………………………………………………………………………………………12:37

Total: 54:25

Okay. Now for the subjective stuff…

My Rating:
Recording quality: 4 (ambient sounds from orchestra or audience)
Overall musicianship: 5
CD liner notes: 0 (there are none – boo! hiss!)
How does this make me feel: 4

I could probably give this a “5” in the “How does this make me feel” category. But, part of how it makes me feel is based on the fact that there is or is not liner notes in the box set. And, in this case, there is not.

There’s really no excuse for that. Especially for a conductor of Mr. Wand’s caliber.

Seriously, even though this music may be among the best ever recorded (or, perhaps, BECAUSE this music may be among the best ever recorded), not adding a booklet of notes detracts from a listener’s enjoyment of it.

In this case, I enjoyed it very much.

The orchestra is well recorded. The music is grand, sweeping, and at times stirring (Movement III, for example, which is what I’m listening to right now).

What’s more, the roller-coaster ride that is the Finale (soaring highs, gentle lows, and a kick-ass ending) is the crown jewel.

Some of the other interpretations left me cold.

Wand’s leaves me breathless.

Wand’s interpretation is a worthy one.

I just wish RCA Red Seal thought so – and included liner notes.

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