Day 75: Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major (Paternostro)

brucknermorningbakerdec16-2016My “office” this morning (at least for the first 2-3 hours of the day) is, once again, Baker Book House – the largest bookstore in the Midwest, server of delicious coffee, maker of scones so delectable you’d swear they were not scones at all; rather, French pastry, and keeper of hours from 7am to 11pm, the longest in the business.

Baker Book House is the place to hang out if you live anywhere near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

brucknerpaternostrocd5frontThis morning’s conductor of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major (WAB 105) – nicknamed “Tragic,” “Church of Faith,” or “Pizzicato” symphony (for reasons I’m still discovering) – is Vienna-born Roberto Paternostro (1957?-), another person about whom I knew nothing and of whom I had never heard until I started this project.

And, truth be told, I still know very little about him since there’s scant information about him anywhere online.

If you recall (And why should you? And who are you, anyway?), this is the conductor about whom I wrote needed a publicist. He’ll never reach Karajan status if people don’t know who he is.

I first encountered the mysterious Mr. Paternostro on Day 11 (Symphony No. 1).

Then again on Day 27 (Symphony No. 2).

brucknerpaternostroboxAnd again on Day 43 (Symphony No. 3).

Most recently, on Day 59 (Symphony NO. 4).

And so, here are the facts on today’s Paternostro-led symphony:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat Major (WAB 105) composed in 1875-1876
Roberto Paternostro conducts
Paternostro used the “Haas Version,” according to the CD sleeve. (But the Haas verion of what? The 1878 version?)
Wurttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen plays
The symphony clocks in at 78:47
This was recorded at Basilika Weingarten, Germany, on June 23rd, 2001
Paternostro was 49 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 51 when he finished composing it
This recording was released on the SWR/Membran label

According to its entry on Wikipedia,

1878 version
This is the version normally performed. It exists in editions by Robert Haas (published 1935) and Leopold Nowak (published 1951) which are almost identical.

That must be the version Paternostro choose – the 1878.

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four parts. The time breakdown of this one (Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major, “Haas version”), from this particular conductor (Paternostro) and this particular orchestra (Wurttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen) is as follows:

I. Introduction (Adagio) — Allegro. B-flat major……………………………22:01
II. Adagio. Sehr langsam. (Very slowly) D minor……………………………18:59
III. Scherzo. Molto vivace D minor…………………………………………………13:43
IV. Finale (Adagio) — Allegro moderato. B-flat major…………………..24:06

Total running time: 78:47

And now for my subjective assessment:

My Rating:
Recording quality: 4 (some ambient sounds, and very cavernous/echo-y)
Overall musicianship: 5
CD liner notes: 0 (totally unacceptable)
How does this make me feel: 4

This performance took me by surprise.

I found this to be well recorded, engaging, and surprisingly enjoyable. For some reason, the French horn solo at 9:05-9:15 in the Finale (Movement IV) stood out this time. The tone was warm, not brassy. I especially liked the “thumb, thumb” (low notes) of the strings at 9:20 – 9:21 that follow the brief pause. In fact, the entire Finale held my attention to the big-finish end. I was enthralled with all of the instruments and how they intertwined. The interplay was a thing of beauty.

My faith in Bruckner’s Fifth was renewed by Paternostro and Wurttembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen

There are two things wrong with this box set – no liner notes, and only one reference to the record label.

The words SWR and Membran appear only once in this box set. Not on the cover. Not on the CD sleeve. And not in any CD liner notes. Only on the back of the box. Once the CD sleeve is removed, there’s no way for anyone to know who created this set. That’s a problem. Also, not listing any information about Paternostro and/or Bruckner is a problem.

The music in this set deserves better.

Heck, Maestro Paternostro deserves better.

You hear that, SWR/Membran?

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