Day 94: Symphony No. 6 in A Major (Solti)

brucknersolticd7This morning’s conductor of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major (WAB 106) is Hungarian-born Sir Georg Solti (1912-1997), an artist with a long and noteworthy career.

I first heard Sir Georg Solti on Day 14 of my 144-day journey, Symphony No. 1.

Then again on Day 30, Symphony No. 2.

And again Day 46, Symphony No. 3.

And again on Day 62, Symphony No. 4.

And, most recently (aside from today, of course), on Day 78, Symphony No. 5.

In my previous assessments of Solti’s works, I pointed out the lack of information in the CD booklet – including the name of the record label and the versions/editors used for each symphony.

The other day, I happened to look at the back of the box and noticed this:

bruknersoltiboxback

So, although I discovered a source in this Solti box set for some information regarding version and editor, I’m still not happy with this because:

1. None of this edition/editor information is in the CD booklet or on the disc itself, plus

2. The information listed is incomplete. No version listed for Symphonies No. 0, No. 1, No 2, No. 5, No. 6, No. 4, No. 7, and No. 9. Sometimes, an editor is listed. Sometimes, a version is listed. But I know enough about Bruckner to know that what Decca printed on the back of the CD box leaves a lot to be desired. As least, I desire more. (At least a little more.)

brucknersoltiboxOkay, now on to the objective aspects of this recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major (WAB 106) composed between 1879 and 1881
Sir Georg Solti conducts
Solti used the ??? version, edited by ???
Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays
The symphony clocks in at 61:15
This was recorded in January and June of 1979 at Medinah Temple, Chicago
Solti was 67 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 57 when he finished composing it
This recording was released on the London/Decca label

Bruckner wrote his symphonies in four parts. The time breakdown of this one Symphony No. 6 in A Major (WAB 106), from this particular conductor (Sir Georg Solti ) and this particular orchestra (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) is as follows:

I: Majestoso…………………………………………………………………………………………………….17:41
II: Adagio. Sehr feierlich (Very solemnly)……………………………………………………….19:22
III: Scherzo. Nicht schnell (Not fast) — Trio. Langsam (Slowly)………………………8:52
IV: Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (With motion, but not too fast)……15:14

Total running time: 61:15

Okay when you put all this together, what do you get?

My Rating:
Recording quality: 5
Overall musicianship: 5
CD liner notes: 4 (lengthy essays, but incomplete recording/version information)
How does this make me feel: 5

As an experiment, after listening to this performance 2-3 times, I picked any movement, popped in at any randomly chosen point in it, and listened. No matter where I started, or what I heard, I was engrossed. And that was the point: to see if context mattered, to see if my enjoyment of this recording depended on anything but the notes I heard.

It didn’t.

And that despite the fact that it’s the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which – in my experience – often favors the brass section in recordings. Yet, this wasn’t brassy or piercing. It was uniformly listenable.

This performance warrants a huge “Huzzah!”

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