Day 96: Symphony No. 6 in A Major (Wand)

brucknerwandcd6frontToday is the last time I’ll listen to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major – at least, for the time being.

Tomorrow, I start back at the beginning of my Bruckner cycle…with Daniel Barenboim – only this time with Symphony No. 7.

But that’s tomorrow.

Today is German-born Gunter Wand (1912-2002).

The orchestra is Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester.

Back when I first contemplated this 144-day project, Maestro Wand’s name came up a time or two when I read reviews of Bruckner’s symphonies and what people considered to be his best conductor-interpreters. Wand was looked upon favorably by most Brucknerians. So, when I started this journey – back on October 3rd, 2016 – Wand was one of the conductors I most looked forward to hearing.

And hear him I did on Day 16, Symphony No. 1.

Then, on Day 32, Symphony No. 2.

And again on Day 48, Symphony No. 3.

And again on Day 64, Symphony No. 4.

And again on Day 67, Symphony No. 5 (in the Bruckner Collection box set).

And again on Day 80, Symphony No. 5 (from the Wand box set).

Finally, today: Day 96, Symphony No. 6.

I’ve heard a lot of Gunter Wand in this project.

Before I reveal what I thought of this day’s listening, here are the objective stats:

brucknerwandboxBruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major WAB 106 composed 1879-1881
Gunter Wand conducts
Wand used the ??? version (unknown), edited by ??? (unknown)
Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester plays
The symphony clocks in at 53:03
This was recorded at Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal in Cologne, Germany, in 1976
Wand was 64 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 57 when he finished composing it
This recording was released on the RCA/Red Seal 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 (Gunter Wand ) and this particular orchestra (Kolner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester) is as follows:

I: Majestoso…………………………………………………………………………………………………….15:35
II: Adagio. Sehr feierlich (Very solemnly)……………………………………………………….15:04
III: Scherzo. Nicht schnell (Not fast) — Trio. Langsam (Slowly)………………………8:45
IV: Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (With motion, but not too fast)……13:39

Total running time: 53:03

Okay. Now, here are the subjective aspects:

My Rating:
Recording quality: 4
Overall musicianship: 4
CD liner notes: 0 (there aren’t any – shame on them!)
How does this make me feel: 4 (leaning toward 4.5)

I’m amazed at how much my opinion changes from conductor and orchestra to conductor and orchestra. One day, Gunter Wand is blah…the next day (well, 16 days later) he’s riveting.

This performance fascinated me from the first notes of Movement I. It sounds different. Not just different from other Wand recordings – different from other Bruckner Sixth recordings. Like the instruments were mic’ed differently.

This was recorded very well, with an expanse between instruments and a clarity I don’t recall hearing in previous Wand interpretations.

I especially enjoyed (no surprise here) the Scherzo. But I almost always do, don’t I? Still, for some reason, Wand’s interpretation of it was particularly joyful and quirky and energetic.

I would listen to this recording again.

For the third or fourth time.

But maybe not right now.

8161aoswx4l-_sl1200_Now, I want to cleanse my palate with The Sweet‘s legendary Strung Up double album, recently remastered and re-released on CD.

Sometimes, after 3-4 hours of Classical music, I just wanna ROCK.

You know what I mean?

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