I was able to find 16 box sets online that include all nine of Bruckner’s symphonies. And that was my criteria: I had to be able to find box sets that were complete – all nine symphonies – at the time of the start of my project. I didn’t want to cobble together a conductor’s complete nine (Gerd Schaller, for example – perhaps my favorite conductor – doesn’t have a box set of Bruckner symphonies; I’d have to spend something like $150 to buy them all separately). I wanted to let my fingers do the searching on Amazon and buy sets that were readily available, that anyone else could buy, too.
I discovered two box sets that I thought were from single conductors (the Bruckner Collection and the Heinz Rogner sets) are actually comprised of interpretations by several different conductors. But I listed them below (and listened to them in my project) in the order of the principle name on, or of, the box set. Hence Bruckner Collection is under “C.” The Heinz Rogner set is under “R.”
One conductor (Eugen Jochum) has two complete Bruckner symphony sets available, from two different orchestras, on two different record labels, recorded in two different decades. So I listened to them both. They are listed below.
To my knowledge there are more than 16-18 different conductors and 16 box sets.
I have linked the conductor’s (or box set’s) name to where you can buy it on Amazon (and, by all means, buy these box sets; never, ever illegally download them!):
Bruckner Collection (a box set of various conductors)
Eugen Jochum 1
Eugen Jochum 2
Herbert von Karajan
Heinz Rogner (actually, a box set with other conductors in addition to Rogner)
Sir Georg Stolti
My project is to listen to the conductors in alphabetical order, one symphony from each per day.
In other words, for each 16-day period I will listen to one symphony interpreted by a different conductor each day. I started with Symphony No. 1. I will end with Symphony No. 9.
If the conductor, orchestra, date of recording, version of the symphony (Haas, Nowak, or Carrigan), or even record label makes a difference in how Bruckner sounds or feels to me, I should be able to discern it.
For other points of evaluation, see Rating System.
I will also do a little research on each of these conductors to see where they were born, if they’re still alive, how they were/are regarded, etc.
For example, I will read the books Out of Time: The Vexed Life of Georg Tintner and Seeking the Infinite: The Musical Life of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.
As other bios come to my attention, I’ll read those, too.