It is with the legendary recording of Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos. 4 and 7 by the Staatskapelle Dresden under its former principal conductor Herbert Blomstedt that we are now launching a cooperative venture guaranteed to create a sensation. Licensed by Nippon Columbia, MDG will release top-quality recordings from the extensive Denon catalogue. Following this outstanding Japanese label’s decision to focus exclusively on the Asian market, they were no longer available in other parts of the world. As already the first release demonstrates: more great things are yet to come!
Bruckner’s Fourth and Seventh number among his most popular symphonies. Wagner is clearly audible as his model, and especially the Fourth, known as the “Romantic Symphony,” delves deeply into the emotional world of earlier days. The famous horn solo at the beginning recalls Wagner’s Lohengrin, though more in its stance than as a quotation. The extremely self-critical Bruckner bequeathed to posterity several versions and reworkings that Leopold Novak first in the 1950s brought into a coherent, playable form for the complete edition of Bruckner’s works.
By contrast, things are very different with the Seventh. Already a gigantic success at its premiere, this symphony by exception did not experience any thorough revisions. Block-like, abrupt changes of tone and color recall the manual shifts of a huge organ – which is hardly surprising inasmuch as Bruckner was a highly talented organist. Arthur Nikisch, the conductor of the Leipzig premiere, raved, “Since Beethoven nothing even remotely similar has been written!”
The Staatskapelle Dresden was made in musical heaven for Bruckner’s music. Richard Wagner called it his “wonder harp,” and Herbert von Karajan characterized the sound of this oldest orchestra in the world as the “brilliant glow of old gold.” All this and much more is found in Herbert Blomstedt’s interpretation of both symphonies from 1981. And we can look forward with suspense to the continuation!