Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major
Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under the direction of its long-time guest conductor Bernard Haitink in a live recording from 1981.
Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra enjoyed a long and intensive artistic collaboration, which came to an abrupt end with Haitink’s death in October 2021. BR-KLASSIK now presents outstanding and previously unreleased live recordings of concerts from past years. This recording of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony documents concerts given in November 1981 at the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz.
Haitink first conducted a Munich subscription concert in 1958, and from then on was a regular guest with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra – either at the Herkulessaal of the Residenz or at the Philharmonie im Gasteig. This congenial collaboration lasted more than six decades. The orchestra musicians and singers enjoyed working with him just as much as the BR sound engineers. As an interpreter of the symphonic repertoire, and especially that of the German-Austrian Late Romantic period, Haitink was held in high esteem throughout the world. With him, the symphonies of Anton Bruckner were always in the best of hands. His driving principle was to make the sound architecture of a musical composition, with its complex interweaving, transparently audible; extreme sensitivity of sound was combined with a clearly structured interpretation of the score.
The premiere of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony in 1884 was an immediate success with the public. It was with this powerful work that Bruckner, already in his 60s and long denied fame and recognition, achieved his long-awaited breakthrough. The key work in this late triumph was the Seventh Symphony. Composed between September 1881 and autumn 1883, it paved the way for a wider acceptance of his music. One reason for its success was that Bruckner was chosen by Richard Wagner’s followers to fill the gap left by the Bayreuth master’s death in February 1883. The Seventh Symphony thus bears witness to Bruckner’s veneration of Wagner, manifested both in certain instrumental and melodic similarities to the motivic world of the “Ring” and in the explicit dedication of the symphony’s central Adagio movement “to the memory of the blessed, beloved, immortal Master”. Bruckner’s homage takes the form of a harrowing piece of funeral music – a resounding Wagner epitaph. The symphony, dedicated to Ludwig II of Bavaria, was premiered on December 30, 1884 by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Arthur Nikisch.
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Bernard Haitink conductor
BR-KLASSIK CD 900218
Total Time: 63:48 min
- Recordings from concerts given on November 19 and 20, 1981 in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz
- A representative example of Bernard Haitink’s long-standing collaboration with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra