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Cat. No. CHAN 6623(2) Price: £0 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 6623 - Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 /  Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven
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Available From: 20 July 2000
The Eighth Symphony is the last that Bruckner completed. It was begun in 1884 and finished three years later, but soon revisions were made, the longest taking him from March 1889 to March 1890. In the course of this the first movement’s ending was changed, passages from the ‘Adagio’ and Finale were shortened; the Scherzo was given a new Trio and the climax of the ‘Adagio’ was transposed from C to E flat. The version recorded here is the Haas version, which incorporates the 1890 revisions except for the cuts in the ‘Adagio’ and Finale. Haas believed that these cuts damaged the structure and the 1887 version was restored. The orchestral forces are considerable and include much extra brass. The first movement has a powerfully tragic spirit beginning in a mood of stern purpose, but ending in utter desolation. The Scherzo, placed second, has a pounding dynamic momentum and is entirely built of fragments of theme heard in the first four bars. The Trio is reflective and richly orchestrated. The heart of the Symphony is the sublime ‘Adagio’ which has been described as ‘a poem of exalted meditation’. Three main themes provide the substance of the Finale, in which Bruckner tries to counter-balance the first two movements. Max Reger was a fine pianist and organist, a skilled accompanist, chamber player and orchestral conductor. He left nearly 150 numbered works, most of them for piano, organ or chamber ensemble, showing a fondness for sets of variations. The Beethoven Variations were written in 1904 for two pianos and in 1915 Reger transcribed them for orchestra, reducing their number from twelve to eight and re-ordering them. The theme is simply stated and quickly subjected to variations. After the variations, which visit a wide range of keys, a fugue ensues, in which the Beethoven theme appears as the counter-subject.

‘It is accompanied, moreover, by a substantial and most interesting fill-up; an excellent performance of Reger’s seldom heard Beethoven variations.’
American Record Guide

‘…the interpretation is strong, and the sound, as in so many Chandos orchestral recordings, is outstanding – magnificent in its own reach and amplitude, yet firm on detail too, a constant source of nourishment and pleasure to the armchair ear.’
Classic CD

‘Järvi’s Chandos reading boasts the best sound and the finest orchestral playing of the lot.’


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