||ANTON BRUCKNER - SYMPHONY No. 8 - (FIRST VERSION 1878) - SIMONE YOUNG (Conductor) - PHILHARMONIKER HAMBURG -
2 Hybrid SACD - Oehms OC 638|
It has been a banner year for high-quality recordings of the Bruckner symphonies and Simone Young’s
account of the Eighth towers above the rest. The Bruckner cannon have been muddled by both the composer’s revisions and the corruption
of scores by misguided supporters. While he submitted to extensive changes, Bruckner always carefully preserved his first versions, “For
later times.” That time is now, at the mid-point of Young’s cycle of the Bruckner symphonies in their original form. Symphony No 8 of 1887 was
only performed in its entirety in 1973. For the past decade, Georg Tintner’s recording for Naxos (89:30) has been the undisputed top choice
in a not very crowded field. Young surpasses him on all fronts: architectural conception, momentum, orchestral depth and sound quality. Hers
is a rapturous performance which offers technical virtuosity and an awe-inspiring demonstration of interpretive intuition. Upon first acquaintance
with this recording, your reviewer immediately ordered the previously issued discs in the cycle (Nos 2, 3 and 4). Young’s Eighth is no fluke.
Australian-born Simone Young is probably the finest conductor of Bruckner active today. And the lady is also blazing a trail in Wagner with the
first two parts of a Hamburg Ring Cycle for Oehms receiving widespread praise.