Bruckner: Symphony No 3 CD review – consistently superb, with buoyant strings

Gewandhaus Orchestra/Nelsons
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Andris Nelsons does not conduct his first concerts as music director of the Gewandhaus Orchester in Leipzig until March next year, but he has already begun his first recording project in his new role. This performance of the Third Symphony, taken from concerts in the Gewandhaus in June last year, inaugurates a complete Bruckner cycle from Nelsons and the orchestra, and he has opted to begin with what is perhaps the most contentious of the 10 symphonies from a textual point of view.

It has become fashionable for conductors to opt for one of the earlier editions of the Third Symphony, either the original of 1873, or one of the revisions, from the following year and 1877-78. But Nelsons sticks with the final, 1889 version of the work, more streamlined than its predecessors and with the quotations from Wagner (to whom Bruckner dedicated the Third) minimised. That seems to match perfectly his fleet, floating performance, which lasts just about an hour. There’s consistently superb playing from all sections of the orchestra, but it’s the transparency of the strings that gives the textures such buoyancy; nothing is too emphatic or insistent. There’s room on the disc for Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture too, another chance for the ensemble to show how superb it is.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Bruckner: Symphonies Nos 1 and 5, etc review | Andrew Clements's classical album of the week
The conductor’s latest journey through Bruckner (and Wagner) is typically extrovert, allowing the music to flow naturally

Andrew Clements

24, Feb, 2022 @3:00 PM

Article image
Bruckner: Symphony No 9 (four-movement version) – review

The result of almost 30 years work, this completion of the fourth movement is totally convincing, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

23, May, 2012 @2:31 PM

Article image
Bruckner: Symphony No 9 review – Claudio Abbado's great last testament

Compiled from Abbado's final concerts at the Lucerne festival last year, this recording captures the transparent beauty of the occasion, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

24, Jul, 2014 @8:30 PM

Bruckner: Symphonies Nos 4 to 9 – review
Conductor Otto Klemperer's versions of six Bruckner's symphonies are fluent and purposeful, with a faultless sense of symphonic architecture, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

06, Dec, 2012 @9:35 PM

Bruckner: Symphony No 2 – review
Bruckner completists might just find some curiosity value in this downscaled version, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

20, Jan, 2011 @10:20 PM

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini; Symphony No 4 – review
This recording of Francesca da Rimini is up there with the classic versions and even steals a march on them at times, writes Tim Ashley

Tim Ashley

09, Feb, 2012 @10:50 PM

Bruckner: Symphony No 9 – review
With Bernard Haitink at the helm, the LSO bring clarity and light to Bruckner's unfinished symphony, writes Fiona Maddocks

Fiona Maddocks

23, Feb, 2014 @12:07 AM

Article image
Berlin Philharmonic/Rattle review – all guns blazing on Simon's farewell tour
The fruits of Simon Rattle’s long partnership with the Berlin orchestra were evident in a magisterial Bruckner Ninth and vivid miniatures by Hans Abrahamsen

Martin Kettle

31, May, 2018 @2:20 PM

Bruckner: Symphony No 4 | Classical CD review
Osmo Vänskä shows that Anton Bruckner's last thoughts on his most popular symphony deserve to be heard, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Jul, 2010 @9:30 PM

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No 9; A Hero's Song – review
Nelsons' power as an interpreter is fully displayed in this fresh, dramatic rendering of the New World Symphony, says Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

04, Apr, 2013 @8:29 PM