New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Arturo Toscanini
Recorded live from a concert at Carnegie Hall on 27th January, 1935
Pristine Audio XR remastering by Andrew Rose, June-July 2007
Please note: The source material for this recording was badly damaged. Though this restoration aims to preserve as well as is currently possible the sound quality of this historic document, listeners may notice some unevenness at times, coupled with some mild degree of hiss. There are also some short sections of music missing from the recording.
Download ID: 323440, 327731, 499937
A Pristine Audio Natural Sound restoration
Scroll down for PDF covers and cue-sheet download
The only recording of Toscanini conducting Bruckner
"Andrew Rose’s remastering is nothing short of phenomenal. Using a modern recording of this symphony as a “soundprint,” he was able digitally to restore some of the missing frequencies, the upper end of which was then “rolled off” until the worst of the hiss and crackle faded ... as a historical document—provided that you like the work—it is fascinating and indispensable" - Fanfare, May-June 2008
"...none more valuable than a 1935 New York Philharmonic Bruckner Seventh, the last in a run of performances that the maestro gave in that particular season and something of a revelation. Recording-wise, I can affirm that Pristine's Andrew Rose has achieved minor miracles, lending depth and lustre to sound that although still conspicuously "historical" is far more palatable than it might have been. As to the performance, which incidentally is as yet our only available sampling of Toscanini's Bruckner on disc, the string lines are "sung" very much con amore, with generally broad tempi and a good deal of flexibility tempo-wise. Score-watchers will baulk at one or two instances of re-scoring – an added timpani roll in the first movement (from +58") whereas in the fourth the big chorale theme (at 1'04") is given to the brass instead of the strings – but the many interesting points of illumination will likely hold listeners captive. Perhaps the oddest interpretative gesture is the work's close, which is shockingly abrupt, and there are one or two gaps where the original recording is missing, but viewed overall this is without doubt a major historical release." - Rob Cowan, Gramophone, December 2007
This XR-remastered recording is available in mono and Ambient Stereo. For more information on Ambient Stereo click here.
Notes on the restoration: This legendary lost recording, kept under lock and key for over 70 years, came to my attention a few weeks ago. A copy was provided to me and I set about seeing what I might be able to do with it.
The original recording was in a pretty awful state - incredibly crackly and hissy, uneven, and troubled with all sorts of all-too-audible problems. This restoration has for the most part concentrated on removing, reducing and minimising these defects, as well as using the Pristine Audio XR remastering system to try to restore, as far as is possible, the sound of the orchestra.
It should be clearly understood that, given the nature of the source material, there will always remain some defects, though I hope that in minimising them the listener is left with an enjoyable experience. There is great music-making here in one of only four concert series Toscanini ever gave of the music of Bruckner*, and the only Toscanini Bruckner known to have been recorded.
Alas there are three small gaps in this recording, where disc side changes were not carried out to provide a continuous record. For this, nothing can be done. What is here is almost an hour of superb music, and a truly historic document in the history of recorded sound.
*(see Don Tait's more detailed notes, below)
Toscanini's Bruckner Concert Performances
some notes by Don Tait
May I say a couple of things about Toscanini performing Bruckner? The first [concert] was an incomplete performance, but I find it remarkable: in Turin in December 1896, during some of his first-ever symphonic concerts, Toscanini programmed the Adagio of the 7th Symphony in memory of Bruckner, who had just died.
Toscanini wrote to a friend on the morning of December 21, 1896:
"[...] The concerts, too, are finally finished! Everything went splendidly. The only piece on the program that was received coldly was Bruckner's Adagio [7th Symphony]. It's beautiful but very hard to grasp at first blush. For this piece, the audience split into two factions that joined together at the end in a formidable applause for all the performers." (Quoted in Harvey Sachs, "The Letters of Arturo Toscanini," Knopf, 2002.)
I find it fascinating, and moving, that this man who was so busy conducting opera most of the time had found the time to acquaint himself with at least some of Bruckner's music -- when it was still new and probably unknown and strange for Italian audiences of the time.
Robert Marsh, in his Toscanini books, listed eleven complete Bruckner symphony performances by Toscanini, all with the New York Philharmonic:
No. 4: November 24 & 25, 1932; February 3, 1934
No. 7: March 4, 6, 7, & 8, 1931; January 24, 25, & 26, 1935.
Sachs confirms that those were the only complete performances of Bruckner symphonies that Toscanini prepared.
Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major is one of his most popular Symphonies. It was written between 1881 and 1883 and revised in 1885. It is dedicated to Ludwig II of Bavaria. The premiere, given under Arthur Nikisch in the opera house of Leipzig in 1884, brought Bruckner the greatest success he had known in his life. The symphony is sometimes referred to as the "Lyric", though the appellation is not the composer's own, and is not often used.
The symphony has four movements:
Allegro moderato E major.
Adagio. Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam C-sharp minor. Legend has it that Bruckner wrote the cymbal clash at the climax of this movement at the precise moment on hearing the news that Wagner had died.
Scherzo. Sehr schnell A minor.
Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht schnell E major. In the recapitulation, the subject groups are reversed in order (a form sometimes called "tragic sonata form").
The symphony requires an instrumentation of one pair each flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, with four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, and a quartet of Wagner tubas, along with a contrabass tuba, timpani and strings, and possibly cymbals and triangle.
Except the third movement, usage of percussion in the symphony is extremely limited. The timpani enters the symphony at the coda of the first movement. The timpani reenters along with cymbals and triangle together in the climax of the second movement. In the last movement, the timpani rolls in brief climaxes before crescendoing with orchestral tutti in the final bars.
An arrangement of this symphony for chamber ensemble (consisting of 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, clarinet, horn, piano 4-hands, and harmonium) was prepared in 1921 by students and associates of Arnold Schoenberg, for the Viennese Society for Private Musical Performances: Hanns Eisler (1st and 3rd movements), Erwin Stein (2nd mvt.), and Karl Rankl (3rd mvt). The Society folded before the arrangement could be performed, and it was not premiered until more than 60 years later.
The Symphonies of Bruckner
Bruckner's Symphonies are all in four movements, starting with a modified sonata form allegro, a slow movement, a scherzo in 3/4 time, and a modified sonata form allegro finale. (In the Eighth, Ninth, and one version of the Second, the slow movements and scherzi are reversed.) They are scored for a fairly standard orchestra of woodwinds in pairs, four horns, two or three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani and strings. The later symphonies increase this complement, but not by much. Notable is the use of Wagner tubas in his last three symphonies. With the exception of Symphony No. 4, none of Bruckner's Symphonies has subtitles, and most of the nicknames were not thought up by the composer. Bruckner's works are trademarked with powerful codas and grand finales, as well as the frequent use of unison passages and orchestral tutti. His style of orchestral writing was criticized by his Viennese contemporaries, but by the middle of the 20th century musicologists recognized that Bruckner's orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
Otto Kitzler, Bruckner's last composition teacher, set him three final tasks as the climax of his studies: a choral work, an overture, and a symphony. The latter, completed in 1863, was then Bruckner's Study Symphony in F minor. Bruckner later rejected this work, but he did not destroy it. While it certainly reminds one of earlier composers such as Robert Schumann, it undeniably also bears the hallmarks of the later Bruckner style. Kitzler simply commented that the work was "not very inspired". It was first performed in 1924 and not published until 1973 and is usually listed as Symphony No. 00.
Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor (sometimes called by Bruckner "das kecke Beserl", roughly translated as "the saucy maid" ) was completed in 1866, but the original text of this symphony was not reconstructed until 1998. Instead, it is commonly known in two versions, the so-called Linz Version which is based mainly on rhythmical revisions made in 1877, and the completely revised Vienna Version of 1891, which begins to reveal his mature style, e.g. Symphony No. 8.
Next was the so-called Symphony No. 0 in D minor of 1869, a very charming work which was so harshly criticized that Bruckner retracted it completely, and it was not performed at all during his lifetime, hence his choice for the number of the symphony.
The Symphony No. 2 in C minor was revised in 1873, 1876, 1877 and 1892. It is sometimes called the Symphony of Pauses for its dramatic use of whole-orchestra rests, very nicely accentuating the form. In the Carragan edition of the 1872 version, the Scherzo is placed second and the Adagio third.
Bruckner presented his Symphony No. 3 in D minor, written in 1873, to Wagner along with the Second, asking which of them he might dedicate to him. Wagner chose the Third, and Bruckner sent him a fair copy soon later, which is why the original version of this Wagner Symphony is preserved for us so nicely despite revisions in 1874, 1876, 1877 and 1888/1889. One thing that helped Wagner choose which Symphony to accept the dedication of was that the 3rd contains quotations from Wagner's music dramas, such as Die Walküre and Lohengrin. These quotations were taken out in revised versions.
Bruckner's first great success was his Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, more commonly known as the Romantic Symphony, the only epithet applied to a symphony by the composer himself. The 1874 version has been seldom played and success came only after major revisions in 1878, including a completely new scherzo and finale, and again in 1880/1881, once again with a completely rewritten finale. This version was premiered in 1881 (under the conductor Hans Richter). Bruckner made more minor revisions of this symphony in 1886-1888.
Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in B flat major crowns his most productive era of symphony-writing, finished at the beginning of 1876. The original version seems unrecoverable and we know only the thoroughly revised version of 1878. Many consider this symphony to be Bruckner's lifetime masterpiece in the area of counterpoint. For example, the Finale is a combined fugue and sonata form movement: the first theme (characterized by the downward leap of an octave) appears in the exposition as a four-part fugue in the strings and the concluding theme of the exposition is presented first as a chorale in the brass, then as a four part fugue in the development, and culminating in a double fugue with the first theme at the recapitulation; additionally, the coda combines not only these two themes but also the main theme of the first movement.
Symphony No. 6 in A major, written in 1879-1881, is an oft-neglected work; whereas the Bruckner rhythm (two quarters plus a quarter triplet or vice versa) is an important part of his previous symphonies, it pervades this work, particularly in the first movement, making it particularly difficult to perform.
Symphony No. 7 in E major was the most beloved of Bruckner's symphonies with audiences of the time, and is still popular. It was written 1881-1883 and revised in 1885. During the time that Bruckner began work on this Symphony, he was aware that Wagner's death was imminent, and so the Adagio is slow mournful music for Wagner, and for the first time in Bruckner's oeuvre, the Wagner tuba is included in the orchestra.
Bruckner began composition of his Symphony No. 8 in C minor in 1884. In 1887 Bruckner sent the work to Hermann Levi, the conductor who had led his Seventh to great success. Levi, who had said Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony was the greatest symphony written after Beethoven, believed that the Eighth was a confusing jumble. Bruckner revised the work, sometimes with the aid of Franz Schalk, and completed this new version in 1890.
The final accomplishment of Bruckner's life was to be his Symphony No. 9 in D minor which he started in April 1891, and which he dedicated "To God the Beloved." The first three movements were completed by the end of 1894, the Adagio alone taking 18 months to complete. Work was delayed by the composer's poor health and by his compulsion to revise his early symphonies, and by the time of his death in 1896 he had not finished the last movement. The first three movements remained unperformed until their premiere in Vienna (in Ferdinand Löwe's version) on February 11, 1903.
Bruckner suggested using his Te Deum as a Finale, which would complete the homage to Beethoven's Ninth symphony (also in D minor). The problem was that the Te Deum is in C Major, while the 9th Symphony is D Minor, and, although Bruckner began sketching a transition from the Adagio key of E Major to the triumphant key of C Major, he did not pursue the idea. There have been several attempts to complete these sketches and prepare them for performance, as well as completions of his later sketches for an instrumental Finale, but only the first three movements of the Symphony are usually performed.