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This release is the third in a series published by Pristine Classical chronicling the concerts conducted by Jascha Horenstein during his visits to the Swedish city of Gothenburg in the late 1960s. On all three occasions, first in January 1968, then in December of that year and finally in October 1969, he was asked to conduct works that would challenge the recently expanded Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and its newly engaged personnel, particularly in the brass section. It was for this reason that his program choices settled on Mahler's 4th, followed by Bruckner's 6th, Schubert's 9th and finally Mahler's 5th symphonies, good tests of the orchestra's mettle and its ability to handle large-scale romantic music. These were given in four attractively constructed programs that also included works by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Liszt and Saint-Saëns, all of which were recorded in-house and will be remastered for publication on this label.
The present recording reproduces the second of Horenstein’s four Gothenburg programs, an evening that opened with a performance of Bach’s First Brandenburg Concerto, preserved here from a pre-concert rehearsal that ends with encouraging words from Horenstein to the musicians. The “live” performance has not, apparently, been preserved.
Horenstein first became aware of Bruckner’s music as a youngster when he attended a June 1912 performance of the Ninth Symphony in Vienna conducted by Artur Nikisch, whom he credited with stimulating his desire to become a conductor. Later during the Weimar era his performances of Bruckner’s Ninth and a pioneering recording of the Seventh (PASC 203) were immediately recognized as authoritative and contributed to his meteoric rise among young conductors of the day. The unloved and rarely played Sixth was the only other Bruckner symphony he conducted during the early part of his career, the rest entered his repertoire only much later. However judging from the number of times he conducted it, the Sixth was his favourite of the canon after the Third, and also featured at his last performance of any music by Bruckner, in London in July 1972.
The recording from Gothenburg exhibits many of the qualities that made Horenstein’s performances of Bruckner so compelling: a steady rhythmic pulse, forward momentum and a transparent delineation of harmonic and melodic detail, all in the service of long-term shape and structure. The Gothenburg Orchestra, playing the symphony for the first time and lacking the refinement of more accomplished ensembles, delivers a performance of great intensity, drama and conviction that contrasts favourably with Horenstein’s more relaxed, suavely played studio recording from 1961 with the London Symphony Orchestra (remastered on PASC 574).
Horenstein in Gothenburg, Volume 3
J. S. BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046*
1. 1st mvt. - [Allegro] (4:40)
2. 2nd mvt. - Adagio (3:43)
3. 3rd mvt. - Allegro (5:05)
4. 4th mvt. - Menuetto (7:49)
BRUCKNER Symphony No. 6 in A major, WAB 106
5. 1st mvt. - Majestoso (15:18)
6. 2nd mvt. - Adagio. Sehr feierlich (16:09)
7. 3rd mvt. - Scherzo. Nicht schnell - Trio. Langsam (9:30)
8. 4th mvt. - Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (14:08)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Jascha Horenstein
XR Remastered by Andrew Rose
Live concert and *rehearsal recording, Gothenburg Concert Hall, Sweden, 5 December 1968 from the Misha Horenstein Archive.
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Jascha Horenstein from the collection of Misha Horenstein
Total duration: 76:22