National Theater Orchestra of Mannheim, Friedemann Layer - Conductor | Anton Bruckner 9. Symphony in D-Minor

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Anton Bruckner 9. Symphony in D-Minor

by National Theater Orchestra of Mannheim, Friedemann Layer - Conductor

Genre: Classical: Symphony
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Feierlich. Misterioso
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24:37 $5.00
2. Scherzo. Bewegt, lebhaft / Trio.Schnell
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10:38 $5.00
3. Adagio: Langsam, feierlich
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22:35 $5.00
4. Finale
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25:29 album only
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
2008 edition
Friedemann Layer, Musikalische Akademie des Nationaltheater-Orchesters Mannheim e.V.
Deutschlandradio Kultur (2 CDs). TT: 83:24. Finale: 25:29 (available from

What lifts this most recent edition of the Samale-Mazzuca-Phillips-Cohrs completion into another league entirely from earlier editions and all other completions is the addition of a final restatement of the chorale, followed by an extended development in the brass of the leaping theme from the Finale's first few bars, and a considerably expanded final peroration, again in the full brass. And in the recapitulation just before the coda proper, Layer's combination of dynamic balance and slow tempo brings to the fore the quotation of a theme from Symphony 8—a chromatically descending four-note passage for solo oboe, repeated in various modulations—in a way that balances the mounting excitement of the prefiguring of the coda to come with the certainty of its fulfillment. Here, for the first time, Bruckner's aural edifice sounds fully constructed as he might have intended, all scaffolding removed, and on a scale in proportion with the rest of this astonishing work. Also for the first time, I can imagine someone familiar with all of Bruckner's other symphonies except the Ninth hearing this set, listening to all four movements, and never once thinking that Bruckner didn't actually write every note.

Conductor Friedemann Layer is fully up to the task, even if the Mannheim orchestra is a bit rough in spots. His articulation of the fugue is terrific—the stretto is crystal clear. Here, apparently, Layer gave the violins detailed bowing instructions that bring out references to the leaping theme from the movement's first bars; hitherto this has seemed little more than a supporting figure, but it now sounds as important as the fugue's main subject, and adds another dimension to a fugue already overwhelming in its complexity.

In short, this recording, the most recent of any completion of the Finale, is also the most satisfying by far. It is the only completion with which, after listening to it, I have not found myself looking forward to the next edition's incremental improvements.

Bruckner's Ninth Symphony may never be finished—indeed, Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs has just informed me that he and his colleagues are considering a new revision of the coda. But here, in the four movements presented in Layer's recording, it sounds at last complete. "Stereophile" Richard Lehnert


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John Proffitt

A fine Bruckner Ninth, the way it should be heard: in four movements!
The Mannheim Theater Orchestra of Germany is primarily an opera orchestra, but in this live concert recording is heard in one of the great masterpieces of the late Austrian/German Romantic tradition, the Symphony No. 9 in d minor by Anton Bruckner. What sets this performance and recording apart from most is that Maestro Layer brings us the traditional 3 movements usually heard, PLUS the 4th movement Finale which remained an incomplete torso at Bruckner's death in 1896. This version of the Finale torso has been "completed" by the Samale, Mazucca, Philips and Cohrs team of musicologists and (to my ears) makes a very effective ending to the Symphony.

It is important to bear in mind that Bruckner worked on the Ninth's 4th movement literally up to his dying day, and most of the music -- about 2/3 of the score -- survives in his manuscript. It's pretty impressive stuff and should not be missed by anyone who appreciates this composer's music.

Final comment: There are two main Performing Versions of the Ninth Finale, this one by the SMPC team, and another fine version by the American musicologist William Carragan. To the casual listener, the main differences will be noticed in the last 1/3 of the movement, most of which is "educated guess" creation of the editors based on sketchy ideas from Bruckner. However, the first 2/3 is pretty much the same in both versions, since it's pretty much 100% top-drawer, and magnificent, Bruckner!