Notes & Reviews:
Better known in Europe than the U.S., Wand nevertheless made his mark in Germanic orchestral repertoire, most especially in this series of magnificent recordings of Bruckner's symphonies, one of the most revered cycles on record. (9 CDs)
American Record Guide, November/December 2012
The reason my memory of the LPs is foggy is that I sold that box many years ago. Its sound was glary in a way common with some German LP pressings, and I thought the performances were superficial, with tempos too fast and textures too brassy. This reissue sounds a lot better than I remember from the LPs, and that may partly explain why I like most of the performances a lot. They are consistently fast and aggressive, but there is no denying their visceral strength, excitement, directness, and power. (Wand's later Bruckner CDs and DVDs are warmer and more expansive.) Bruckner's famous pauses survive, but sometimes just barely. There is little indulgence of the slow movements. The A sections of the Scherzos are brisk, often militant; the trios are more relaxed. Cologne's orchestra plays very well and with conviction. If its strings are a little thin, their ensemble is tight. The brass can be brash, though there is something attractive in the rawish tone of the trumpets, and the horns really glow.
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