Göteborgs Symfoniker
Published at 17 Nov 13.00
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Bruckner: Symphony No. 1

Recording with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, October 20 2022, Gothenburg Concert Hall.

Anton Bruckner actually composed two symphonies before labelling his symphony in C-minor number 1. First he composed a symphony in F-minor, which is now usually referred to as the Study Symphony, or No. 00; this was followed by a symphony in D-minor, which is usually called No. 0. Some researchers say that No. 0 was actually composed after No. 1; he may have actually worked on several major pieces at once. Although it might be difficult to detect the great Bruckner in these early works, in the first numbered symphony he found many of the traits that would ultimately distinguish this magnificent composer. Specifically, this grandiose piece has a run-time of approximately 45 minutes.
Bruckner called his first symphony “das kecke Beserl”, which means something akin to “the saucy maid” – words that capture in a nutshell the relaxed, cheerful nature of the introduction, and the courageous force of the scherzo movement. The outer movements are both faster than usual in Bruckner’s coming symphonies, and the finale’s stormy vitality might explain why the composer was surprised later in life to find the works of his youth so bold and daring.

But a great deal of what would become typical Bruckner characteristics can also be found here: his incredibly sensitive work with keys and their development; his method of slowly building up energy to a major eruption; the chorale of the conclusion, which becomes a display of horns; and finally, the considerable length of the work. It is a magnificent symphony that was highly regarded by both the era’s leading musical oracle, pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein, as well as conductor Hans von Bülow. But like most of Bruckner’s symphonies, Number 1 also underwent numerous more or less extensive edits. He began composing in 1865 and presented an original version in Linz the following year. Meanwhile, the most commonly heard versions were created in 1877 and 1891.

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Programme

Anton Bruckner (1824–1896) Symphony No. 1 in C-minor Allegro Adagio Scherzo: Lebhaft Finale: Bewegt, feurig Anton Bruckner actually composed two symphonies before labelling his symphony in C-minor number 1. First he composed a symphony in F-minor, which is now usually referred to as the Study Symphony, or No. 00; this was followed by a symphony in D-minor, which is usually called No. 0. Some researchers say that No. 0 was actually composed after No. 1; he may have actually worked on several major pieces at once. Although it might be difficult to detect the great Bruckner in these early works, in the first numbered symphony he found many of the traits that would ultimately distinguish this magnificent composer. Specifically, this grandiose piece has a run-time of approximately 45 minutes. Bruckner called his first symphony “das kecke Beserl”, which means something akin to “the saucy maid” – words that capture in a nutshell the relaxed, cheerful nature of the introduction, and the courageous force of the scherzo movement. The outer movements are both faster than usual in Bruckner’s coming symphonies, and the finale’s stormy vitality might explain why the composer was surprised later in life to find the works of his youth so bold and daring. But a great deal of what would become typical Bruckner characteristics can also be found here: his incredibly sensitive work with keys and their development; his method of slowly building up energy to a major eruption; the chorale of the conclusion, which becomes a display of horns; and finally, the considerable length of the work. It is a magnificent symphony that was highly regarded by both the era’s leading musical oracle, pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein, as well as conductor Hans von Bülow. But like most of Bruckner’s symphonies, Number 1 also underwent numerous more or less extensive edits. He began composing in 1865 and presented an original version in Linz the following year. Meanwhile, the most commonly heard versions were created in 1877 and 1891. Stig Jacobsson

Participants

The Gothenburg Symphony, called "one of the world's most formidable orchestras" by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world. Chief conductor is Santtu-Matias Rouvali who started his tenure in 2017. Barbara Hannigan and Christoph Eschenbach are principal guest conductors since 2019. Already at the orchestra's very first years, the great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed principal conductor, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works. Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi's tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. In 1997 it was appointed the National Orchestra of Sweden. During his celebrated tenure as music director (2007-2012), Gustavo Dudamel took the Orchestra to major music centres and festivals in Europe, making acclaimed appearances at BBC Proms and Vienna Musikverein. The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra also runs extensive concert projects for children, and regularly releases digital live concerts free on gsoplay.se. The orchestra has been involved in many prestigious recording projects, the latest one the complete Sibelius Symphonies with Santtu-Matias Rouvali for Alpha Classics. Earlier, the orchestra has issued over 100 recordings on BIS, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Farao Classics and several other labels. The Gothenburg Symphony is owned by the Region Västra Götaland.

Christoph Eschenbach conductor

Christian Schmitt orgel