For their debut recording together, Grammy Award-winning conductor Kent Nagano and the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra explore the rarely heard original edition of Anton Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony. The performance showcases the abrupt contrasts and more complex structures of the initial 1874 version of Bruckner’s much-lauded piece. Marrying Kent Nagano’s unique perspective, intellectual clarity and great precision to the BSO’s nearly 200 years of evolving traditions and stylistic flux, this milestone recording allows the listener to experience a musical masterpiece anew.
Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major (WAB 104) is perhaps the composer's most popular symphonies. Written in 1874, it was revised several times through 1888. The symphonies nickname of "Romantic" was used by the composer with several references to program elements indicative of a Medieval style romance rather than one of romantic love.
"In the first movement of the "Romantic" Fourth Symphony the intention is to depict the horn that proclaims the day from the town hall! Then life goes on; in the Gesangsperiode [the second subject] the theme is the song of the great tit Zizipe. 2nd movement: song, prayer, serenade. 3rd: hunt and in the Trio how a barrel-organ plays during the midday meal in the forest." - Bruckner to Paul Heyse (1880)
"In the first movement after a full night's sleep the day is announced by the horn, 2nd movement song, 3rd movement hunting trio, musical entertainment of the hunters in the wood." - Bruckner to conductor Hermann Levi (1884)
There are at least seven versions of this symphony. The 1874 version published by Leopold Nowak in 1975 was finished in November 1874. Although the full version was never performed during the composers lifetime, the Scherzo did get performed in 1909. It wasn't until 1975 that this 1874 version was perform in full by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The first commercial recording of the 1874 version was made in September 1982 by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eliahu Inbal (CD 2564 61371-2).
ANTON BRUCKNER: Symphony No.4 in E Flat Major ‘Romantic’ (Original Version 1874) - Bayerisches Staatsorchester/ Kent Nagano - Sony Classical
I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell
II. Andante, quasi Allegretto
III. Scherzo: Bewegt - Trio: Nicht zu schnell, keinesfalls schleppend
IV. Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell