Bruckner: Symphony No 5 in B flat major (Nowak Edition, 1878)

Reviewed on Mon 11 Jul, 2016

The veteran Stanisław Skrowaczewski presides over compellingly lucid performance ... and the orchestral playing is pingingly good given the live provenance. A very happy occasion, deservedly cheered to the rafters.

Here is a compellingly lucid performance of a massive, and tuneful, symphony by Bruckner. The disc is well-filled at nearly 80 minutes, and the orchestral playing is pingingly good given the live provenance. The audience, too, is well behaved throughout. Tuneful? Try the long-breathed second subject of the second movement (track 2, from 2'19”); it's one of the greatest melodies I know and the kind of thing Bruckner can do so well. Like much of the performance, the tune is moulded with a delicate pliancy of tempo. That's where the veteran Stanisław Skrowaczewski is most like the legendary Wilhelm Furtwängler. Otherwise, he is clearer, straighter, albeit with slightly less personality. Some will find that gives more weight to the composer. The Polish maestro is also good on the humour and pathos to be found in the third movement scherzo. A very happy occasion, in sum, deservedly cheered to the rafters, and most faithfully captured by the sound engineers.
–Ivor Solomons