La Sinfonia N° 8 di Bruckner è stata una delle più complete e profonde interpretazioni di Herbert von Karajan. La sua prima esecuzione di questa partitura monumentale si tenne nel 1937 ad Aachen, dove il direttore salisburghese era da due anni Generalmusikdirektor. Karajan diresse questo lavoro altre 62 volte nel corso della sua carriera, fino al febbraio 1989. Di quest’ ultima interpretazione, avvenuta alla Carnegie Hall nel corso di una tournée negli USA con i Wiener Philharmoniker, riporto la recensione del concerto apparsa sul New York Times.
Review/Music; Karajan Leads Vienna In Heroic Bruckner 8th
By JOHN ROCKWELL
Published: February 28, 1989
Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic are presenting two programs in their three-concert visit to Carnegie Hall. Saturday’s -to be repeated tonight – was an almost popsy affair devoted to Schubert’s ”Unfinished” Symphony and various confections of the Strauss waltz dynasty. But Sunday night, Mr. Karajan got serious, with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C minor, all 89 minutes of it in his statement of the Haas edition.
Bruckner’ s Eighth might itself seem almost a warhorse by now. It’ s one of Zubin Mehta’s favorites, and guest conductors program it frequently. Klaus Tennstedt played it with the Philadelphia Orchestra just last month, and others who have led it here in this decade include Giuseppe Sinopoli, Gunther Herbig, Daniel Barenboim and Eugen Jochum.
But Mr. Karajan owns this score; his interpretations of it stand on another level altogether, both in relation to other conductors and to his own work in other music. Whether in concert or on his several studio recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic or the Berlin Philharmonic, this is surely the way this symphony was meant to be heard.
Pale and frail as he is, Mr. Karajan seems to have lost nothing of his ability to control an orchestra and to encourage it to realize his intentions. This was the type of concert to tell your grandchildren about, and was greeted with deserved, fervent ovations.To say that any conductor ”owns” a score is of course hyperbole: it is possible to imagine others shaping it in different, perhaps even equally persuasive ways. In particular, Mr. Karajan’s image of the Scherzo has grown downright sleepy and sly over the years, underplaying the bucolic vigor and substituting a deft subtlety.
But unlike so many scores in which decades of reworking have drained the lifeblood from his interpretations, the Bruckner Eighth remains vital and soulful under his ministrations. Indeed, one can almost hear it as self-affirmation, the credo of an Austrian musician who responds to the craggy grandeur of his beloved Alps yet anticipates with grandiose, mystical fervor the heavenly raptures he fully expects will be his.
Even with an occasional blooper in massed brass chords, the Vienna orchestra’ s playing was magisterial -and with great playing, the ”new” Carnegie Hall acoustics sound pretty fine, except for a slightly pinched quality in fortissimo chords. On page after page of the score, remarkable felicities caressed the ear. Some of these were Mr. Karajan’s, as in the chamber-music delicacy of passages most other conductors hasten through on their way to the next climax. Others were the birthright of this ensemble, especially the creamy strings and mellow horns.
But gorgeous sound has long been a Karajan trademark. What distinguishes his Bruckner Eighth is the way he translates those sounds into profound musical meaning. Mr. Karajan is rightly considered one of the great conductors of this century, and that act of translation is what great conductors are supposed to do. He hasn’t always accomplished it in other repertory, especially in the last 20 years. But with this towering symphony, he proved he hasn’t entirely lost his touch.
Joseph Anton Bruckner (Ansfelden, 4 settembre 1824 — Vienna, 11 ottobre 1896)
Sinfonia N° 8 in do minore
Scherzo (Allegro moderato)
Adagio. Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell
Herbert von Karajan
St. Florian, Stiftsbasilika, 4 giugno 1979