BRUCKNER Symphony No. 7 / Barenboim 4790320

His energy, evangelism and voracious appetite for music never cease to amaze.

Daniel Barenboim basks in the organlike sonorities of the composer's Seventh Symphony with the superb Staatskapelle Berlin. He leads in a spacious, elastic performance that unfolds in a series of long lines and seamless transitions. With loving attention to detail, the sojourn reveals the humanity of Bruckner's vision.

. . . [Daniel Barenboim is] the most inspiring . . . of interpretative geniuses. In Bruckner, whole paragraphs pass that are sublimely beautiful, with well-shaped phrases, effortless transitions, near-ideal tempi and climaxes that peak at exactly the right moment . . . the performance is magical and the tender, warmly cosseting string sound of the Staatskapelle Berlin is of truly vintage quality . . . most of the first movement enjoys a palpable tonal glow, with passages of great delicacy for contrast . . . the slow movement's first variation could hardly be lovelier: the ebb and flow of the phrasing, its flexibility and sense of movement, the way inner voices are coaxed to the fore, these and other details make for a remarkably beautiful effect . . . this is an emotionally generous, spontaneous and outstandingly communicative account of the Seventh, I' d say the best that Barenboim has yet given us.

This Bruckner Seventh is quite simply the most beautiful, organic and fluid I have ever heard, a Wagnerian journey in seamless melody so intuitively warm as to make one pander anew the human meaning of Bruckner . . . [on the Staatskapelle Berlin]: There is a golden old-world quality . . . For that reason, hearing it perform in the Philharmonie is a revelation. The brass is [heavy] but never blares. The strings, even more than Karajan's -- and certainly more than Rattle's -- seem to come out of nowhere, float the listener on his way, and disappear to nowhere. But they carry Berlin-worthy weight. And the violas and celli perform natural feats of portamento Karajan would never have dared. This is the most swivelly/swervy string playing I have ever heard ... anywhere. I doubt the strings in Furtwängler's day sounded more authentic than this . . . The moments of unanticipated interest and sweetness are everywhere . . . simply the best string playing I have ever heard . . . The depths now revealed in his conducting are profound and reflect learning how to keep audiences interested through long Wagnerian spans. Indeed, I'd venture no one understands German music better than this Argentine/Israeli. Anyone who wonders what Wagner tubas should sound like need only listen to the glowing wind-down of the slow movement here. Molten gold seems to pour over the lip of time.

The Staatskapelle plays well shaped, broad Bruckner for their conductor, with a sure sense for drama (including the triangle-climax) . . . The sound is good, too . . .

Keiner vermag den legendären altdeutschen Orchesterklang derart überzeugend zu konservieren wie der argentinisch-israelische Dirigent Daniel Barenboim . . . [Wie seine Staatskapelle Berlin die "Siebte Symphonie E-Dur" von Anton Bruckner] zelebriert, ist
schlicht überwältigend. Vom innigen Solo bis zum gewaltigen, Wagner hörbar nahestehenden Rausch wird die Musik nicht gespielt, sondern sie entsteht, fließt und leuchtet.

. . . [Daniel Barenboim interpretiert] Bruckners Drama als geschmeidig fließendes, psychologisch vertieftes Musikdrama. Jede Wiederholung wie jeder Bruch gewinnen ihren Sinn aus dem unmittelbaren Geschehen heraus. Barenboims feines Sensorium für die Klangwelt Wagners sind dabei unüberhörbar.

. . . [l'orchestre reflète] l'osmose avec son chef, sensible dans la grande souplesse des phrasés et le fondu sonore auquel ils parviennent ensemble . . . Les mouvements extrêmes attestent une rare perfection de galbe et de chant, en particulier le difficile finale trop souvent expédié par les chefs: il s'écoule ici avec un lyrisme pastoral parfaitement convaincant . . . [Barenboim] apparaît ici au meilleur de son répertoire et de ses qualités d'interprète. Sa gravure chaleureuse vient se placer parmi les meilleures de la discographie, pourtant considérable, de cette symphonie.