Anton Bruckner: Symphony No 8 - Stanisław Skrowaczewski

Anton Bruckner: Symphony No 8 - Stanisław Skrowaczewski

650 2307-2 (MDG, CD, 2 discs)

FIRST RELEASE (16 February 2024)

Playing time: 32'29"/50'44" - TT 83'13"
Tracks: 2 + 2
Booklet pages: 24
℗ 2024 Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm, licenced by Nippon Columbia Co Ltd
© 2024 Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm
Main country of recording: Japan
Country of manufacture: Germany
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Anton Bruckner: Symphony No 8 - Stanisław Skrowaczewski published on 14 February 2024

Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra
Stanisław Skrowaczewski, conductor

Anton Bruckner:

Symphony No 8 in C minor (1884-1892)


1 Allegro moderato
2 Scherzo. Allegro moderato


1 Adagio. Feierlich langsam, doch nicht schleppend
2 Finale. Feierlich, nicht schnell

To mark the one hundredth birthday of legendary conductor Stanisław Skrowaczewski, MDG has released a live recording of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in co-operation with Denon, in Bruckner's bicentenary year. With a career spanning eight decades, the ninety-three-year-old conductor moulds Bruckner's last completed symphony into a moving legacy: the crowning achievement of a life's work. Born in Lviv, Poland (now part of Ukraine) in 1923, Skrowaczewski began violin and piano lessons at the age of four, and he composed his first symphony by age eight. At eleven, he made his debut as a pianist and at thirteen conducted and was soloist in Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto. This career ended when, in a World War II air raid, he suffered two broken hands and was left with nerve damage. He then turned to composing and conducting. Bruckner's music had transfixed him since he was a boy. Anton Bruckner did not have it easy as a composer. Appointed late in life and plagued by constant self-doubt, he often reworked his compositions several times. Neither was he initially well-received by the public: the premiere of his Seventh Symphony turned into a veritable scandal after the audience left the hall in droves. However, his Eighth was a triumphant success: the audience applauded enthusiastically after every movement and the composer was praised as 'a giant', 'a poet' 'a great genius' by the likes of Hugo Wolf, Hans Richter and Johannes Brahms. In the restrained, introspective coda of the first movement, the music softly fades away, in keeping with the opening of the work. Bruckner described it as a 'Totenuhr' (death knell): 'It's as if you are lying on your death-bed and there is a clock hanging on the wall opposite and inexorably ticking away the seconds while your life slowly ebbs away: tick, tock, tick, tock ...' Bruckner passed away before he could complete his Ninth Symphony, making the Eighth, the longest symphony he had ever written, his magnum opus.

Recorded live on 21 January 2016 at Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Japan.