02_bruckner_8_nezet-seguinBruckner - Symphony No.8

Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montreal; Yannick Nézet-Séguin

ATMA ACD2 2513

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is a young, very talented French Canadian conductor from Montreal, student of the great Giulini, who in a short few years has had a meteoric rise: first as Gergiev’s appointed successor for the Rotterdam Philharmonic and now as Chef d’Orchestre for the prestigious Philadelphia Orchestra. Last fall he was invited to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic and with rousing success.

The Canadian recording company ATMA Classique has been lucky to snap him up and made several recordings with him, all given high esteem and international prizes. One of these is Bruckner’s immense 8th Symphony, a formidable task for even the most experienced conductor, and the result is spectacular.

“Bruckner is all about space” says the artist and the recording makes us feel it with its reverberant church acoustics. Nowhere have I heard the ending, where Bruckner’s gods make their triumphant entry to Walhalla, so full, so uplifting, and all bells ringing, like the whole universe coming together. “No, it’s not an end,” says the conductor, “but heralds a beginning of a new era” perhaps unintentionally paraphrasing Winston Churchill. There are many exquisite moments, like the pp fleeting rush of strings that introduce the scherzo theme, a theme that’s repeated endlessly, never twice the same, in a steady crescendo. Or the prayer-like, hushed Adagio, one of the most intensely beautiful selections of music ever written that builds over 23 minutes to an earth shattering ff climax.

A triumphant recording. Best yet in his Bruckner cycle.

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