Bruckner & Wagner on Deutsche Grammophon with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Andris Nelsons’ latest Deutsche Grammophon release, featuring Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3 and Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, is now available for purchase via Amazon or iTunes. The album was recorded live in concert from Leipzig, and is the first installment in a multi-album Bruckner series on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

“Andris Nelsons’ reading of Bruckner’s Third Symphony is truly compelling. He develops a genuine feeling for the music, caring for details, nuances and a very good balance. The four movements flow evenly so that the symphony is well held together. But above all, we notice over the entire work a feeling of the conductor’s admiration for this music, a feeling that inspired him and that he generously shares with the orchestra and the listener.”

-Pizzicato (Luxembourg)

“Andris Nelsons conducted with keen focus and vigor, eliciting tonal beauty, technical precision and obvious engagement from the orchestra.”

–The Wall Street Journal

“…Nelsons has a sense of architecture… His changes of pace felt idiomatic, always part of the larger picture, and he gets the obsessive, uncertain and unresolved nature of Bruckner’s writing.”

–The Guardian

Press Release:

Grammy award winning conductor Andris Nelsons conducts the legendary Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in the first installment of their series of the complete symphonies of Anton Bruckner. Bruckner Symphony No. 3 and Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture are included on this album, set for release in May on DG.

Andris Nelsons’ exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording contract has already yielded two Grammy awards for his series with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Under Stalin’s Shadow – The Complete Shostakovich Symphonies. Since that series’ inception, he has commenced recording projects with two other major orchestras with whom he has a relationship: the Gewandhausorchester where he takes over as the Gewandhauskapellmeister in 2017-2018, and the Wiener Philharmoniker with whom he will record a complete Beethoven cycle.

The pairing of Bruckner and Wagner is no coincidence: Bruckner’s Third Symphony is often nicknamed the “Wagner” Symphony, and includes quotations from his operas.

Bruckner in fact presented Wagner his Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3, and asked which he preferred to be dedicated to him. Wagner chose the D minor work that opens with a trumpet theme, Symphony No. 3, and his nickname for Bruckner became “Bruckner the trumpet.”

Unfortunately the symphony’s premiere in 1877 proved the biggest disaster of Bruckner’s career. The orchestra disliked it, Bruckner’s conducting was ridiculed, and much of the audience at Vienna’s Musikverein walked out and the critics tore it to shreds. Bruckner was so upset that he stopped composing for nearly a year. Subsequently he revised the work extensively. Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig have recorded the third and final version, dating from 1889.

Nelsons says of the work, “Bruckner experienced the same existential questions and doubts as all people do – and that makes his music particularly relevant to us today. His faith and inner power are strongly reflected in his music.”

Both Bruckner and Wagner had strong connections to the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 had its world premiere with the orchestra, which was Bruckner’s first resounding success. Wagner in turn was born in Leipzig and spent his formative years witnessing major works premiered by the orchestra.

Nelsons says of the orchestra, “The Gewandhausorchester Leipzig is one of the world’s oldest orchestras, possessing a strong and special historical development with its connections to Bach and its Bruckner tradition. It is one of the best orchestras in the world, yet has such modesty, displaying a great understanding of the immense spirituality within Bruckner’s works.”

Andris Nelsons is an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist. In 2015 he released the first installment of his Shostakovich cycle, Under Stalin’s Shadow, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. It won a Grammy and a Gramophone Award. In 2017 another Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance was awarded for the second release in their Shostakovich series, with Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 and 9.

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