I’ve been on a bit of a Bruckner 8 kick recently. I’ve had the score for a while now, and since today is the last day of vacation for me, and considering the sheer amount of time it takes to listen to a Bruckner symphony, I decided to sit down and listen to/watch the whole thing. The coolest thing, by far, is the fact that the church they’re playing in is the church where Bruckner was an organist, and oh yeah, he is also buried there in the crypt. So Bruckner himself was in attendance, kind of.
The performance is great, it’s the Vienna Phil and Von Karajan. But I, however, am not so much a fan of the conducting. The interpretation is superb, but man, Herbert’s eyes were closed for the whole piece it seemed. A lot of his gestures were, at least to me, hard to follow. There were a bunch of times where Karajan’s arms seemed to lock up, and his motions were very jagged (I can’t think of a better word). And also he, at a few points, had a limp hand thing going on. All of these things, I was told not to do as a conductor. But hey, he’s famous and I’m not, so I can’t really say anything.
One more thing to look for: the great camera work. I thought it was great, it was very dramatic, which fits the music quite well. Also the poor lighting gave a very cool look to everything, especially Karajan; his face half in shadows. That’s some cool stuff.
In conclusion: I think Bruckner would approve.