When visiting the composer, Bruckner’s former teacher and lifelong friend Otto Kitzler advised him to get married due to his chaotic housekeeping. Appalled, the almost 50 year old musician replied that he had no time, and that he had to work on his Fourth. Because of the debacle at the world premiere of his Third Symphony, Anton Bruckner filed away at the follow-up symphony for a long time. The first version was created in 1874, the second version featuring a completely new Scherzo in 1878. Before its world premiere at the Vienna Musikverein in 1881, Bruckner once more revised the Finale. The result was triumphal. "Bruckner was called back four to five times after every movement. In a word: Bruckner was very well received, since last Sunday he ranks among our most important sound creators and has become a part of our common artistic property." wrote the Wiener Abendpost.
As was to be expected, Enoch zu Guttenberg once again presents an interesting, absolutely unique version of Bruckner’s phenomenal symphony. "I can merely conduct something that I really understand and that charges me emotionally." says the conductor.
With this work, Bruckner sets out on a romantic journey. It is essential to translate his descriptions into images and associations of high dimensionality and luminosity. Images of rays behind foggy mountains, the hunt, the nature and environment of men, and time and again the diminutiveness of these men before nature and hence, before God. We try to express these images by means of sounds, notes, phrasings, and timbres, and bring them to life in the heads of the audience.
With a high consistency, Bruckner develops and conjures these images from but one single central musical building block – the motif of the descending fifth – from the very first moment of the symphony to every single movement. We follow him from the sunrise into the night, from towering summits to the desperately begging choral, from the illusion of a happy liaison back to the mourning of a lonesome human being – always by means of a plastic phrasing and in search of descriptive timbres, which sometimes come surprisingly close to Gustav Mahler’s music, but also conjure up St John Passion, not only in the last movement.
In the symphony’s finale buildup, Bruckner returns with the question of the mortal man about the truth of God, possibly from the majestic nature into the majestic halls of a cathedral. Enoch zu Guttenberg poses this question at the place where this music sounded for the very first time: for him, the long journey of the search for Bruckner’s truth found its answer on April 26th 2007 in the magical halls of Vienna’s Musikverein.
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"[…] Enoch zu Guttenberg and the Orchester der KlangVerwaltung present a wonderfully supple and warm live performance on period instruments, with an enormous dynamic range that invites attentive listening on a high-end sound system, and with an exceedingly rich palette that makes the most of Bruckner's colorful scene painting and nostalgic evocation of the early Romantic era. … This is one gorgeous recording by any measure, and well worth hearing […]" www.allmusic.com, Blair Sanderson, 2008
"I can’t say that I would replace all of my other favorites with this one; certainly Bohm, Sawallisch, Masur, and Karajan have great things to say in this music. But Guttenberg, having taken the time to examine it from a deeper and more personal level does come up with a new and perspicacious reading that adds to our knowledge of this work and its recorded legacy. Bruckner fans will already be ordering it." Audiophile Audition, Steven Ritter, August 08, 2009
"… Rest assured that the playing is superb […] You need to listen to it, not least because Guttenberg and his musicians obviously love this music to its depths. To cap a fascinating release, the recorded sound is excellent […]" International Record Review, Colin Anderson, March 2009
"… It was courageous, like ‘stepping into the lions den’ to present, of all pieces, this masterpiece of romantic Austrian tone-architecture. The result, which is available for purchase on CD, shows that Guttenberg and his sound team don’t need to hide behind other recent interpreters of Bruckner’s work (such as "Wand und Celibidache"). […] Guttenberg presents a new emotion of Bruckner without taking steps which are too flashy, spectacular or earth shattering. He shows that interpretational renovation and perfection is above all is treasured, detailed work. […]" Frankfurter Rundschau, Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich, 08.02.08
"[…] Enoch zu Guttenberg’s interpretation gains a vividness and an enthralling flexibility in which every phrase receives a musical presentation. … a tonal realisation which renders every detail perfectly audible. A through and through romantic Bruckner, beguilingly rich in tonal colour. […]"
Interpretation: ***** (out of 5) klassik.com, Tobias Pfleger, 09.01.2008