Best Sounding Bruckner Recordings

There is a Mahler for Audiophiles thread here, but I am not sure if there is one for Bruckner.  IMO these are the two Composers that benefit the most from high quality sound.  Both Composers relied extensively upon spatial effects.  Bruckner, with his Organist background, was conscious of reverberation effects, and tended to treat the entire Orchestra as one vast Organ.  Mahler had many spatial effects built into his Symphonies.
  I listen to many historical recordings, but I find that these two composers suffer the most when sonically compromised.  I have no problem enjoying a Toscanini Beethoven Symphony, as the majesty of the music and the playing overcome sonic limitations.  However, listening to the Horenstein Bruckner Seventh from 1927 is a real trial.  Even the best restorations make it sound like it was recorded in a phone booth, and the towering beauty of the piece is missing.
  Now, with Bruckner, we have the problem of all of those multiple editions.  I am going to confess straight out that I have no expertise here .  And given that this is an audiophile site, I will concede readily that the best sounding Bruckner recordings may not necessarily be the ultimate in recorded performance.  However, I am looking for comments about great sounding Bruckner recordings that are also good performances 

Showing 1 response by gs5556

My initial recommendations would be:

Symphony No. 9: Honeck, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Reference Recordings). This is a very good performance in excellent sound. Not only that, but in the liner notes Honeck breaks down the score bar by bar with the time stamp and explains what he's asking the orchestra to do and why. His Symphony No. 4 is also good in terms of performance with the same excellent sound and detailed liner notes.

Symphony No. 8: Boulez, Wiener Philharmoniker (DG): Great performance in excellent sound.

Symphony No. 7: Runnicles, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Hyperion): This is IMO the best tempo along with an excellent performance and sound. The opening cello sequence is unsurpassed.

Symphony No. 6: Sawallisch, Bayerisches Staatsorchester (Orfeo Digital): Excellent performance -- the drive of the music is perfect. Sound is good, not spectacular, but good as the sheer dynamics of the music more than makes up for it.

Symphony No. 5: Bolton, Mozarteum Orchester (Oehms Classics): Great performance, great sound

Symphony No. 4: Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker (DG; 9-20-2004 release): Simply outstanding and powerful.

Symphony No. 3: Nelsons, Gewandhausorchester (DG): Excellent performance, even better sonics.

Symphony No.2: Not impressed with the lot but the chamber version by Trevor Pinnock (Linn Records) has excellent sonics -- and the performance is very good.

Symphony No. 1: Barenboim, Berlin Philharmonic (DG box set). 

There are many many others that I like...