Bernard Jacobson, of the Seattle Times, muses upon his Brucknerian experiences and Masur saves the world.
Who knew that one performance of a Bruckner Symphony could have altered history in such a profound way?
Masur is a master of the Austro-German classics
Wow. Kurt Masur, a German conductor, is a master of German music? Will wonders ever cease?
One of the most memorable moments in my lifetime's experience of Bruckner...
Does one really distinguish lifetime experiences of Bruckner from those of other Austro-German romantic composers?
...was of a soft brass chord in the Third Symphony. It shone like sunlight glinting on the surface of a calm sea.
Ah...the glorious Third Symphony. Sounds sublime.
The conductor was Kurt Masur.
You know what...I think the guest conductor for this concert is Kurt Masur. What a coincidence!
So it was exciting to learn that the great German maestro had chosen music by Bruckner,...
I'm pretty sure "exciting" is not the word I would choose, but to each his own...
...along with Mozart's 40th Symphony, for his long-awaited debut Thursday with the Seattle Symphony.
Excellent. On with the review.
Bruckner's Fourth has none of the wondrous rapt mysticism of his Seventh,...
Well, I have two problems here. First, what the fuck? What a completely random comment. Did you not just get through with a personal anecdote about the Third Symphony? What. The. Fuck.
Second, where do you get off not using the word "symphony" in this sentence? Fourth what?
I'm sure we all know what you mean, but less is hardly more when referencing specific pieces of music.
...the other most popular of his symphonies. It is all nature poetry, and this was a supremely natural performance,...
Well, this would seem to be an obvious sentiment, except, despite having the same root word, "nature" and "natural" aren't really referring to the same thing. Are they Mr. Jacobson?
I assume that by "nature" you mean "the natural world as it exists without humans", and by "natural" you mean "free from affectation" and not so much "formed by nature". Yes?
...and this was a supremely natural performance, to such a point that Masur had no truck...
Masur didn't have a truck*?! How else could one traverse "nature" without the 6.1L, 425 horsepower, high octane, 4.06 inch Bore, 90.9 mm Stroke Hemi Engine inside the indestructible Dodge Ram?!
So...no truck. Not even a truck-like car?
...with the rather mannered little hesitations that Bruckner wrote into the bucolic horn calls of the scherzo, propelling them instead with exhilarating directness.
So, are they playing the Fourth or the Seventh? I suppose there's an off chance they're performing the Third? I guess it doesn't really matter.
The rest of the article is perfectly cromulent. The performance was recounted with descriptors such as "crisp" and "sonorous". There were "stretches of gorgeously saturated string tone" -- tones? -- and "high artistry". Clearly he must have been speaking about the Bruckner Fourth, for the Seventh just doesn't feature any of these things.
However, reading further I did stumble across one of my favorite features of music criticism, the random and mostly pointless quotation. After lengthy gushing over the performance of the Bruckner, Jacobson went on to add the following:
As a member of the Chicago Symphony commented years ago after we had both heard a Mahler symphony played by Masur with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, "It just went to prove that you don't always have to play everything as loudly as possible."
Okay. I disagree, because loud equals awesome! But, regardless, I have an issue here.
There are six major subjects of importance in this sentence:
Member of Chicago Symphony
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Point of Contention That Needs Proving to the Contrary
Don't Have to Play Loudly
Now based on the article that has preceded so far we have established subjects like:
Bruckner Third Symphony, Good Times
Bruckner Fourth not the Seventh
Kurt Masur is German
Something About Nature
Masur Doesn't Have a Truck
Using my awesome powers of compare and contrast, it would seem that there are only...(counts on fingers)... is only 1 subject in common. Fuck. That would make your random quotation, well...random. Don't do that.
Okay. Still not a bad article. Let's see how it ends. Tie it all together for us, Jacobson.
Perhaps the most spectacular thing about this Fourth was that there was nothing spectacular about it.
I love sentences that say nothing. Well done, sir. Plus, way to continue not being specific about the composition titles. Love it.
Paced without a trace of affectation, it was simply human and warmly spiritual.
Ah, there you go again using the definition of the word "natural"...that's nice the way you brought it back for us, for a bit of symmetry.
These are qualities that almost define Bruckner,...
You might say the Bruckner was Brucknerian? Yes?
...and it was no surprise to find them in the work of a conductor...
Composer. Bruckner was a composer.
...whose moral authority...
...helped materially to prevent the collapse of the East German regime in 1989 from turning violent.
Masur did what now?
He was widely regarded at the time as a potential first president for the reunited Germany,...
Being the history buff that I am, I would elaborate that this was because of the immense popularity of Masur's proletarian policies that he was able to facilitate a peaceful dismantling of the East German government. Little did everyone know that Masur secretly planned not to return the executive power to the people, but instead to seize control and use his position to build a Utopian society where Austro-German composers are valued above all else. It all seemed so promising and harmless at the time.
...but decided he wanted a more challenging job, and became music director of the New York Philharmonic instead.
Oh, right. That never happened.
So, to recap:
Bernard Jacobson likes Bruckner 3, but Bruckner 4 is not Bruckner 7. Bruckner 4 is based on "nature" which inspires "natural" performances of which Masur is a master (because he's German), despite not having a truck. The orchestra played Bruckner with "saturated string tone" which goes to show you that you don't have to play loudly. Also, the Bruckner wasn't spectacular (in a good way), but it was "natural" (because Masur made it natural, because, Bruckner wrote it "naturally", because, as I can only assume, that they're both German) and that's why East Germany collapsed non-violently.
* Yes, I realize that truck also means "dealings" in informal conversation. It's a joke people.