Stanisław Skrowaczewski is one of the grand seigneurs of Bruckner interpretation, and has received prestigious awards for his recordings of the symphonies. In this concert from 2011, he performs Bruckner’s Third Symphony.
The Third Symphony is the first where Bruckner’s unmistakable musical language fully blossoms. The work also demonstrates his special relationship to Wagner. Bruckner visited Wagner in September 1873, offering to dedicate either his Second or Third Symphony to him. It turned out to be a very convivial meeting and the beer flowed freely. So much so that on his return home, Bruckner realised to his horror that he could not remember which of the symphonies the master had chosen. An exchange of letters clarified the situation: Wagner had chosen the Third, something which was no great surprise, as Bruckner had incorporated diverse Wagner quotes in the work. Bruckner continued to revise the piece over the next sixteen years, eliminating all echoes of his role model by the final version. By then, he no longer needed Wagner as his reference – he knew what he himself was capable of.
The concert opens with Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s poignant and declamatory Gesangsszene for baritone, based on a text by Jean Giraudoux. The work, which moves between opera and symphony, vividly portrays a world doomed to destruction in spite of, or even because of, its ingenuity and its ambition. The soloist, a regular guest of the Berliner Philharmoniker, is Matthias Goerne, a singer who brings with him the necessary vocal and dramatic skills required for the scene.