Now incorporating themes from Symphony 8 as well, this is the first edition of the Samale-Mazzuca-Phillips-Cohrs Finale that sounds entirely like Bruckner from beginning to end, with many of the new linking passages subtly revised to be brought more fully within the composer’s idiom. Wildner’s hand on the orchestral tiller is very secure, the orchestra is disciplined, the sound very natural. Wildner has great control or orchestral ensemble and dynamics. This is a great first choice of completed version, following a full digestion of Harnoncourt’s presentation of the fragments alone
An inexpensive introduction to Delius’ special world and will hopefully lead to further exploration. Naxos has launched a series of Best Of CDs, all drawn from their extensive catalog. This is just one example, but I can’t think of another composer whose music I would enjoy more in such a setting. Some of the English composers’ biggest hits are here, but I also discovered a couple with which I was unfamiliar. The opening track would almost have to be his idyllic picture of an English Spring—On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. Two other totally evocative short works—Summer Night on the River and The Walk to the Paradise Garden—are also in the program. Delius’ music has been criticized for not developing anything or going anywhere—just painting dreamy environments. Well, I for one love it exactly for that. This well-packed disc is an inexpensive introduction to Delius’ special world and will hopefully lead to further exploration. And the sonics are better than on some of the classic Delius recordings, such as Sir Thomas Beecham’s.