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John F. Berky
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November, 2014: Symphony No. 7 / Hans Rosbaud / SW German Radio Symphony Orchestra

November, 2014: Symphony No. 7 / Hans Rosbaud / SW German Radio Symphony Orchestra
While most recordings have a fairly straightforward release history, others, because of numerous licensing agreements, can have a torturous one. There is no better example of this than the Hans Rosbaud recording of the Bruckner Symphony No. 7 with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Between 1955 and 1962, Hans Rosbaud (1895-1962) made a series of Bruckner Symphony recordings with SW German Radio Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his death in December of 1962 he had recorded Symphonies 2-9. All of the recordings (made for radio broadcast) were recorded in monaural with the exception of the Symphony No. 7 which was recorded in stereo for possible commercial release. One of the first commercial appearances of the recording was on a Tandberg open reel tape in their series of "Stereo Tapes for the Perfectionist." It was also released on a Vox LP.

But over time, things got confusing. The recording has since shown up on a variety of labels (Andromeda / Parnass / Tuxedo / Turnabout / Membran / Quadromania / Concert Royale / Designo / Eurodisc / ZYX, etc.) and the quality has varied considerably. Some, like the Turnabout LP have provided the recording as "electronically enhanced for stereo" even though the original was recorded in stereo. That particular LP is even more baffling since some of the movements sound like real stereo while others are poor examples of "electronic stereo" processing. In a 4 CD Designo set, the "enhancements" are so bad that they qualified for my "Discographic Horrors" Section.

However, one label (ZYX out of Germany) seems to have put their hands on a good stereo copy and released it in their now out-of-print GOLD series. The label also states "Dolby Surround" but none of that is evident in the recording.

Over the years, many Bruckner collectors have owned this recording in one form or another, but here is the best recording available so far.


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