Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and the 1887 version of the Symphony No. 8

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The JVC CD Back Cover - Click to Enlarge
In the 1980's, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky embarked on a Bruckner cycle with Melodiya that encompassed every version of the Bruckner Symphonies. It included the "Linz" and "Vienna" versions of the Symphony No. 1, three versions plus the "Second Adagio" of the Symphony No. 3, the two versions of the Symphony No. 4 plus the "Volkfest Finale" and the Mahler orchestration. The cycle included the F Minor and D Minor Symphonies and the early Samale/Mazzuca completion of the finale to the Symphony No. 9. The cycle did not include the 1872 version of the Symphony No. 2 nor the 1888 version of the Symphony No. 4 since they were not yet published.

However, this Melodiya cycle omitted the 1887 first version to the Symphony No. 8. The reason for this major omission is not known.

According to Olga Rusanova of Radio Mayak in Moscow, Maestro Rozhdestvensky recently conducted the 1887 version on March 10th of 2009 with the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra in Moscow.

Recent communication with Maestro Rozhdestvensky has also revealed a startling fact. He states that in February of 1988 he recorded a performance of the 1887 edition in Moscow for JVC of Japan. However, inspection of the CD that JVC released in 1990 (VICC 40012-13) shows that it is, in fact, the 1985 Melodiya recording of the 1887/90 Haas edition (See picture above)... So, if JVC actually recorded the 1887 version with Rozhdestvensky in 1988, the recording has never been released!!

It will be interesting to see if we can get the maestro to set his sites on the recently published 1872 version of the Symphony No. 2 released by the MWV in an edition prepared by William Carragan and the 1888 Bruckner Fourth as edited by Benjamin Korstvedt. Maestro Rozhdestvensky has expressed interest in these scores and copies have been sent to him.

Rozhdestvensky's recorded cycle (without the 1887 B8) is still the most complete cycle to date. It was originally released on Melodiya LPs although no "boxed set" was ever released. It was later released on the Venezia label in a two volume boxed CD set. It was also released in Japan bu BMG. All sets are now out-of-print.