The 2009 Brucknerathon: A Report

click to expand
Click to enlarge
It can now be reported that the 1st East Coast Brucknerathon was a great success. While the actual event took place on the East Coast, the participants made it international in scope. Ken Ward, the editor of the Bruckner Journal joined us from London and only a last minute business commitment prevented Massimiliano Wax from attending from the Dominican Republic. Other attendees hailed from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas.

Early arrivals met at the home of John Berky in Windsor where a spirited discussion continued until it was time to join other attendees at an area restaurant. While at his home, John played the L'Archibudelli CD with the Bruckner String Quintet, Quartet and Intermezzo. Although it was playing quietly in the background, the group could now claim to have listened to the instrumental music as well. Eighteen people met for dinner at a restaurant in Windsor Locks. There we enjoyed a good meal, engaged in more individual discussions and toasted Bruckner on the occasion of his 185th birthday. Specially designed tee-shirts sporting the 2009 Brucknerathon logo were handed out.

Events began early on the 5th (even earlier for John, and hosts Ken and Ruth Jacobson). Attendees began arriving at the Jacobson home just prior to the 8AM kickoff. Our ambitious plan was to listen to all eleven symphonies in one day. With coffee, bagels and home-made breakfast breads in hand, we began our journey. Our playlist was as follows:

1) Symphony in F Minor Dong-Ho Lee / JeJu Philharmonic (Korea)
2) Symphony No. 1 (1866) Georg Tintner / Scottish National Orchestra
3) Symphony in D Minor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky / USSR Ministry of Culture Orchestra
4) Symphony No. 2 (1872) Herbert Blomstedt / Montreal Symphony Orchestra
5) Symphony No. 3 (1874) Akira Naito / Tokyo New City Orchestra
6) Symphony No. 4 Giuseppe Sinopoli / Philharmonia Orchestra (DVD)
7) Symphony No. 5 Heinz Roegner / Berlin Symphony Orchestra
8) Symphony No. 6 (Hynais) Ira Levin / Norrlands Opera Orchestra
9) Symphony No. 7 Eugen Jochum / Concertgebouw Orchestra (DVD)
10) Symphony No. 8 Takashi Asahina / Osaka Philharmonic (DVD)
11) Symphony No. 9 Fabio Luisi / Dresden Staatskapelle (SACD)
12) Symphony No. 9 (Carragan Finale completion) Naito / Tokyo N.C.O.

A rationale for the selections can be found here.

Original plans were to play a performance of the Symphony No. 4 in the Korstvedt edition. However, Ben Korstvedt was unable to attend due to an illness in his family so we decided to defer this performance for a future event. William Carragan provided a synopsis of his editions of the Symphonies No. 1, 2, 3, and the finale of the 9th. This was a timed synopsis where listeners could reference Bill's notes to a synchronized stopwatch. Courtesy of Ken Ward, Bruckner cloisonne pins were handed out to participants.

Sandwiches and salads were offered for lunch and cookies and sweets were brought out in mid-afternoon to rejuvenate the stalwart listeners. Beer was plentiful in many varieties. Dinner consisted of Italian food, salads, garlic bread, beer and wine and desserts including a sheet cake sporting the 2009 Brucknerathon logo.

According to the official clock, the last notes of the Bruckneraton ended at 10:40PM. We were very fortunate to have access to the Jacobson's spacious living room, Ken's extraordinary audio system and his overhead video projector for our DVD presentations. Perhaps it was this setting that provided listeners with a desire to stay focused on the music. There were few side conversations and only a few minutes of discussion between works. Except for the brief breaks for lunch and dinner, most participants quietly focused in on the remarkable music.

While a few people came and went during the session, the majority were in attendance for the entire 14 hours of music. All told, 21 people were in attendance. Four registrants were unable to attend due to last minute commitments.

All involved felt that the event was a complete success. There were immediate calls of a 2nd annual event. Discussions will begin soon to see if such an encore performance can be mounted again next year.

Brucknerathon tee-shirts are available in the website store

An Evaluation by Sol Siegel
Brucknerathon Photo Gallery
Brucknerathon Photo Gallery
Local Newspaper Report
Local Newspaper Report