November 22, 2008
The second movement of the Bruckner was my favorite. You hear the raw power of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra strings, each member acting in unison, pushing the romantic uplifting theme, reverberating deep into my body and soul. In person it is worlds apart from a recording. The violas get to shine. As they play with alacrity and potency, their theme is counter-posed by the rest of the strings preforming pizzicato. Interesting how only 12 viola players can put forth so much volume, when compared to perhaps 26 violins and the rest of the strings, not to mention the obvious fact that violas are facing away from the audience, yet it sounded wonderful, even to my ears, being seated in the very last row of the gallery, a testament to the acoustics at Heinz Hall.
Take a look at another performance of the same movement:
The third movement is more famous, it's been played countless times on WQED, I recognized it right away. It is one of those pieces of music that literally send goose bumps along one's body. The dynamic range of this symphony is amazing (as is the duration).