"Bruckner's Eighth Symphony is the zenith of symphonic writing." (Sergiu Celibidache)
I didn't think anything was going to get to me here for a long time after nearly being destroyed by Messiaen's Saint Francois d'Assise in Amerstdam three weeks ago. There are few things that can stand up to a 5 1/2 hour opera of some of the grandest, most complex music ever composed.
I forgot about Bruckner.
The New York Philharmonic is closing out their regular season in style this weekend with back-to-back performances of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony: a titanic, 90-minute work of cosmic proportions. It is the kind of music that lives in your memory not as individual phrases but as an epic journey, from which you emerge transformed. Kind of like surviving an earthquake.
Sitting in the 4th row center, watching Lorin Maazel conduct from memory, was like standing on a cliff watching the sun come up over the ocean on a crisp, clear day, wind in your face. I was completely engrossed from start to finish. The Philharmonic rocked the house.
If you missed tonight's concert, do yourself a favor and beg, borrow or steal your way in tomorrow. And, sit up close.