With the exception of the Fourth Symphony, Gunter Wand's Berlin Bruckner remakes have not surpassed their NDR predecessors. The reason isn't hard to fathom: NDR is the better of the two orchestras in this music at present, and the evidence is right there on the discs themselves. During his tenure as music director, Claudio Abbado has replaced approximately two-thirds of the Philharmonic's personnel, and however fine these newcomers may be individually, as an ensemble the Berlin Philharmonic is a young group that has not yet found its corporate voice. Contrast this to Wand's years of work at NDR almost exclusively in the Brahms/Bruckner/Beethoven core German repertoire, and it should come as no surprise that his earlier efforts supercede a one-off guest gig in Berlin, however much rehearsal time he might have had. Still, this being Wand and Bruckner, the results are bound to be at least good, so when reading the following comments please insert the adverb "comparatively" before every descriptive adjective.
These are the main ingredients of a perfectly-made CD for your listening pleasure: mix violins, piano, bass and drums together, combine two terrific violinists, season with the best melodies in the 20s, 30s and 40s from Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart. Add the musical talents of Nelson Riddle, Max Harris, Martin Taylor, Eddie Tripp, Alan Clare and the rest of the studio musicians. Now all you have to do is to sit back, relax and savor these stunning melodies coming from your CD player. Listen to it in full-volume and fill your music room with the sheer beauty of these classics. A musical treat!