Monday, September 26, 2011

Postminimalism Playlist, After Kyle Gann's Discography

A few weeks ago, like every other card-carrying philistine, I thought Minimalism Music meant Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Adams, In C, and La Monte Young. I knew a few other composers whose works obviously drew from minimalism, but I didn't know how to categorize them, since they often sound vastly different from each other.

Then I stumbled upon a blog post on Modern Tempo, and discovered William Duckworth's The Time Curve Preludes. Upon first hearing I was totally enchanted by its "Mozartean melodic logic" (I also noticed that Coldplay "borrowed" the grand melody of 12th prelude for their 'Til Kingdom Come). I rushed to Wikipedia and read everything I could find. It turned out there's a genre that I never heard of: Postminimalism.

Kyle Gann
"Writer Kyle Gann has employed the term more strictly to connote the style that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s and characterized by:
  1. a steady pulse, usually continuing throughout a work or movement;
  2. a diatonic pitch language, tonal in effect but avoiding traditional functional tonality;
  3. general evenness of dynamics, without strong climaxes or nuanced emotionalism; and
  4. unlike minimalism, an avoidance of obvious or linear formal design."
The last history book on contemporary music I've read, Richard Taruskin's Music in the Late Twentieth Century, doesn't even mention this term or any of its key composers, so I guess many people are not familiar with this genre. I recommend everyone, especially those who hate or feel indifferent to minimalism, to read Kyle Gann's fascinating essays Minimal Music, Maximal Impact and A Forest from the Seeds of Minimalism. Thanks to Spotify, I listened to many of the postminimalism recordings he listed, and I compiled a sampler playlist, one track per composer, for those of you who want to explore this genre.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Postminimalism (26 track, total time: 3 hours) See track list below, composers and works are linked to official sites, Wikipedia or other informative pages. Personally I found it a thoroughly enjoyable playlist that deserves and benefits from intense repeated listens (I can only take Music For 18 Musicians once a month. Einstein On The Beach? Once a year if you mean the whole opera...), hope you like it as well, and look forward to recommendations.
P.S. My experience with postminimalism music is another example of the power of cloud services. Before Spotify, if I read about The Time Curve Preludes, I could only hear 30-seconds previews on Amazon; if I heard it on the radio (not possible where I live) and was convinced I should explore this genre, since I couldn't afford Kyle Gann's whole discography, I probably would start a discussion on Amazon's classical forum, then after hours of head-scratching I'd end up buying a couple of albums the most participators recommended.

With Spotify, now I can listen to anything that arouses my curiosity, anything I wouldn't normally buy, immediately, and even recommend to a few people who otherwise won't listen to it either. At the cost of a few imaginary CD sales, Spotify introduces this music to at least dozens (average subscribers number of my contemporary playlists) of paying listeners, and maybe even motivates a few of them to buy recordings of these composers, or go to the concert when a postminimalism pianist is in town. To me this explains Why Classical Music Needs Spotify.

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Spotify's Latest Statement On Sound Quality & Bitrate

    The statement below was sent to me by the Spotify team yesterday. As for now I have not seen the statement published elsewhere. I am not in any way related to Spotify the company. For more information, please see this official page or contact people on this list.
    All music streamed through Spotify is of high quality (no less than 96 kbps for mobile and 160 kbps for desktop). We have a catalog of more than 15 million tracks and more than 99.9% are available in high bitrate (320 kbps) for our Premium users. Our catalog adds an average of 10,000 new tracks daily and we add the newly added tracks as quickly as possible.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Spotify Added Classical Radio

     ...or rather, easy listening and soundtracks radio.

    Spotify tweaked its Radio feature in the last update, removed options for "50s and earlier", (what if I only want to hear 40s bebop or 50s cool jazz on the radio?) generously gave three stations to black metal, heavy metal and death metal, (looking forward to hair metal and undead metal in the next update!) add, finally, added classical radio.

    But it doesn't work. I flipped through dozens of tracks but didn't see any Mozart, Bach or Beethoven. The program was filled with Hans Zimmer, John "Jaws, not the guitar player" Williams, and Ludovico Einaudi. It's great to have a soundtrack and easy listening radio if that's what you were hoping for, and I hope Spotify can work with the classical labels to better present the real classical treasures in their catalog soon.

    Want a Mozart FM on Spotify now? See my previous post: Classical Radio and Games On Spotify.

    Update: More new features: playlist sharing, optimized artist page

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Tori Amos - Night Of Hunters (Deluxe Spotify Edition, Including All Classical Works That Inspired The Song Cycle)

    Upon hearing the first track of Tori Amos's new album Night of Hunters this morning, I noticed immediately it's based on one of Alkan's preludes. Later I found the whole album, or song cycle, is inspired by classical music. The only exception is Job's Coffin, mostly sang by Amos's daughter Natashya Hawley, who sounds suspiciously like Adele.

    Here's the Spotify playlist: Tori Amos: Night Of Hunters (28 tracks, 2hours) Including the song cycle and the classical music inspired it. Some of my similar playlists: Pop Songs Based On Classical Works and Anne Sofie von Otter Sings Abba.

    1. "Shattering Sea" (Variation on: Song of the Madwoman on the Sea-Shore, Prelude op. 31 no. 8 - Alkan)
    2. "SnowBlind" (Variation on: Añoranza from 6 Pieces on Spanish Folksongs - Granados)
    3. "Battle of Trees" (Variation on: Gnossienne no. 1 - Satie)
    4. "Fearlessness" (Variation on: Orientale from 12 Spanish Dances - Granados)
    5. "Cactus Practice" (Variation on: Nocturne op. 9 no. 1 - Chopin)
    6. "Star Whisperer" (Variation on: Andantino from Piano Sonata in A major D 959 - Schubert)
    7. "Job's Coffin"
     8. "Nautical Twilight" (Variation on: Venetian Boat Song from Songs Without Words op. 30 - Mendelssohn)
    9. "Your Ghost" (Variation on: Theme and Variations in E flat major WoO 24 from Ghost Variations - Schumman)
    10. "Edge of the Moon" (Variation on: Siciliano from Flute Sonata BWV 1031 - Bach)
    11. "The Chase" (Variation on: The Old Castle from Pictures at an Exhibition - Mussorgsky)
    12. "Night of Hunters" (Variation on: Sonata in F minor K. 466 - Scarlatti And: Salva Regina, Gregorian Chant)
    13. "Seven Sisters" (Inspired by: Prelude in C minor - Bach)
    14. "Carry" (Variation on: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair from Préludes I - Debussy)     

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Bad Money Drives Out Good In Spotify

    Yesterday I saw someone tweeted about a Mozart track on Spotify, and I clicked it. It's the adagio of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, played by a unnamed pianist, a unknown conductor and a third-or-four-tier orchestra (though it's based in Berlin), from a compilation called "Mozart Through The Ages". It surprised me this track received 11 Facebook Likes. I didn't see many people "Liked" classical tracks on Spotify before.

    And it irritated me that, they got the first and third movements in a wrong order. It's the fault of the compiler, not Spotify, because it's the same in Amazon and iTunes.

    I understand these complications have their own audience: casual listeners who don't bother with different performers or interpretations, all they want is Mozart, the famous works, the "songs". In the age of content ownership, I totally support these listener to go for the cheap compilations, the 8-hour, 80-track "Mozart Through The Ages" sells at $8.99 in Amazon MP3, and $7.99 in iTunes. A great bargain for the right audience.

    I won't ask these causal fans to spend time on figuring out which pianist's Mozart is better, that's not what they look for. But I do think it's Spotify's responsibility to keep their contents in an organized way that's easy to search and browse, and give more exposure to high quality contents and filter the white noise.

    If I was Naxos or EMI, I won't be happy that "Mozart Through The Ages" received 45 Facebook Likes on Spotify, while no one Liked the equally easy-to-access, and much better quality compilations like Naxos's The Very Best Of Mozart, or EMI's Mozart Best 100. The inferior compilation is much more popular on Spotify and makes much more money.

    To me it's another strange case of Gresham's law (bad money drives out good). In this scenario, most users (customers) don't know/care about the quality, it's not their fault, but the consequence is not good.

    Spotify created an environment that all music are available to all users, which should be a great thing. It works perfectly for pop music, Nickelback fans search for Nickelback and get Nickelback, Nirvana fans search for Nirvana and get Nirvana, everybody's happy. Even a Pitchfork critic has no rights to force Spotify to show Nirvana to people who search for Nickelback.

    But classical music is a bit different. Most works in the core repertoire have dozens, if not hundreds of different recordings, causal listeners who search for Mozart or best of Mozart on Spotify will only see an endless list of tracks that sorted by popularity. I guess few of them would scroll down some 100 times to find the high quality compilations, most likely they will just pick one album or track from the first few pages and play, and make those tracks even more popular.

    So how did these recordings became more popular in the first place?

    1, Spotify's problematic "What's New" page, the page that every Spotify user sees every time they login to the client. If you are a longtime user, you probably have already noticed this: every now and then, it shows another compilation of Elvis, Hank Williams, Miles Davis or Brahms. And curiously, they are almost always from totally unknown digital-only labels, which seem just want to cash-in from public domain recordings, grey market bootlegs and cheap recordings repackaged under gimmick names. It should be noted that, historical recordings are valuable, and many great classical labels like Naxos Historical and Music and Arts remaster public domain/archive recordings (many are out of print or neglected by major labels) with great care, their work should be appreciated. But what graced Spotify's What's New page were always those repackaged bargain compilations, whose sole reason for existence in the market is their low price. In another word, they have no reason to exist in Spotify's same-price-for-all platform, let alone being featured on the What's New page. But a few months ago, a series of Composers Through The Ages stuff appeared on there, got a lots of plays, and  became more popular than most decent recordings, therefore occupied the first pages of search results.

    A more direct example, suppose Youtube constantly features low quality/bootleg music videos of Michael Jackson on their front page, and Sony/Epic's high quality official videos are nowhere to be found in the first 10 pages of search results, what would the users and Sony feel about it?

    2, Ironically, badly tagged classical albums are more competitive sometimes. When a layman searches for Mozart, which search results has the highest click through rate? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23 played by Vladimir Horowitz? Horowitz who? The most popular Mozart tunes on Spotify are not played by any virtuoso from the recording era, but by a guy whose full name is "Mozart". Like this. Simple, clear, hence welcomed by many users. This is bound to happen, and would only get worse over time, if Spotify don't intervene.

    I'm not saying the 45 people who Liked Mozart Through The Ages are not entitled to their music, what I purposed here is Spotify should spend a little effort on curating the contents. Though most casual fans probably can't tell the difference between Horowitz and a nobody at first, at least they won't complain if you serve them with better recordings at no cost on their part. And too many unwanted results is indeed a problem for listeners who want decent recordings but don't know how to search.

    It would benefit everyone: casual fans find decent recordings with the same searches that lead them to inferior ones; better severed users become more loyal users of Spotify; decent labels make the money they deserve, no more hijacked by repackaging labels which add no value to music or Spotify.

    I want to emphasis that this is not a snobbish complainant. Most sane people, including me, didn't grow up with classical music these days, and everyone should be happy and even grateful that some of them bother to search for Mozart. Spotify has done a great job making all those great music available to everyone, I just hope they can do a little more to maximise the value of the music.

    And this is not a pro-monopoly argument either. Both majors and indies deserve to be treated fairly, and repackaging labels harm them both. I am all for the free market idea, if the users are fully aware of all the opinions there, and more people freely choose the recordings that I see as inferior, I won't have a problem. The problem is, currently Spotify is not a free market because of two reasons I stated above. So I think a little adjustment is in need.

    In the past, most causal listeners bought cheap compilations from bargain labels and picky elites bought full price releases from decent labels. Indeed the lack of interest may be a factor that prevented the laymen to go further beyond the few albums and compilations they bought, but the price was undeniably a barrier as well. By its design Spotify should radically change the situation: now the laymen should be able to get access to decent compilations and albums that they wouldn't buy before, and can dig as deep as they want. Since everything is at the same price, the best music/recordings should win most audience and the best musicians/labels should get rewarded the most. But so far Spotify hasn't fully realized its great potential, at least in classical music and jazz. Many or most casual fans still listen to the same bargain recordings, and weirdly, the only one party that seems to benefit from this situation so far is the repackaging labels, because now they are profiting from people who won't even spend $8 on a 8-hour compilation before.

    How can Spotify improve and fix the problem? Personally I'd like to see weekly or monthly charts by genres, an iTunes Store style page to browse important new releases/series and editions by genres and labels (instead of having to search for everything), and curated playlists/list of essential recordings for the most important composers (inside the client, most causal fans would never go to third party sites to look for classical music).

    I also hope the labels can start to promote their contents on Spotify, most of you have more marketing power than repackaging labels, so why not use it? DG just scored a hit in the biggest playlist sharing site, with a playlist titled Classics For Work. Why not? Most of the 1,000 people who listened to that playlist probably won't listen to classical music at all if you didn't tell them classical music can increase their productivity at work, and who is to say that none of them will become a diehard Mahler fan or classical concert goer?  Spotify could do a lot more for classical music, I hope both Spotify and the labels seize the opportunity, and not let the repackaging labels keep on ripping them off. Bury those labels that add no value to music, their days are numbered, just as digital content ownership. Amen.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Composers, Critics, Labels, And Classical Mavens On Spotify Social

    One of the biggest problem of Spotify's social function is that you cannot browse the following list of people you follow, so discovering new friends and playlists is not easy. Below is a list of people I follow on Spotify, with their names linked to Spotify profiles. You can browse the list of public playlists they curated and subscribed to.  If you want to recommend others or yourself, please leave a comment and I'll update the list. Thanks.
    Alex Ross, The New Yorker's music critic, latest playlist: an introduction to Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    Ballata, comparative literature student. Some interesting Russian music playlists there. Other links: Twitter.

    BridgeRecords, an independent record label based in New Rochelle, New York that specializes in 20th century classical music. They've made playlists for different categories of their catalog. Other links: Twitter, another Twitter, official site.

    CantaloupeMusic, created in 2001 by the founders of Bang on a Can. "Our goal is to provide a home for music that slips between the cracks." Other links: Twitter, official site.

    CBCarey, Christian Carey, composer, performer, & music theorist. Sequenza 21 Senior Editor Assistant Professor of Music at Rider University. You can discover lots of people through his profile. Other links: Twitter, Sequenza 21.

    CollinJRae, senior manager of Naxos of America. Mastermind behind the cool Naxos playlists. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    Darajan66, Yan Da, motion graphic and digital media artist, I discovered some Japanese composers through his playlists. Official site.

    DeccaRecords, major label, including playlists for Decca Classics. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    DGDeccaClassics, major classical label. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    DJ_Moderne, Ken Ueno, composer, throat-singing vocalist, UC Berkeley Music Prof. Playlist of his own works. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    EmiVirginClassics, major classical label. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    Evanboho, Evan Kuchar, composer and writer. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    Fin1954, Fin O'Suilleabhain, author of a Stockhausen biography-in-progress, creator of one of the most spectacular playlists: MYSTERIOUS BARRICADES (Fin's chronological keyboard playlist) He will start a Spotify playlist blog soon. Stay tuned. Other link: Twitter.

    GuardianMusic, they cover classical music as well. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    JasonBoog, editor of Gallery Cat. He curated many playlists based on books or writers, like Haruki Murakami. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    Jayuhfree, Jeff Harrington, composer and new technology guru. Playlist of his own music. Other links: Twitter, official site, interview.

    Jjohnohara, John O'Hara, aka nolibretto. Blogger of It's Not Opera, which specializes in classical vocal music on Spotify.

    Kickassclassical, classical music for starters. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    ₭ѱ|ǝ∟ѱ©ηιԋ, Kyle Lynch, musicology grad student. Other link: Twitter.

    LiverpoolPhil, playlists for their programs and more. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    MarcGeelhoed, manager the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's record label, CSO Resound. Playlists including CSO Resound catalog and more. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    Modulations, new sounds and cool playlists from the Naxos underground. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    Mrmarmite, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. His profile is not public. Playlists including: 20th C(entury) Piano. There's also a great fan-made playlist that chronicles all the music in the Radiohead office charts.

    NaxosOfficial, everything Naxos, including contents from hundreds of labels they distribute. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    ParmaRecordings, independent classical label. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    Picap, Catalan label with classical contents. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    Radio4NL, classical radio in the Netherlands, playlists including top 400 classical works voted by listeners. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    SteveS66, Steve Smith, Time Out New York music editor and New York Times freelance contributor. He wrote the most helpful review on Spotify for classical listeners, also curated many interesting playlists. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    Tam.Pollard, A blog dedicated to the arts in Edinburgh and further afield by Tam and Finn Pollard. Through their blog I discovered the BBC Legends on Spotify. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    Thad.anderson, Thad Anderson, Percussionist, composer, and technophile. Faculty member at the University of Central Florida. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    Timrj, Tim Rutherford-Johnson, legendary blogger on experimental music and modern composition - "the music that no one else dare tell you about." Creator of the legendary playlist: Radio Rambler. Other links: Twitter, blog.

    WarnerClassics, major classical label. Other links: Twitter, official site.

    WashingtonPost, so far, Anne Midgette, classical music critic of the Post, made a playlist for her article Contemporary classical: a primer. Other links: Twitter (Classical Beat).

    And thanks again to all the guest posters, they have many more playlists worth to explore, not just the ones they posted here!

    Lastly, you can also follow me on Spotify. If you want to promote your playlists on your site, you can get a widget on this Spotify page.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Monument To 9/11 In Music

    Read: A Mixed Record of Success in Addressing the Attacks on WSJ, Requiem Project: A Tribute to the Fallen and Those Who Remain: September 9-11, 2011 on WQXR, Composers on 9/11 series on NPR Classical's Deceptive Cadence, Music for 9/11 on Gramophone, Music After: Remembering 9/11 on Sequenza 21.

    Listen: John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls, Ned Rorem's Aftermath, Robert Moran's Trinity Requiem, Joan Tower's In Memory, Aaron Jay Kernis's Sarabanda in Memoriam, Eric Ewazen's A Hymn for the Lost and the Living, Steve Reich's WTC 9/11.

    All works in one Spotify playlist: Music For 9/11 (26 tracks, 2 hours)



    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Sequenza 21: Reviewed CDs 2006-2011

    Sequenza 21 is the contemporary classical music community on the web, and it's review section is new music's Crawdaddy. Never heard of Crawdaddy? Well, call it the Pitchfork of classical music then, but note the difference: more often than not, you can actually learn a few things about the music that Sequenza 21 reviews, not just the reviewer's ego. In the past five years, the editors of Sequenza 21 reviewed more than 400 new releases, mostly contemporary classical music. Their choices are, naturally, a bit American-biased, nevertheless they introduced some of the most noteworthy new music that you probably wouldn't discover otherwise.

    Here's the Spotify playlist: Sequenza 21: Reviewed CDs (1927 tracks, total time: 1 Week) About half of the albums are not on Spotify yet, but since the US launch, many more labels came on board, like Bridge Records whose albums were featured heavily in the reviews, so we can expect to see the playlist grows even longer soon. Albums are arranged chronologically by review dates, with the newest releases at the top. Press Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. If you want a Sequenza 21 radio, put the playlist on Shuffle.

    All reviews are in this Sequenza 21 section, but they don't have a complete list in one single page, so you'd have to use the search box at the left sidebar to search for them yourselves. Kudos to Sequenza 21 and enjoy the music.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Guest Post: Harp Music

    After one of the brightest and loudest instrument in the orchestra, the trumpet, here comes the softest and gentlest one: the harp. Ruth Mar is a harpist, teacher, and designer, who "plucks strings and pushes pixels in the Pacific Northwest." She curated two excellent playlists, with works specifically written for harp - no transcriptions. Here's Ruth:


    My aim with both these playlists is to show the harp's wide range of color.  The harp is often pigeonholed as a romantic, soothing instrument; but it's really capable of so much more! Check out especially the second Caplet Divertissement,  Holliger Praludium, and Schafer Crown of Ariadne from the Intro list for some more unusual / percussive harp sounds. Spotify has an impressive collection of harp music from reputable artists; I've discovered several few works I'd never heard before (including the Genzmer from the chamber music list).

    I tried to balance between both standard and lesser known works and feature a variety of the excellent artists on Spotify. Both lists also only include works written originally for harp.

    Harp Music Intro (27 tracks, 2 hours) - A mix of solo works and concerti movements. I arranged it purely according to personal preference, rather than chronologically.

    Works included:
    Andre Caplet / Divertissements a la francaise & a l'espagnole
    George Frederic Handel / Concerto in B-flat Major, Mvt. 1
    Alphonse Hasselmans / La Source
    Paul Hindemith / Sonate, Mvt. 1
    Benjamin Britten / Fugue from Suite, Op. 83 and Interlude from A Ceremony of Carols
    Dittersdorf / Concerto in A, Larghetto
    Srul Irving Glick / King David Sonata, II. David and Saul
    David Watkins / Fire Dance from Petite Suite
    Carlos Salzedo / Quietude and Whirlwind from 5 Preludes
    W.A. Mozart / Concerto for Flute and Harp K 299, II. Andantino
    Marcel Grandjany / Children's Hour Suite
    Marcel Tournier / Vers la Source dans le Bois
    Heinz Holliger / Praludium from Praludium, Arioso and Passacaglia
    Gabriel Faure / Une Chatelaine en sa tour…
    Lynn Wainwright Palmer / Prelude and Sarabande from Classical Suite
    Gabriel Faure / Impromptu, Op. 86
    Kelly-Marie Murphy / Star from Illuminations
    Henriette Renie / Danse des Lutins
    Joaquin Rodrigo / Concerto Serenade, 3. Sarao
    Marjan Mozetich / Freedom from Songs of Nymphs
    R. Murray Schafer / Ariadne's Dance from The Crown of Ariadne
    Carlos Salzedo / Ballade, Op. 28
    Claude Debussy / Danses Sacree et Profane

    Harp Chamber Music (35 tracks, 2 hours)

    I really believe that the harp shines in chamber music. It blends beautifully with a wide spectrum of instruments and voice types; and can easily move between accompaniment and solo roles. The smaller instrumentation also allows it to be heard clearly. For this list, full works are included.

    Works included:
    Claude Debussy / Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp
    Sebastien Currier / Night Time for Violin and Harp
    Camille Saint-Saens / Fantaisie pour violon et harp, Op. 124
    Vincent Persechetti / Serenade No. 10 for flute and harp
    Andre Jolivet / Chant de Linos for Flute, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Harp
    Harald Genzmer / Trio for Flute, Viola, and Harp
    Arnold Bax / Elegaic Trio for Flute, Viola, and Harp
    Anonymous / Nocturne for horn and harp
    Benjamin Britten / Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Op. 89 for tenor and harp
    Marcel Tournier / La Lettre Du Jardinier pour chant et harpe
    Andre Caplet / Conte fantastique for harp and string quartet
    Jean Cras / Quintette for flute, harp and strings
    Adrian Schaposhnikov / Sonata for flute and harp
    Maurice Ravel / Introduction et Allegro for flute, clarinet, string quartet and harp

    Guest post by Ruth Mar

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    A Spotify Solution To The Bruckner Problem

    Anton Bruckner, one of the most famous late bloomers in classical music, was a peculiar guy that pops up near the top of both "composers you can't live without" and "composers you COULD live without" lists almost equally often. And he had a problem with himself.

    Numerous contrasting versions and editions exist for his symphonies. Many revisions were done without his authorization but conductors perform and record them anyway. In an attempt to put everything he had done, and others had done to him, in the right place, I created a Spotify playlist that consists of every different edition of his symphonies on Spotify, with some of my favourite recordings.

    Anton Bruckner, 1894
    It starts with a lovely, Weber-like Overture in G Minor.

    Symphony in F minor, "Study", or No.00.
    • One version only - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1973]. / Ashkenazy
    Symphony No. 0 in D minor "Die Nullte" or Symphony No. "0".
    • 1869 Ed. Leopold Nowak [1968] / Marriner
    • 1869 Ed. Woess. published by Universal Edition [1924] / Haitink
    Symphony No. 1 in C minor
    • 1866 Original unrevised Linz version prepared by William Carragan [1998] / Tintner
    • 1877 Linz version with revisions - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1953] / Maazel
    • 1877 Linz version with revisions - Ed. Robert Haas [1935] / Abbado
    • 1891 Vienna Revision by Bruckner himself. Ed. Guenter Brosche [1980] / Wand
    Symphony No. 2 in C minor
    • 1872 First concept version. Ed. William Carragan [2005] / Bosch
    • 1877 First Critical Edition - Second printing. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1965] / Solti
    • 1877 First Critical Edition. Ed. Robert Haas [1938] / Masur
    • 1877 Version. Ed. William Carragan - Removes remaining Haas anomolies / Barenboim
    Symphony No. 3 in D minor
    • 1873 Original Version Ed. Leopold Nowak [1977] / Norrington
    • 1876 Adagio only Ed. Leopold Nowak [1980] / Wildner
    • 1877 Version Ed. Leopld Nowak (with Scherzo coda) [1981] / Gielen
    • 1878 Version Ed. Fritz Oeser (Scherzo coda not included) Based on 1880 Stichvorlage / Horenstein
    • 1889 Version (aka 1888/89) Ed. Leopold Nowak [1959] Wildner
    • 1890 Thorough revision Bruckner with Joseph and Franz Schalk Ed. Theodor Raettig / Knappertsbusch
    • 2006 'Neufassung' reconstructed from the 1873-1876-1877-1889 editions. Ed. Peter Jan Marthe  / Marthe
    Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major
    • 1874 Original version - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1975] / Nagano
    • 1878 Volkfest Finale - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1981] / Tintner (not available)
    • 1881 (aka 1878/80) - Ed. Robert Haas [1936] / Wand
    • 1886 (aka 1878/80) - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1953] / Jochum
    • 1888 Ed. Benjamin Korstvedt / Vanska
    • 1888 Heavily edited, cut and reorchestrated by Gustav Mahler / Rozhdestvensky
    • 1888 Revised by Ferdinand Loewe. Ed. Albert Gutmann [1889] / Furtwangler
    Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
    • 1878 Version Ed. Leopold Nowak - No significant difference to Haas [1951] / Jochum
    • 1878 Version Ed. Robert Haas - No significant difference to Nowak [1935] / Furtwangler, Thielemann
    • 1896 Edition [Doblingler] Revision by Franz Schalk / Knappertsbusch
    String Quintet in F major
    • 1879 Augmented for String Orchestra / Schneidt
      Symphony No. 6 in A major
      • 1881 Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1952] / Jochum
      • 1881 Version. Ed. Robert Haas [1935] / Klemperer
      Symphony No. 7 in E major
      • 1885 Original Version. Ed. Robert Haas [1944] / Karajan
      • 1885 Version with some Modifications by Bruckner. Ed. Albert Gutmann / Furtwangler
      • 1885 Version. Ed.Leopold Nowak [1954] / Barbirolli
       Symphony No. 8 in C minor
      • 1887 Original Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1972] / Young
      • 1887/90 Mixed Versions. Ed. Robert Haas [1939] / Schuricht, Boulez
      • 1890 Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1955] / Tennstedt
      • 1892 Version by Bruckner and Joseph Schalk. Ed. Haslinger-Schlesinger-Lienau / Knappertsbusch
      • Edition prepared by Furtwangler based on Haas and earlier editions / Furtwangler
      Symphony No. 9 in D minor
      • 1894 Original Version. Ed. Alfred Orel / Luisi, Walter (with Te Deum at the end), Harnoncourt
      • 1894 Original Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1951] / Giulini
      • 1903 Edition [Doblinger] Ed. Loewe / Knappertsbusch
      Finale of Symphony No.9
      • 1984 Finale Realization by Samale and Mazzuca - Early Draft 1984 / Inbal
      • 1992 Finale Realization by Samale//Philips/Cohrs/Mazzuca - rev. 1996 / Wildner
      • 1992 Finale Realization by Samale//Philips/Cohrs/Mazzuca - Revised 2005 by Samale and Cohrs / Bosch
      •  2006 Free composition by Peter Jan Marthe incorporating material from the Finale sketches / Marthe
      • 2008 Finale Realization by Sebastien Letocart / Couton
      • 1981-83 Finale Completion by William Carragan - Revised 2010 / Schaller
      • 1896 Finale Fragments - Ed.Phillips /  Hirsch, Harnoncourt (with commentary),
      The end of the playlist is Bruckner's last finished piece Helgoland.

      Here's the Spotify playlist: Anton Bruckner: The Symphonies (216 tracks, total time: 2 days) Press Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. Many recordings are not available in the USA yet, I tried to make it more US-friendly, but checking every recording's geographic availability was too much hassle. If you would like to recommend other great Bruckner recordings or alternative choices that are available in the US, please leave a comment or send the link to me on Spotify. Thanks. I've done a playlist for Celibidache's Bruckner before, so I didn't include his recordings here. They are too special to be mixed with anything else.

      If you don't want to bother with all these different versions, get Tintner's Bruckner cycle on Naxos: Bruckner: Tintner (32 tracks, 9 hours, No.3 and 4 not available) All original/standard editions, and the performances are excellent, especially the early symphonies.

      I got into Bruckner through Skrowaczewski's cycle on Arte Nova, unfortunately they are not on Spotify yet. Some very fine recordings there, if you don't mind coughing and other occasional noise in this studio set.

      You can also find some piano/organ transcriptions of Bruckner symphonies in my Piano Transcriptions playlist. Lastly, a surprise Bruckner cameo in the beautiful Mes beatitudes by Gerard Pesson.