Out of the Shadows

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Bruckner explorations at St Florian's Abbey and beyond: Remy Ballot, Altomonte Festival Orchestra & Klangkollectiv Wien

Remy Ballot & Klangkollectiv Wien
Remy Ballot & Klangkollectiv Wien

Now, I don't really write very much about the music of Anton Bruckner, but news of a new Bruckner symphony cycle and a relatively new Viennese orchestra has me intrigued. Around 20 years ago, a French violinist, Remy Ballot, having graduated from the Paris Conservatoire, went to Vienna and started playing regularly with the first violins of the Vienna Philharmonic. He also started taking private lessons with Celibidache.

Ten years ago, Remy Ballot became the principal conductor of the Altomonte Festival Orchestra at St Florian 's Abbey. Bruckner was a choirboy at the abbey and would be organist there for ten years, but his association with it was very long and he was also buried there. The orchestra, which was founded in 1996, has a strong association with the Brucknertage, the annual Bruckner festival at St Florian's.

Ballot has started to achieve something like cult status with Brucknerians and his concerts at St Florian's are highly popular. Luckily, Ballot and the orchestra have been recording Bruckner's symphonies live at the abbey (as part of the Brucknertage festival), released on the Gramola label and in 2024 Gramola will be issued a boxed set of the complete Bruckner symphonies recorded by Ballot and the Altamonte Orchestra at St Florian's. The only other complete cycle recorded at the abbey is that of Valery Gergiev.

In 2018, a group of Viennese musicians decided to set up a new orchestra, dedicated entirely to the repertoire of the first Viennese School, also using Viennese instruments - Klangkollektiv Wien. Remy Ballot became their chief conductor, and having released recordings of Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn (also on Gramola), they have a recording of Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in the pipeline.


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