When conductor Christian Thielemann, master interpreter of the romantic repertoire, and Renée Fleming, late-romantic specialist par excellence, weave their talents into the orchestral tapestry unfolded by the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, one of the oldest and most revered orchestras in the world, they create, as put by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “romantic music as magic for the ears”.
For this special concert, the first concert of Christian Thielemann as the principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden, they chose the orchestral songs by the Austrian composer Hugo Wolf and Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, making it a concert full of references: Hugo Wolf composed the songs in 1888, four years after the premiere of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony. Wolf admired the more than 34 year older Bruckner, although they only met twice. Both, Wolf and Bruckner idolized Richard Wagner - just like Christian Thielemann does today. And with Hugo Wolf's song “Er ist's” (“It's him”), Christian Thielemann, the “magician at the conductor's desk” is welcomed in his new function (Süddeutsche Zeitung).
Bruckner's Seventh was premiered in 1884 in Leipzig to universal acclaim and established Bruckner as a serious composer of symphonic music. Particularly gripping in this work are its references to Richard Wagner, whom passed away while Bruckner was composing the Adagio movement. The composer disclosed to a pupil that he had been thinking of Wagner's poor health and impending death while sketching the slow movement. Another telltale sign of Wagner's presence is Bruckner's use of the “Bayreuth” tubas, which had never been used in a symphony up to then.
The recording of the symphony takes its place within a cycle of Bruckner's complete symphonies with the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden under Christian Thielemann that is to be produced over the course of several years – a living monument of musical architecture.