June 10, 2021

(++++) SWEET!

The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book. By Food Network Magazine. Hearst Home Kids. $19.99.

     The biggest problem with this book is the table of contents, or rather the pages immediately after the table of contents. The TOC itself blandly lists the types of baked-goods recipes to be found on upcoming pages: Muffins & Quick Breads, Brownies & Bars, Cookies, Cupcakes, Cakes and Fake-Out Cakes. But the six following pages, which show pictures of the specific items in each section, are so delicious-looking that you can gain three pounds just by staring at them. And you can quickly get to a state of “paralysis by analysis,” trying to figure out just which scrumptious goodie to make first, and second, and third, and 17th, and…and, and, and (there are more than 100 possibilities!).

     What is particularly delightful about The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book is that kids who follow the recipes (which, it is worth mentioning, often would be greatly helped by some adult assistance – a great recipe for bonding time) really can end up with baked goods that look remarkably like the photos. Both the recipes and the pictures are that good and that accurate.

     This is not to say that everything in The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book is easy to do. Most baking, until you get quite good at it, is rather unforgiving of recipe deviations. The folks at Food Network Magazine make that point subtly at the start of this book, suggesting that readers who “like to throw a little of this and a handful of that into the pan and see what happens” will tend to be cooks (the audience for the previous volume, The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook), while those who like to “take your time, measure everything carefully and follow recipes just as they’re written” will tend to be bakers. That’s a pretty good distinction for the young and presumably just-learning-the-ways-of-the-kitchen audience for whom this book and its predecessor are intended. But that is not to say that young readers must slavishly follow the words here: some of those words are intended to promote creativity even as the book as a whole shows the importance of following baking recipes with care. For instance, in addition to recipes for several types of muffins and quick breads, there is a “Design Your Own Recipe” offering for banana bread, which gives the basic way to make a loaf but encourages five different possible mix-ins (such as nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips) and provides three options for glazes. That’s a good start for the sort of adaptive behavior that enthusiastic bakers develop sometimes out of creativity (“what if I mixed this with that instead of that?”) and sometimes out of necessity (“how am I going to make frosting when I’m out of powdered sugar?”).

     The recipes in The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book are delicious-looking and -tasting, although it would have been nice if calorie counts per portion had been included – to give young bakers an idea of when a good thing becomes too much of a good thing. The book includes so many forms of yum that it will be hard for a young reader who gets started to stop making treats. Of course, that is the point (although moderation really is called for with many of these recipes – parents will have to provide it, gently). And the “fun” part of the title (a grammatical irritation: “fun” is a noun, not an adjective, no matter what social media [plural] say) shows up again and again. For instance, there are two pages called “Decorate Your Doughnuts” that display five very different and highly colorful approaches; and there are “Did You Know?” boxes scattered throughout the book with baking-related facts (Albany, Georgia, is home to more than 600,000 pecan trees; Oregon produces 99% of America’s hazelnuts; you can make an edible jigsaw puzzle out of sugar-cookie dough; a classic Oreo cookie is 29% cream and 71% cookie; and so on). There are also “Tips” that add a little suggestion here and there to the recipes: Birthday Cake Bars, for example, “will still taste great” whether finished off with store-bought frosting, or with the book’s frosting recipe, or with no frosting at all; and any cupcake can be made in mini form – you get about three times as many minis as regular-size ones.

     As for the section called “Fake-Out Cakes,” it is for somewhat more-advanced young bakers, featuring cakes that look like what they are not. There is a Chili Dog Cake, and an Ice Cream Sandwich Cake, and more – but these recipes are not for anyone in a hurry: it takes two hours to make the Spaghetti-and-Meatballs Cake or the Pineapple Cake, an hour and a half for the Egg-in-a-Hole Cake, and so forth. Still, there is something extra-tempting about working on a Taco Ice Cream Cake (one-and-a-half hours plus freezing time) or a Grilled Cheese Cake (one hour and 45 minutes). And what might young bakers do to stay occupied as the “Fake-Out Cakes” come into being? Well, a “Did You Know?” box says, “The average person in the United States eats about 35,000 cookies in a lifetime. How many do you think you’ve had so far?” The more-complex recipes allow plenty of time to count – indeed, to add to the count. But, umm, it wouldn’t hurt to go online before doing that and figure out just how many calories are in 35,000 cookies. There are, after all, limits to fun, even to the fun in The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book.

(++++) AMERICANA

Music for American Wind Band by Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, Edward Beyer, Ernesto Cavallini, Giuseppe Verdi, Jean Marie Missud, George Schleiffarth, August Damm, John Philip Sousa, Ciro Pinsuti, Allesandro Liberati, Thomas Coates, and Émile Waldteufel. Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band conducted by Elisa Koehler. MSR Classics. $14.95.

Priscilla Alden Beach: City Trees; Linda Robbins Coleman: For a Beautiful Land; Alexandra Pierce: Behemoth. Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Reuben Blundell. New Focus Recordings. $16.99.

Aaron Jay Myers: Skin; Lichens II; Oh, the Irony; Have-Not; Night of Pan; Clever Machines; Own Your Own Shadow; Paroxysm. New Focus Recordings. $16.99.

     It was wind bands, not orchestras, that were the primary carriers of musical culture around the United States in the latter part of the 19th century – emphatically so when John Philip Sousa completely revamped and reorganized the whole wind-band concept, but even before then, when the bands were largely a carryover from the Civil War. This makes wind-band music from the late 1800s and early 1900s a fertile field to explore, and one that has by no means been investigated as thoroughly as has concert-hall music of the same period. Hearing band music of this time on band instruments of this time is an even-less-common occurrence, and as a new MSR Classics disc featuring Elisa Koehler conducting Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band shows, it is one that is very much worth experiencing. This is music for American wind band, but only some of it is American music, and that is a fair reflection of the programs that bands offered to audiences in this time period. Inevitably, there is one piece by Sousa – the rousing Semper Fidelis – but there are also works written for the concert hall or opera stage, arranged, as was customary at the time, for a full complement of winds. Interestingly, the only composer represented twice on the disc is none other than Verdi, whose Nabucco overture and terzetto and finale from Attila are given suitably enthusiastic performances. There is also a familiar piece here by Émile Waldteufel: the L’Estudiantina waltz, whose always-upbeat nature (it does not even have a typical Waldteufel slow introduction) fits the band complement very well. Well-known tunes of the time, often from operas or operettas, also show up in other works. For example, there is a Fantasia on “La Sonnambula” by Ernesto Cavallini (1807-1874) that is well-made, if not especially true to the mood of Bellini’s opera. And there is one of those “why do I know that tune?” works, Yankee Tickle Medley by Edward Beyer (c. 1830-c. 1897), which tickles listeners’ fancy with, among other things, an impressive fanfare that comes from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. The music on this CD may be inconsequential, but it is far from uninteresting. From Thomas Coates (1803-1895), often called the father of American band music, there is the rousing “I Am Up” Quickstep, and there are similarly positive-sounding pieces by composers who are now almost completely unknown: Salute to New York March by Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore (1829-1892), Mañana Chilean Dance by Jean Marie Missud (1852-1941), Jolly Bears (Polka Humoristic) by George Schleiffarth (1849-1921), Through the Air by August Damm (1849-1942), Serenade “Good Night Beloved” by Ciro Pinsuti (1829-1888), and The Battle Cry of Freedom by Allesandro Liberati (1847-1927). Even when the pieces are trifles, as many are, they are very pleasant to hear, and the entire disc is played exceptionally stylishly and with all the enthusiasm that the music deserves – which is quite a lot. The period instruments fit the music ideally, and the CD as a whole is a most-welcome time capsule giving entry to an earlier, perhaps more-optimistic, perhaps more-naïve America in which musical entertainment – before there were recordings, before there was radio – was largely the province of bands that, at their best, were as skilled as Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band.

     There are still plenty of discoveries to be made in American music, which is to say music created by American composers, not just arranged for performance by American ensembles. Reuben Blundell and the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra have led the way to a number of such discoveries, including three previously unrecorded orchestral works offered on a New Focus Recordings CD. The disc opens with the brief, atmospheric, mostly tonal and warm City Trees by Priscilla Alden Beach (1902-1970), a work from 1928 whose sounds of the sylvan in the city are as apt today as they were almost a century ago. The work’s speedier section midway through is more evocative of the trees’ surroundings than of the plantings themselves. Next is For a Beautiful Land by Linda Robbins Coleman (born 1954), a rather brash, proclamatory work from 1996. This is broadly expansive music that is very reminiscent of Copland’s “popular” mode – an outgoing, bright, forthright 11-minute tone poem whose emotions range from the celebratory to the playful. Finally there is Behemoth by Alexandra Pierce (born 1934), a 1976 work that is scarcely a leviathan, in fact being titled as “in five short movements.” Those range from the five-minute first to the 90-second fourth, all in the service of creating a tone poem quite different from Coleman’s. Pierce seeks here to expand, musically, the notion of the Book of Job and the struggles embodied in it, doing so with a darkly portentous first movement; a second movement even more percussion-infused than the opening one; a pathos-infused third movement, in which oboe and horn play prominent roles; a fourth movement that is essentially an extended percussion cadenza; and a finale that provides the only amusement in the entire piece, albeit through rather dark humor. Behemoth has attractive moments and some especially well-done percussion writing, but is not particularly convincing in terms of the theme it attempts to illustrate, although Blundell and the Lansdowne ensemble certainly play it with relish – as, indeed, they play all the music on this (+++) disc. It is, however, very unfortunate that the entire CD lasts barely 30 minutes: less-known, relatively modern music is a hard-enough sell without asking prospective listeners to pay full price for a half-hour disc of never-before-recorded material with which, by definition, they will almost certainly be totally unfamiliar.

     Another (+++) offering from New Focus Recordings contains more than twice as much likely-unfamiliar American music, all by a single composer, Aaron Jay Myers. The quantity of material does not, of course, correlate with its quality, but what this disc does do is offer eight Myers works with differing instrumentation, increasing the likelihood that a listener who finds Myers’ approach congenial will discover at least one piece that is worth hearing and rehearing. Skin is for tenor saxophone (Philipp Stäudlin) and marimba (Matt Sharrock), an intriguing instrumental combination whose effect is vitiated by Myers’ determination to go the standard contemporary route of pushing the instruments’ sounds beyond the norm and likely beyond aural comfort – the saxophone, for example, sounding like a foghorn here, an electronic-style screech there. Lichens II is an eight-movement suite for solo violin (Nicole Parks), with each brief movement given a title relating to a type of lichen (Fruticose, Byssoid, Leprose, etc.) and each intended to be reflective in some way of that particular lichen. This is more of an intellectual exercise than an emotive one, and the work again shows Myers’ interest in changing the sound of an instrument to the point of unpleasantness (e.g., the loud scraping in Crustose). But there is some effective violin writing here, notably in spiccato sections and in the use of harmonics, and some of the piece is interestingly evocative of something-or-other, if not necessarily of lichens. The next work on the disc is Oh, the Irony for two sopranos (Rose Hegele and Stephanie Lamprea); this sounds like dozens, maybe hundreds of other works that treat the voice as just another instrument and the words and many non-word syllables being uttered as building blocks of sound for its own sake. Have-Not is a second duet including marimba (Sharrock), this time with bass clarinet (Amy Advocat) – in an aural juxtaposition somewhat more convincing than is found in Skin. Next on the disc is Night of Pan, whose instrumentation is even more interesting: flute (Sarah Brady), toy piano (Sarah Bob), harp (Amanda Romano Foreman), and marimba (Sharrock). This is the cleverest exploration of complementary and contrasting sonic material on the disc, somewhat overextended at nine-and-a-half minutes but filled with intriguing use of the instruments and some especially attractive writing for harp. Clever Machines combines two instruments heard earlier on the disc, bass clarinet (Advocat) and marimba (Sharrock), with electronics handled by Myers himself. The use of electronic sounds is not especially distinctive, and the interweaving of the acoustic instruments does not take the music in any particularly noteworthy (so to speak) direction. Own Your Own Shadow is for violin (Natalie Cristina Calma Gómez) and bass clarinet (Kevin Price). At more than 11 minutes, it is the longest work on the disc, and while it does use numerous comparison-and-contrast elements effectively in the context of a generally energetic presentation, it becomes somewhat over-preoccupied with its own cleverness well before it runs its course. The final work on the disc, Paroxysm, is yet another of Myers’ aural-combination-and-contrast works, here including bass clarinet (Price), electric guitar (Myers himself), piano (Bob), and drum set (Daniel T. Lewis). This is sort-of-rock music, its rhythms and propulsive forward motion more attractive than its thematic (or athematic) material and instrumental interplay. Certainly this hour-plus disc provides listeners with plenty of chances to find music by Myers with which to engage: the works are different enough to appeal to different people in different ways, if they successfully appeal at all.

June 03, 2021

(+++) DETERMINATION TO OFFER INSPIRATION

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress. By Alicia D. Williams. Illustrated by April Harrison. Anne Schwartz Books. $17.99.

     A book so insistent on providing uplift that it practically floats off the table while being read, Alicia D. Williams’ Shirley Chisholm Dared is a sanitized hagiography of the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Congress and first black person of either gender to seek to be a major party’s candidate for President. Chisholm was a remarkable woman with the good fortune to reach for a political career at a time of major upheaval and change in the United States. She attributed her success at communicating with her constituency to her early education in what she called “the strict, traditional, British-style schools of Barbados,” where she lived from ages five to 10 because her overwhelmed mother, unable to care for her in the U.S., sent her and her two sisters to live with their maternal grandmother.

     That is a story both of tragic inability to care for children and of the value of a no-nonsense European-style education, but it is not the story of Shirley Chisholm Dared and, indeed, not in accord with contemporary reinterpretations of history – or the current emphasis of children’s books. Williams writes cloyingly that Chisholm (born Shirley St. Hill) is sent to Barbados because her mother thinks she “needs room to run,” and is brought back to the U.S. because her parents “miss their daughters’ laughter bouncing off the walls.” There is no mention of Chisholm, throughout her life, considering herself a Barbadian-American, although that fact and her West Indian accent were significant elements of her thinking and self-presentation.

     The focus here is the notion that Chisholm essentially did everything she did entirely because of her strong personality – and that young readers who also “dare” can, by implication, succeed as well. That is a good, solid, common and unexceptionable message in picture books, but it does gloss over rather more of Chisholm’s life than need be. In school, Williams writes, Chisholm sits in the front of the classroom because “that girl is daring!” In her high-school years, “That young lady is rebellious!” When seeking a job, “That woman is persistent!” And so on. Certainly daring and persistence – and even a touch of rebelliousness – can be useful in life, but without Chisholm’s formative commitment to a strong traditional education and her willingness to work hard and long for what she wanted, her personality characteristics alone would not have had the effect implied in Shirley Chisholm Dared.

     Chisholm’s political accomplishments were real and important, and should not be minimized. But their context should not be minimized either. She became the first black woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968 – and the year matters, having long ago been dubbed the “Year of the Woman” because a record number of women ran and won seats that year in national and state elections (in large part the result of major societal changes at the time). And the election of a black person from the reapportioned, largely black district where Chisholm lived was never in doubt: she won by defeating James Farmer, a black man who was well-known as a civil-rights leader but who ran as a Republican in a very heavily Democratic area.

     Children’s books have neither the time nor the inclination for nuance, so the simplification of Chisholm’s many accomplishments in Shirley Chisholm Dared is scarcely surprising or unexpected. But Williams bends farther backwards than is really necessary. For instance, the book shows Chisholm’s 1949 marriage to Conrad Chisholm – which resulted in the name by which she is known – but never refers to her divorce and remarriage; and even though that topic is included in the Author’s Note at the back of the book, it is glossed over by Williams blandly writing that “though he fully supported Shirley’s political passion, they divorced in 1977.”

     The pleasantly stylized, rather flat-looking illustrations by April Harrison carry the story along well and will be key for many children to enjoyment of the narrative. And certainly Shirley Chisholm was a woman of many accomplishments and multiple successes, and one with a lasting and respected legacy. So a touch of hagiography in a book like this is quite understandable. But Chisholm was a woman whose gifts came to fruition partly because of the times in which she lived – a few years earlier or in a different geographical/political environment, they would have evaporated. Williams sums Chisholm up in four exclamatory words on the book’s final page: “Daring! Rebellious! Persistent! Troublemaker!” But if Chisholm was all those things – all of them positive traits as presented here – she was also more: intellectually gifted, traditionally educated, strongly supported by her two West Indian parents. Children who think the four summary words used by Williams will be enough to bring them success – or were, on their own, enough to bring success to Chisholm – will likely, unfortunately, get life lessons over time that will show them that personality traits, in and of themselves, are scarcely enough to make waves effectively.

(++++) THE REVISERS

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-3; Concert Fantasy; Allegro in C minor; Hungarian Gypsy Melodies. Andrej Hoteev, piano; Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra Moscow conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev. Hänssler Classic. $22.99 (3 CDs).

Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 (1889 version). Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Mariss Jansons. BR Klassik. $16.99.

     Who would have thought that Tchaikovsky’s music suffered the same well-meaning depredations so familiar in the music of Bruckner? That skilled but misguided supporters and editors of Tchaikovsky’s works for piano and orchestra would have mangled and damaged and rearranged and “simplified” them in their zeal to smooth out their elements of inelegance, as similarly misguided boosters of Bruckner did in the case of so many of his symphonies? Pianist/scholar Andrej Hoteev discovered in the late 1990s that Tchaikovsky’s piano-and-orchestra works had indeed been subjected to unfortunate, wrongheaded modifications, some of which were proposed directly to the composer, soundly rejected by him, and implemented anyway after his death. The guilty parties, Hoteev found, were Alexander Siloti (1863-1945) and Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915), two strong boosters of Tchaikovsky’s music who nevertheless felt it needed changes in order to be more performable and more attractive to audiences. In this their thinking was closer to that of Franz Schalk and other Bruckner revisers than to that of, say, Rimsky-Korsakov, who smoothed over much of the cragginess of Mussorgsky but in so doing really did render his music, such as Night on Bald Mountain, more acceptable to listeners – certainly by the standards of the time.

     It is difficult to understand fully the motivations of Siloti and Taneyev when it comes to some of the most egregious modifications of Tchaikovsky’s music: Siloti’s hacking down of the second movement of Piano Concerto No. 2 to eliminate the triple-concerto structure that Tchaikovsky deliberately and carefully created, and Taneyev’s reduction of the three-movement Piano Concerto No. 3 to a single movement – with the other two published separately, under a different title, and in Taneyev’s own orchestration. Performance difficulties may account for the former, the unorchestrated-by-Tchaikovsky nature of the otherwise complete second and third movements for the latter. But Siloti and Taneyev – and others – took further liberties with Tchaikovsky that are even harder to countenance. The first movement of Piano Concerto No. 1 is marked Andante ma non troppo, but that was changed to Allegro ma non troppo. Similarly, the first movement of Piano Concerto No. 2 is marked Allegro brillante, but it was changed to Allegro brillante e molto vivace. In both cases, this speeds up the music, reducing its grandeur and expansiveness and turning the concertos into something closer to virtuoso vehicles. Then there is the matter of the Concert Fantasy. Tchaikovsky himself always called it a concerto, but Taneyev thought not, and went so far as to suggest that the first of the two movements could be performed as a standalone piece.

     There is, to be sure, a kind of academic-ness to disputes over matters of tempo and comparatively minor abridgments or alterations of music, and certainly Tchaikovsky’s piano-and-orchestra works survived Siloti’s and Taneyev’s (and publishers’) modifications, bringing enormous pleasure to audiences unaware of exactly what the composer originally intended. Yet as is quite clear from a Hänssler Classic re-release of Hoteev’s 1998 presentation of all Tchaikovsky’s music for piano and orchestra in original, unabridged form, the composer’s intentions result, time and again, in music of greater originality and different (although not necessarily greater) impact than what audiences have become accustomed to (as may, incidentally, also be said of Mussorgsky’s originals compared with those modified by Rimsky-Korsakov). Hoteev’s stately, statuesque Piano Concerto No. 1 and very extended Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Viktor Simon on cello and Mikhail Shestakov on violin in the “triple concerto” second movement) shed new light on the works – the second concerto’s scale here actually matches that of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. The Concert Fantasy has more heft and grandeur here than usual, and Piano Concerto No. 3 really does sound fully formed as a three-movement work – and stands in strong contrast to the “Pathétique” symphony, which Tchaikovsky composed at the same time. The shorter works here – the early Allegro in C minor and the Liszt-derived Hungarian Gypsy Melodies – have some interesting background of their own, although they are not the main attraction of this exceptional three-CD set. Also here, and enough to send chills down the spine of music lovers, is a very short speech (in Russian) by Tchaikovsky himself, as recorded on an Edison wax cylinder in 1890. Given the provenance of the works researched and performed by Hoteev, and presented with such skill by him and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra Moscow under Vladimir Fedoseyev, the verbal appearance of the composer himself seems to create an imprimatur of authenticity for this entire project. It certainly deserves one: however well-meaning (or short-sighted) Siloti and Taneyev may have been, this is how Tchaikovsky himself wanted his music for piano and orchestra to come across to audiences.

     Still, when it comes to the championship (which is not really the right word) of untoward modifications of great composers’ works, Bruckner remains at the forefront. A new BR Klassik release of a very well-balanced, well-played and convincing recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3, featuring the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Mariss Jansons, shows why. Jansons (1943-2019) conducted this performance in 2005 – it is a live recording – and made the work as stately, clear and well-paced as an audience could wish. That, however, assumes the audience wants the 1889 Nowak version of this much-revised symphony. There are no fewer than six versions of Bruckner’s Third, and the first one published, which dates to 1890, is very rarely performed, since parts are certainly modified by Franz Schalk and his brother Josef, and no one is entirely sure which parts. Therefore, conductors who, like Jansons, favor the “late” Third, use the 1889 version, which significantly cuts the first movement and finale and removes the coda that the Scherzo had possessed earlier. Unlike some of the issues with Tchaikovsky’s piano-and-orchestra music, these are not trifling alterations and not merely a matter of academic discussion and musicological back-and-forth arguments. The Third was Bruckner’s breakthrough symphony, the first in which the genuinely original elements of his style came to the fore, and it was also his tribute to Wagner, to whom Bruckner showed it and who accepted its dedication. But what Wagner saw was the first version of the symphony, from 1873, which contained numerous references to Wagner’s works (Rienzi, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walküre). That Third was a 70-some-minute symphony that perhaps overreached in some ways but that possessed a monumentalism and majesty that disappeared as the work went through revision after revision. There are also a little-known 1874 version, of similar length to the 1873 original; an 1876 version, not performed until as recently as 2019, that removes some Wagner quotations but inserts one from Tannhäuser; and a revision of 1877-78. The extent to which Bruckner himself was dissatisfied with the symphony vs. his response to others’ unhappiness with it is by no means clear, but the versions differ in so many ways that they are almost on the same level as the two versions of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 4, which are almost entirely different works. There is a very strong argument to be made for performing the 1873 version much of the time, fitting as it does within Bruckner’s stylistic development (although the following Symphony No. 4 was also much revised); there is also a good argument for playing the more-manageable 1889 version that Jansons uses, which is a quarter of an hour shorter than the 1873 original. This is no longer a “Wagner symphony” by 1889, but it is a generally well-proportioned one that is fully “Brucknerian” in stylistic terms. It works well – at least until the finale. However well Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks handle this movement, it remains something of a disappointment, not so much truncated as comparatively superficial, as if Bruckner is going through the paces of a “Bruckner finale” rather than assembling one painstakingly as he did when still perfecting the form in 1873. The result is inevitably something of a letdown, even in as well-played a rendition as this one. Jansons does his best with the music, and the orchestra’s warmth and quality of ensemble are as exemplary as always. But this 1889-version Bruckner Third simply does not sound as if it fulfills a compelling vision for the composer: it is not exactly slick, but it is a bit too polished to have the emotional heft of the less-well-balanced 1873 version. Bruckner’s Third is worth hearing in any version and almost any performance, and certainly this one by Jansons is very fine. But it also stands as a cautionary tale, showing the pitfalls for composers – the great ones, anyway – when they accept emendations and recommendations by others, no matter how well-intended the suggested changes may be.