This absorbing and illuminating eighty-one-minute account of the mighty Eighth (as revised and here using Robert Haas’s edition) heralds a Bruckner Symphony Cycle from Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic. From the expectant (and unanimous) opening to a glorious realisation of the ultimate coda, where all the clans gather, here is a veteran Bruckner orchestra and a conductor steeped in this music’s performance history doing great things together – details and figurations viewed afresh aided by antiphonal violins, potent basses to the left – for an Eighth that is atmospheric, living and breathing, ardent and expressive, powerful and passionate, and with a surety of structure but without being hidebound within it, eddies of excitability en route to climaxes and journey’s end wholly natural. The music’s agony and ecstasy is especially well-caught (the first movement’s fortissimos erupt in anguish), the Scherzo strides like a locomotive in its prime, and the slow movement, intensely moulded, is serene and visionary. If I’d have liked louder and harder-hitting timpani at 0:22 in the Finale (Maazel/Berlin the yardstick here) there is much that thrills and moves during this contrasting movement, and throughout. Recorded at two concerts in the Goldener Saal of the Musikverein in October last year (applause rightly removed), the venue’s space and splendour, and the performers’ dynamism and sensitivity, are faithfully captured by engineer Christian Gorz. Thielemann’s broadening of the final few seconds emphasises that we have just witnessed an overwhelming arrival. Destination: Heaven. Unmissable on Sony Classical 19439786582.