Bring on the Bruckner! So far, http://www.colinscolumn.com/christian-thielemann-records-bruckner-8-with-the-vienna-philharmonic-for-sony-classical/, http://www.colinscolumn.com/christian-thielemann-the-vienna-philharmonic-record-bruckners-third-symphony-for-sony-classical/, and http://www.colinscolumn.com/released-today-october-8-christian-thielemann-the-vienna-philharmonic-record-bruckners-fourth-symphony-for-sony-classical/ – of which No.3 was a little disappointing, while Nos.4 & 8 are magnificent and indispensable.

So too this Second Symphony (1872). Thielemann chooses the 1877 score in William Carragan’s editing and conducts it with imperious insight. Tempos are (mostly) ideally judged – to encompass direction, powerful outbursts and wonderment –, detailing is immaculate, and when the Vienna Philharmonic is of a collective will to go that extra mile, as it does here, then the results are compelling and illuminating.

In a performance, superbly recorded (April 2019, Musikverein), during which the conductor’s judgement is spot-on, the first movement has a forward motion that is thrilling, yet equally well catered for are the music’s recesses, those moments when a far-away vista is conjured, which seep into the slow movement, here intensely eloquent and intimately poetic, played raptly – magical pianissimos and with notable horn solos, and also scaling impassioned heights. The Scherzo sprints while retaining articulacy (if Carragan prints repeats, Thielemann leaves them out – No.2 is a thorny problem in terms of versions), the Trio sings, and the Finale builds on the first movement’s contrasts of going places and musing on the view: one episode (4:26-6:23) might be termed ‘Romance by Moonlight’, so spacious is Thielemann’s tempo, musically very beautiful, if structurally questionable, but things are soon back on track for a resounding conclusion. Sony Classical 19439914122. Bring on the next Bruckner!