This is a bloody marvellous Bruckner 6. (I wonder if Chandos will use that in its publicity.) For whatever reason this recording has been held back (from July 10 & 11, 2012, MediaCityUK, Salford), there surely cannot be any doubts as to this being a glorious performance.

Juanjo Mena judges the opening Majestoso to perfection (from the off the, as I hear it, violins’ Morse-code motif is crisply delineated) – suitably majestic in its striding (so much better than rushing and blurring, a recent unfortunate trend from some conductors), giving the first movement an internal impetus rather than an imposed one: the music expands wonderfully, not least the heavenly if yearning ‘third subject’ (my term: 3’42”-4’06”; 12’27”-12’51”), here spine-tingling in its space and rapture, heaved, the notes given fullest value and deepest intensity, transporting in effect, and how well Mena interprets Bruckner’s Bedeutend langsamer (significantly slower) directions, shapeliness and expression heading the conductor’s priorities. Plenty of power when required, with notable attention given to timpani and the contrapuntalism in the bass lines (whether bowed or pizzicato), faithfully captured in Stephen Rinker’s top-drawer engineering; never harsh; depth of sound and perspective; clarity.

Following this poised and compelling opening movement – all your correspondent’s boxes having been ticked – comes a spacious (twenty-minute) and heartrending reading of the poignant/soulful Adagio (including funereal timpani taps), poetic oboe and refulgent strings (led for these sessions by Lucy Gould) adding to the spiritual solace this music yields, and so-well sustained under ‘red-light’ conditions. (I get the impression that producer Mike George allowed each movement to unfold as long takes; whole, organic.)

Earthy vigour and numerous felicities of detail inform the Scherzo (I am in the minority liking Colin Davis’s deliberate tempo on LSO Live) – the Trio languorous if pointed as well as searching; excellent horns – and the Finale enjoys the thrill of the chase, yet with time for a dance and still-centre reflection, with something in reserve for a joyous arrival at the finishing post. Victory!

Dare I be presumptuous and suggest that Juanjo Mena and I love this Symphony in the same way. His conducting of it, using Leopold Nowak’s edition, and the BBC Phil’s dedicated response, is altogether special.

Many Happy Returns to conductor Juanjo Mena, 56 today.