Originally published on January 2

Great things are happening in Zürich with Paavo Järvi and this Bruckner Seven is further proof. It’s a richly expressive account (from January last year) covering sixty-five minutes – nicely halfway between, say, Gielen and Roth, http://www.colinscolumn.com/gurzenich-orchester-koln-francois-xavier-roth-records-anton-bruckners-seventh-symphony-for-myrios/, and those conductors who take the work into seventy-minute-plus territory.

How good to hear, at the start of Järvi’s dynamic interpretation, the second violins placed to the right of the conductor and the sonorous cellos emerging from centre-right dovetailing with the further-back basses. Järvi’s flexible view of the first movement is persuasive (a diversity of pace that suggests he is using Nowak’s edition; Alpha’s annotation is silent on the matter) and yet it all adds up. Just occasionally the ear is anticipating a particularly relished detail when Järvi highlights a different one, albeit illuminatingly, and overall there is much consideration underling the opening movement; how different to his Frankfurt Radio taping for RCA I cannot say.

The slow movement – Richard Wagner in memoriam – flows without losing its soulfulness, played with intensity as well as light and shade, the goal being the climax, which here burns brightly (for once I don’t mind the cymbal clash) and there’s plenty of sorrow in what follows. The Scherzo is certainly Sehr schnell, tightly rhythmic, too, the Trio ideally languorous with a simmering ardour; and the Finale moves along, rather Haydnesque in perkiness, which gives the brass statements (for which Järvi broadens the tempo) extra gravitas and the movement itself notable solemnity; the ultimate coda shines, any loose ends resolutely tied.

Beautifully played and superbly recorded, this Bruckner Seven is very recommendable as part of the ongoing Zürich/Järvi success story and as a version to shortlist for the library. Alpha 932 is released on January 27.

Paavo Järvi & Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich record music by John Adams for Alpha Classics.