A live recording of Bernard Haitink conducting Bruckner's greatest symphony with the orchestra of which he was chief conductor for almost a quarter of a century ought to be recommend itself. But there is something strangely uninvolving about this performance, taken from a concert in Amsterdam in February this year. Goodness knows Haitink's moulded subtlety, and the intense beauty of sound he obtains from the Concertgebouw orchestra, are infinitely preferable to the heavy-handed aggrandisement that Christian Thielemann inflicted on Bruckner's equally monumental Fifth in his recent recording. But there is still something missing, a sense of the music's dangerous extremes, its moments of exultation as much as its introspection; they are qualities that Haitink regularly brings to Bruckner, but here they have been replaced by far more moderate and far less interesting.
CD: Bruckner: Symphony no 8
(RCO Live, two SACDs)