Decca did not set out to record all nine major symphonies of Anton Bruckner with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, but between May 1965 and March 1974 that is what transpired. The series began with the Ninth, the debut recording of Zubin Mehta, continuing with Georg Solti in the Seventh and Eighth, and Claudio Abbado in the lesser-known First. Karl Böhm’s critically acclaimed Third and Fourth appeared in 1970, and finally Lorin Maazel and Horst Stein completed the assignment. These VPO recordings were reissued as a set in Japan in 1991. Eloquence has now re-released them with remastered sound and the original cover art. While the orchestra’s famous sheen is much in evidence, the performances vary in quality. I’m not enamoured of Maazel’s hard-edged Fifth or Stein’s heavy-handed Sixth, but Böhm’s Fourth positively glows, while Mehta’s Ninth and Abbado’s First show those two young conductors at their exciting early best. Solti had just recorded Wagner’s Ringwith this orchestra...

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