Sometimes you experience a hitherto completely unfamiliar piece of music, which not only opens up another universe, both musical and spiritual, but also leaves an imprint that becomes a template for all subsequent accounts. One such experience for me was Herbert von Karajan’s 1958 recording of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. Karajan had recently succeeded Furtwängler as Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and made little secret of the fact that he (and a number of others) considered the appointment as his “Manifest Destiny”. This recording was a calling card to demonstrate what he was capable of with his new orchestra. I had no knowledge of the composer, but I’ll never forget the cataracts of sound which poured from my speakers. Karajan build like a Mughal emperor but finished like a Fabergé jeweller and his is still probably the slowest version in the catalogue. He recorded it twice subsequently and while these were both superb, neither quite replicated its aura.

Andris Nelsons

Nelson’s Leipzig Bruckner has been rightly lauded (except perhaps the Seventh) and this Eighth and the unjustly neglected Second are no exception....