Vänskä’s recent cycle of Beethoven recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra demonstrated he has more strings to his bow than Sibelius, and Beethoven symphonies will be their main calling card at the Proms and the Edinburgh festival at the end of August.
This Bruckner CD finds them moving deeper into German symphonic territory, with a similar stamp of interpretation: high-definition ensemble and well-sprung tempi that strike a balance between tradition and a modern spring-clean. There is nothing remotely ponderous about this performance – the emphasis is on spring-coil energy, vividly so in the Scherzo – but neither do we get much sense of the transcendental.
I find Vänskä’s dynamism effective on its own terms, and his mid-Western orchestra responds to his will with flawless spirit, avoiding the brassiness that can mar American orchestras’ performances of Bruckner.
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