Netherlands Radio Philharmonic/van Zweden
Bruckner: Symphony No 6
REGULAR readers, aware of this listener's dyed-in-the-wool Brucknerphobia, might be surprised to see a Bruckner symphony getting anywhere near this space. There is a reason. I have long been an admirer of Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden. He brings something fresh to whatever he does, and I've never noticed any second-hand thinking in his work. With his marvellous Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra he is undertaking a cycle of Bruckner's nine symphonies on the Challenge Classics record label. The Third Symphony is out there already; now comes the Sixth Symphony, more rare in performance than some of the others. This has big, sonorous themes, memorable lyricism and some damn good tunes. So what's van Zveden's secret? Why doesn't he bulldoze, like so many? Hard to say, but he does bring a definite spring to the step of the music: it's uncharacteristically light on its feet; and that gives it a strong sense of momentum, a feature I seldom detect in music that so often lumbers.