Pairing one of the world's great orchestras with one of the day's top Brucknerians produces a superb performance. Chailly's eccentricity-free Eighth glows with conviction. He achieves his results through careful attention to the score, ensuring that every telling detail makes its effect without exaggeration. He secures phenomenal playing from his orchestra, and carefully calibrates dynamics and balances. The result for the listener is to forget about the mechanics of the work and be drawn into Bruckner's message of struggle and acceptance.
Throughout, one is amazed at the power of the Concertgebouw's low brass, its spectacular wind soloists, and its deep, rich strings. Chailly doesn't overplay the climaxes, so you may find more of the work's brute force elsewhere, but you get a better sense of the work's structure than most of the competition offers. And in the long, central Adagio and the Finale, his apt phrasing and precision produce a tremendous emotional effect. The Adagio movement, in particular, comes across as deeply moving, and Chailly communicates its underlying tensions, so that, for once, its great length never seems a minute longer than it has to be. One of the great Eighths, and one of the best engineered as well. --Dan Davis