“It's not often you hear cries of ‘encore’ after a Bruckner symphony, but I would gladly have heard this one repeated in full” wrote ‘The Guardian’ back in 2012 when Donald Runnicles and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performed Bruckner’s colossal Eighth Symphony at the BBC Proms. And nearly a decade on, no Scottish conductor – arguably no living conductor – understands the beauty and truth of Bruckner’s symphonies better than our Conductor Emeritus. If you already know and love the Eighth, this is self-recommending. If you don’t, all you really need to know is that as well as containing some of 19th-century music’s most glorious peaks, this immense symphony also contains some of its most intimate poetry: unsurprisingly, for a work that embodies one man’s lifelong search for redemption. Here, in a truly inspired touch, Runnicles and soprano Carolyn Sampson have paired it with ‘Correspondances’, by the late Henri Dutilleux: a ravishing meditation on the transient sweetness of life, expressed in music to pierce both heart and soul.
The concert will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3.