I would never have spotted this if i had't stumbled across Richard Osborne's review in Grammophone's archives. Nagano is not a name I associate with Bruckner pedigree but Osborne's review starts with the line: "At last a performance that challenges Klemperer"...a big statement that had me pricking up my ears. And he is right. There is a weight, an immediacy and grand excitement right from the opening bars that has made me finally decide to give my middle-of-the-road Chailly/Concertgebouw cd away to someone i don't like! As with Klemperer but in a very different manner this elusive work gels with Nagano and the Deutches Symphonie Orchester (incidentally recorded in the Berlin Philharmonie with spectacular sound) in a way so few achieve. Even the holy trinity of Bruckner maestros, Jochum, Wand and Karajan, seem to stumble over the 6th.
The closing 3 minutes of the first movement sound more than ever like a heroic riding out of the magnificent seven on this recording with the brass particularly satisfying. This makes a wonderful contrast with opening of the Adagio, surely one of Bruckner's most heartfelt movements, which Nagano takes broadly but with flow, not the stagnatory inertia of Celibidache. The scherzo is faultless. The finale starts a little breathlessly but settles to deliver a truly magnificent peroration to this hugely underrated symphony.
Sadly i become less and less tolerant of the ageing sonics on some of my favourite performances of old, especially in the symphonies of Mahler and Bruckner where modern sound does so much to enhance the pleasure. If like me you are searching for an audiophile version to put beside your Klemperer then this is it.