“Whenever an orchestra plays Bruckner,” Christian Thielemann once declared, “then I’m happy.” And Bruckner’s music has indeed played a central role in the conductor’s happy relationship with the Dresden Staatskapelle, whose own Bruckner tradition dates back more than a century to its legendary music director Ernst von Schuch, who programmed practically all Bruckner’s symphonies with the then Hofkapelle in the years before his death in 1914. It was after conducting Bruckner’s Eighth with the Staatskapelle in 2009 that Thielemann himself was immediately appointed as the orchestra’s new Principal Conductor; and, since taking up the position in 2012, he has launched each new concert season in the city’s historic Semperoper with a Bruckner symphony, starting with the Seventh, then the Fifth and the Ninth, and now the Sixth – this recording of which completes Thielemann’s cycle of the mature Bruckner symphonies with the Staatskapelle Dresden, to add to their existing recordings of Nos. 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9.
The great Austrian symphonist himself called this symphony “die keckste” (“the sauciest” or perhaps even “the sexiest”) in a rhyming pun on “die Sechste” (The Sixth). For the Sächsische Zeitung this performance marked “another Bruckner triumph for Dresden (…) Staying in total control to the very end, Thielemann allowed nothing to drag or get out of hand, but revealed the greatness of the work with a rarely heard transparency and clarity. It could hardly have been better! Huge applause.”