BBC Music Magazine Double 5 Stars.
On disc as well as in concert, Thomas Dausgaard and his Swedish Chamber Orchestra have attracted a growing international interest. The team regularly visits some of the world’s leading concert venues, and just recently their performance of Schumann’s Second Symphony at the BBC Proms made a great impact on audience and critics alike. Precisely Schumann’s symphonies have featured in Dausgaard’s and the SCO’s series ‘Opening Doors’ on BIS, in which Romantic symphonies are performed with smaller than usual numbers – to great critical acclaim: ‘The most perceptive Schumann cycle in over three decades’ was the verdict in International Record Review. The sequel to the Schumann recordings was a disc combining Schubert’s Unfinished and Great C major Symphonies, described in BBC Radio 3’s CD Review as ‘a crisp, clean account that somehow seems to strip away layers of silt to get a clear view of the colours underneath.’ Dausgaard and the forty-odd members of the SCO now take on a composer whose symphonies often are regarded as the epitome of Romantic grandeur, not to say bulkiness – Anton Bruckner, and his Second Symphony. The recording thus becomes a sort of test of how the ‘Opening Doors’ concept can be applied to music from the High Romantic period. Thomas Dausgaard himself finds in this work ‘a feeling of a very personal prayer – as if Bruckner was meditating and improvising at the organ’ and goes on to describe the experience of performing it with the SCO as ‘a kind of collective chamber-musical improvisation with a strong symphonic undercurrent. I hope Bruckner would have liked it...’