If I had a time machine, one of the musical events I would like to go back to is the premiere of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in 1910. It was a success that sealed the composer’s reputation, and I’ve often thought that hearing it might help me to understand how to make a performance of this wildly ambitious symphony truly compelling. Of all his nine symphonies, this is the one, I confess, that I struggled to love. Until now, that is, thanks to a superlative performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Vladimir Jurowski.

Vladimir Jurowski

Captured live in good sound at a 2017 performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the “Symphony of a Thousand” really does live up to its nickname. The massed voices of four choirs create a thrilling wall of sound, more than making up for any slightly shaky moments of ensemble. The organ thunders, the orchestra offers a kaleidoscope of colour, with instrumental solos effectively spot-lit. All eight soloists are in fine voice, expressive and fervent. Jurowski pulls off the...