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It's all about the music, dude! Sit down, relax and listen to some tunes.

Great post, Mike! - I'd leave out your bullet No. 7 however

A lot of it is just speculation on your part, and that kind of behavior could just as easily come from the non-gay world too.

But on to the main part of your post, those are really great observations. I've always thought that the Sixth would be an ideal introduction to Bruckner for the non-specialist listener. It's a very concise work for Bruckner (or so it seems to me), and I love the opening theme, with its suggestion of the A-Phrygian mode! (Bruckner almost never uses modal scales in his symphonies.) It gives the theme an air of exoticism that is almost unique to this movement among his output.

I first heard the work in a recording by Heinz Bongartz and the LGO on one of those cheapo Philips LP's in the late 60's / early 70's - it was originally recorded in 1964. I have the CD re-issue of this performance on the Berlin Classics label, and I feel that this recording still holds its own, in terms of both performance and engineering. However, if I were recommending a single recording of this work now, it would have to be the Blomstedt/LGO SACD on the Querstand label. Unfortunately, Querstand is not a well known label, so I don't think this recording is getting the recognition it deserves: the in-concert performance and engineering are both magnificent - and I really feel you need close to state of the art engineering for these big, densely-textured late-nineteenth-century symphonies. So for me, this is really the one to get:

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