Despite the big differences between them, there is a certain kinship between Bruckner’s ‘official’ nine symphonies (the ones he decided to call ‘valid’): the broadly expansive themes with their lengthy build-up of tension and the expectant tremolo of the strings (first introduced by Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony) at the beginning, from which the main theme wells up. Bruckner often gives the singsong, sometimes distinctly lyrical second theme a contrapuntal second voice. The third theme, on the other hand, is often monolithic, full of clenched energy, that bursts out in unison and goes on to develop a huge rhythmic force. Then there are the long drawn-out Adagios with their heavenly cantilenas and the starkly contrasting, waggish Scherzos, almost smelling of earth. They are all just as characteristic of Bruckner’s compositions as the broadness of the codas in the outer movements, introduced by a soft roll of the timpanis. But despite the similarities, all his symphonies are fundamentally and completely different and are certainly not interchangeable. This can be said of each of the movements separately and of the entire work.