Although Reginald Goodall chiefly made his reputation in the opera house with Wagner, including a historic Ring cycle sung in English (on EMI), his symphonic tastes extended, quite naturally, to Bruckner. It's rare if not unheard of to hear a British conductor perform Bruckner from the Sixties and Seventies. To commemorate his achievements, BBC Legends have issued Goodall's live readings of the last three symphonies; this is the Bruckner Seventh broadcast in 1971 with the BBC Sym. Orch. The stereo sound is well balanced, full, and not at all compressed for the time. As a Brucknerian Goodall was not as notoriously slow as he was in Wagner, where his pacing could be glacial. What's more noticeable about this Seventh is its reserve and soft grain. Goodall leads meditative Bruckner, and if you cannot abide a reading with so much inwardness, boredom is sure to set in. Dramatic tension isn't what this conductor is aiming for.
I'm of mixed minds myself. I believe in judging a musician on the terms he sets out for a performance, yet my attention did tend to wander here. This is a style that asks you to come to it; it doesn't come to you. the tenderness that Goodall evokes is lovely, and he has the virtue of never being pompous, a virtue shred by the underrated Japanese conductor, and Bruckner specialist, Takashi Asahina. Be prepared for an adagio that almost reaches slackness, a Scherzo where repose is as common as forward motion, and a finale that tends toward the prosaic. In other words, I find myself admiring from a distance. As a generous filler we get the Prelude to Die Meistersinger with the orchestra of the English National Opera. It is low key but lovingly played.