There could hardly be a more spectacular way to celebrate the end of a conductor’s tenure than to perform Mahler’s so-called “Symphony of a Thousand”.

After 19 eventful years helming the Minnesota Orchestra, that’s exactly what Osmo Vänskä did in June 2022. Unfortunately, COVID did rain a little on Vänskä’s parade. Apart from some masked singers and players, the artist who was to have sung the first soprano solo contracted the virus two days before. Fortunately, British soprano Carolyn Sampson who was singing one of the other soprano solos valiantly stepped up to ensure the show did indeed go on.

And what a show it was. There is much to admire in this Mahler Eight, starting with an astonishingly forthright account of Part I, a setting of the Latin Pentecost hymn Veni, creator spiritus. Here Vänskä obeys the Allegro impetuoso marking almost to a fault, striding through its monumental musical architecture like some giant escaped from Gulliver’s Travels, making heightened contrasts between the tutti sections and those moments of repose featuring the vocal soloists.