Here's a quick run-down of my history with the Bruckner Symphonies..
The first Bruckner I heard was Solti's 4th, on LP from some record club. Always thought it was a great performance. I've also always been fond of Bruno Walters Columbia recording. Surprisingly good sound for the time. I haven't heard many other 4ths over the years that can rival those two, though I do believe my collection now includes a Salonen version I got from BMG.. to be honest, the 4th just doesn't move me like it used to.
The 5th.. I remember fondly a recording by Jochum that a friend had.. I think there were two.. one on DG and one on EMI.. not sure. Anyway, my current, and only version of this one that I currently own is by Dohnanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra. A fine recording, I enjoy it.. but I don't have much to compare it to right now.
The 6th.. I've mentioned Skrowaczewski's version that I have.. again, it's the only 6th I'm familiar with. I hadn't heard the 6th in many many years, and when I first got the Skrowacewski recording, it was like hearing it for the first time. The 6th might just be my 3rd favorite Bruckner Symphony.
The 7th.. I had ignored this work for years.. it never really connected with me.. In my younger years I liked the 4th and 8th more.. but I think today, and at least for the past, almost 10 years, my favorite Bruckner Symphony is the 7th.. and I've been stocking up on versions.. my first was a Chailly London vinyl version that I got from record club.. I haven't listened to it in a long time, but I remember that the last time I visisted it, it was quite impressive. I also have: Karajan.. yes, probably my favorite.. also.. Masur, Rattle, and Matacic (on Denon). I can't get over the slow movement of this sucker.. I think the Adagio of the 8th is more cinematic (if you could all something cinematic before there were movies) and more, I don't know, just gushing and almost overly sentimental. The slow movement of the 7th is just solumn, stately, and just reserved enough that it doesn't over saturate the listener like the Adagio of the 8th does. Don't get me wrong, I love the 8th, my 2nd favorite Bruckner symphony.. it's just taken a back seat to the 7th for me.
As for the 8th... even though I don't currently own it, the DG recording by Carlo Maria Guilini is just amazing. Big, long, and probably the least sentimental of the versions I've heard. My other stand-by is a live recording by Lovro von Matacic on Denon. Fantastic peformance that one, though it has cuts, I think that the Guilini peformance doesn't. I also have the Szell 3rd/8th combo.. but I don't care much for Szell's tempos in the 8th.. I guess I like the scherzo done with some, shall we say, liberties. If one takes the exact same tempo throughout the movement, the middle section is just too fast and goes by in a flash. Man you need time to let those harp strings breathe! So, I'm all for slowing the middle section of the scherzo way down. Works just fine for me. I have to admit, that, if I'm in the right mood, the slow movement of the 8th does come across as some of the most beautiful music ever composed.. but other times, it does come across as a little over indulgent.
As for the 9th, I've only ever owned a recording by Bernard Haitink. and I've had that one for probably 15 years.. probably time I invest in a new one. I've never heard the completed version, I'd like to, but it's not something I'm going to actively seek out right now.
that's the basics.. I'm sure I forgot a few.. but the main thing is.. as of late.. late being the past 8 years or so.. the 7th has been my favorite.