Karajan's performances of Bruckner's music started in the 1930's and lasted until the end of his life. His last public conducting appearance was in a performance of the Seventh Symphony in April 1989 three months before he died.
His relationship with the Eighth Symphony, which some would say he loved and revered above all others, produced 63 performances and 5 celebrated recordings spanning the years 1937-1989. His interpretations always acknowledged the grand architectural structure of the music which in unsuccessful performances can often sound disjointed and lacking in unity.
"We see and hear him now at the height of his powers, superbly able to keep a Bruckner symphony spinning not like a top but rather like some celestial sphere - massive, glowing, and infused with cosmic power"
Denis Stevens referring to the 1988 recording.