Bruckner: Symphony No. 2

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Symphony No. 2
PERFORMER: National SO of Ireland/Georg Tintner
CATALOGUE NO: 8.554006
I was impressed by this octogenarian Viennese conductor’s disc of the Fifth (October 1997). These two discs convince me he is a Brucknerian of the stature of Günter Wand. What will interest aficionados is the use here of the original 1872 version of No. 2, undoubtedly superior (as in the Third) to later revisions made by the composer. Tintner’s devotion to the work shines through, particularly in the trio, with its Offenbach-like barcarolle melody for the violas. The playing is excellent, the recording spaciously warm if occasionally bass-light. For the Sixth, the New Zealand-based Tintner uses local forces in a forthright performance which lays emphasis on Bruckner’s cross-rhythms. Sound textures are rich, the melodies of the slow movement particularly intense. The scherzo is steadily taken at a threatening three-in-a-bar tempo, the brass judiciously balanced; the trio flows along and the horns are full-sounded. The finale is, for Bruckner, a relatively weak movement – it can sound disjointed and the brass can dominate. Tintner’s performance avoids such traps. Christopher Fifield