BRUCKNER's 2nd SYMPHONY
PERFORMANCE: 9 out of 10. RECORDING: 9 out of 10.
THE VERSIONS OF THE 2nd SYMPHONY:
There are 5 versions of this symphony. The first modern edition (by Robert Haas) is a composite of the 1877 version with elements of the 1872 version added. The second modern edition (by Leopold Nowak) apparently only indicates where the 1877 cuts should go and retains an error in the trumpet parts at the end of the first movement. (Often, conductors using the Nowak edition ignore many, if not all, of the cuts.) Since then, William Carragan edited the various versions of the 2nd and his editions supersede those of Haas and Nowak.
Tintner presents us with the original 1872 version (by Carragan). Many of the changes in the later versions involve rewrites, cuts and reorchestrations. Without going into a full discussion of all the changes, it should be said that the 1872 version is superior to the others because:
a) The scherzo comes second as break between the lyrical first movement and the slow movement;
b) The original horn ending of the slow movement is magical compared to the clarinet of later versions; &
c) There are no cuts.
It is true, there is a minor problem of orchestral balance at the very end of the finale, but Tintner overcomes that as well.
This CD lives up to the high standards that Dr. Tintner and Naxos have set. I hope that it will discourage the use of the later versions of this symphony. I heartily recommend the entire series to all those who are unfamiliar with the composer and to comparative "Brucknerheads".