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Symphony No. 7
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Symphonie n° 7, WAB 107 / Royal Scottish National Orchestra, dir. Georg Tintner
You don't succeed in recording the Bruckner symphonies unless you start with a first-rate orchestra and a conductor who knows the music. Naxos is to be commended for putting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the disposal of Viennese-born Georg Tintner for its recent round of Bruckner recordings, which includes this inspired account of the Seventh Symphony. Tintner, whose death by suicide in October 1999 left many in the music world with a deep sense of loss, was an old-school Brucknerian with a master's ear for texture and an infallible sense of pacing and rubato. This reading of the Seventh, recorded in 1997 when he was 80, unfolds majestically and has an inner fire reminiscent of the best of Jochum's highly regarded accounts.
Tintner uses the Haas edition of the score (Bruckner lovers disagree passionately over editions, but, generally speaking, the Haas edition is superior to the later Nowak), and rightly eschews the cymbal crash at the climax of the Adagio. With outstanding help from the SNO, particularly its resplendent brass section, he creates a living, breathing tissue of sound across all four movements of the symphony, making a statement as gentle, noble, and radiant as the music itself. The recording is top-notch, and there are excellent notes by Tintner himself that shed welcome light on the music as well as the interpreter. Those who come to Bruckner for the first time through these recordings will have much to be grateful for, both to Naxos and to Tintner. --Ted Libbey
Top Customer Reviews
Tintner gives us his own view of the symphony in a liner-note that I found very interesting and rather touching too. Once again the keynote is earnest innocence. I learn, for instance, regarding the first movement that '...unexpectedly a third melody, very different from either the first or the second, appears like an austere rhythmic dance. With these three building blocks the composer gives us one of the loveliest first movements in all music'. Surely this is the right mindset for interpreting this composer, I thought to myself. I listened with placid contentment throughout as we crossed the wide symphonic meadows of the three main movements, and I put aside impious recollections of the gods entering Valhalla at the conclusion of each, hard though that sequence was to dispel from my mind each time. The slow movement in particular was to my liking taken at Tintner's comparatively flowing tempo, which I hope and believe manages to qualify as the composer's 'sehr langsam'.Read more ›
RECORDINGS: 9 out of 10.
THE VERSIONS OF THE 7th SYMPHONY:
There is only one surviving manuscript of the symphony. Apparently, some changes were written in (not always by Bruckner but possibly with his sanction.) and some were pasted in. The two modern editions (by Haas and Nowak) are different interpretations of the one manuscript. Nowak sanctions the added tempo changes which unfortunately interrupt the flow of the music. (To be fair, Nowak puts them in parentheses and leaves the issue for conductors to decide.) This leaves the question of the extra percussion that was added to the climax of the slow movement. Many authorities consider this addition to be tacky.
Therefore, except for the extra percussion, and if the tempo fluctuations are ignored, Nowak came up with results quite similar to Haas. Personally, I think that the Haas edition (which is the one Tintner used) wins on points.
This CD lives up to the high standards that Dr. Tintner and Naxos have set. I heartily recommend the entire series to all those who are unfamiliar with the composer and to comparative "Brucknerheads".
The orchestra and conductor are equal to the occasion, and so is the recorded sound.