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CD Review

Anton Bruckner

Symphony #3 in D minor
(1873 Original Version, ed. Nowak)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Georg Tintner
Naxos 8.553454
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This disc arrived at a weird time. I was still thinking about Maestro Tintner's recent death, and then, here in Mount Vernon, Ohio, a mother and her daughter both died in a freak auto accident. The grief and sympathy that the city expressed was touching. The cars and lines from the funeral home tied up traffic along the town square two blocks away. Then, this disc arrived.

I don't want to get existentialist on you or anything, but the juxtaposition of the recent events with this arrival of this CD provided a most interesting philosophical tour for me. And, yes, you are blessed; I will not bore you with all the details. I can say that each evening as I listened I thought about those events

Bruckner is the most spiritual composer I know. His music evokes cathedrals and a view of heaven that is purely of his time. It is an idealistic, romantic vision of life and God. His music soothes rather than rages. As this recording opens, you feel its presence before the music emerges from the mists. Listen to how Tintner has the strings play at 14:00 into the fourth movement. This is one of those many moments that sets this interpretation aside from the more run-of-the-mill recordings like Haitink's. Of course, this version is also a "different" one, but that misses the point. This is not just a different version; it is a different perception. Woodwind playing throughout is beautiful. As the symphony drew to its close I muttered, "That was nice."

As I have listened to this cycle from the first disc, I have had an opportunity to study Bruckner more so than before. At one time in my musical development I opined that Brucker 'didn't write nine symphonies, he wrote one symphony nine times.' Now I know better. Maestro Tintner has helped me to realize that each symphony that Bruckner wrote offers a different view of eternity, a different facet. I rank Georg's achievements with those of the only other great Brucknarian I know, Furtwängler. You don't get praise any higher than that. And, yes, Georg, you were a Maestro.

Copyright © 2000, Robert Stumpf II