Bruckner and Mahler are the frequently-paired giants of Romantic symphonic writing, yet their music could scarcely be more different. Bruckner created a very personal style expressing immense struggle, tragedy and ultimate triumph across a vast musical timescale. Despite the enormous size of the late Romantic orchestra, Bruckner also revels in the intimacy of chamber music-style instrumental groupings, giving even his grandest symphonies moments of magical clarity. His grandly arching melodies seem to yearn for sublimity. Conductor Georg Tintner brought a lifetime of experience, and an abiding love of this repertoire, to bare on his Naxos recordings.
Mahler expands the scope of the symphony even further - he famously argued with Sibelius that a symphony should contain the universe - and he created an unmistakably modern musical language by including sounds from the ‘outside world’, using cowbells, military band music, uncommon wind instruments, mandolins and guitars, even vocal soloists and chorus. His 8th symphony is known as the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ because of the huge performing forces it requires. Yet, again, Mahler also evokes tender intimacy and humanity among the tumult.