|About this Recording
8.557235 - BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 4 / SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 2 (Tintner Edition 3)
TINTNER MEMORIAL EDITION • VOLUME 3
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No.4 in B flat major, Op.60 Performance recorded 10 February 1988
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Symphony No.2 in C major, Op.61 Performance recorded 9 January 1991
This recording contains music written by two of Maestro Tintner’s greatest loves. Of Beethoven he said:
“The Beethoven of the Third and Fifth symphonies is what I call the “official Beethoven,” the Beethoven who grips into the truth of Fate, the one who defied the gods and was punished for it. But may I say, to me that is not even the greatest Beethoven. There is the Beethoven of the Pastoral and Fourth Symphonies, many of his supremely great piano sonatas. There is none of this defiance, none of that sort of almost boasting with one’s own strength. There is something gentle, delicate - humorous, but not that sort of biting, almost grotesque humour that you find in most of his works. It is unfortunately true that that sort of quality started to diminish with his personal tragedy of deafness.
“It is the completely new ideal of fraternity, equality and liberty that attracted Beethoven and which shined like a beacon, crystal clear though his work. It is very interesting to realise that as far as the actual material of his musical language is concerned Beethoven was far less of a revolutionary than many others. You find very few progressions or chords that in one way or another haven’t been used by other people before. But the way he uses them is so entirely new and so entirely his own that Beethoven is immediately recognisable as such. It is because of a completely different attitude to Art and to life. Beethoven was what one would nowadays call a salon communist, who accepted the comforts and privileges of the aristocracy and yet in his heart totally rejected and despised them. This contradiction is in him, as are many others. But what I consider greatest in him is none of these things, though they are very great. Though he believed so passionately in these new ideals of the French Revolution, in the dignity of man, though in his private life he was almost oozing with self pity, also sometimes with self righteousness, in his art you find no trace whatsoever of these. It is as though his music went through a filter. That seems to me one of the miracles of his art, that he could leave all that behind and give to the world what it will need as long as music exists at all.
“By his identification with the new, and what would now be called the progressive, he is that composer whom every young person will love without limits, and “young” is here not a matter of age either. It is that age where these wonderful ideals are still untarnished. That is why he didn’t only give us immense joy, as many other great composers did, but he gives us that sort of strength and faith in the ultimate destiny of humanity. It may be a mistaken and misguided optimistic Utopia, yet life would be practically intolerable without it. And I would say that Beethoven contributed to this positive feeling, to this - whatever you want to call it - messianic hope, more than perhaps anyone else I know of, and that is why we all love and revere him.”
Schumann’s Symphony No.2 was in fact his third symphony, following the composition of No.1 and the first version of what is known as No.4, both in 1841. Following a nervous breakdown in 1844 Schumann sketched the symphony in only one week, in December 1845, although completion of the work took several painful months more. The work, in four movements, was premiered by Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig. Maestro Tintner has said of Schumann:
“There is one German word for which I haven’t yet found an English equivalent: Schwärmerisch. That is, sort of star gazing, that sort of exuberant adoration of something. This is in a nutshell what Romantic music is about.
“I want you also to think, but in a gentle way, of the inimitable sentence about Schumann by Friedrich Nietzsche. It is a play with words, in German, and you have to know that a youth is called Jüngling, and a spinster is called alte Jungfer. He said: ‘Schumann is the eternal youth in music, who very occasionally degenerates into a spinster’. This remark may not be the kindest, but it does show the tremendous virtues, and the occasional blemishes in his lesser works, better than what any musician has ever said about Schumann.”
Georg Tintner was born in Vienna in 1917. He began studying piano at the age of six and to compose soon after. From nine to thirteen he was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir, where he also conducted the choir in performances of his own compositions. At thirteen he entered the Vienna State Academy as a composition prodigy, studying composition with Josef Marx and conducting with Felix Weingartner. At eighteen he was the conductor of a training choir of the Vienna Boys Choir, and trained the choir for a performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with Bruno Walter in 1936. His compositions were being performed in concert and broadcast by Austrian Radio, and at nineteen he became assistant conductor at the Vienna Volksoper.
In 1938 he fled the Nazis, spending a year in England before emigrating to New Zealand. For several years he ran a poultry farm – as a result of which he became a total vegetarian – before becoming Music Director of the Auckland String Players and Auckland Choral Society in 1947. He was also an avowed socialist and pacifist, and as such he rode a bicycle as “a symbol of the ultimate in harmlessness”.
In 1954 he went to Australia as Resident Conductor of the National Opera and then the Elizabethan Opera. In the following years he toured Australia widely and pioneered television opera with the Australian Broadcasting Commission. In 1964 he was Music Director of the New Zealand Opera, and in 1966-67 was Music Director of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra. Although offered an extended contract, Tintner left for political reasons. He went to London and Sadler’s Wells (English National Opera) for three years, with guest appearances with the London Mozart Players, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia and the London Symphony Orchestra for the BBC.
He returned to Australia in 1970 as Music Director of the West Australian Opera Company. In 1971 he was invited as Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, a visit so successful that it was repeated seven times. Tintner had a special rapport with young musicians, conducting many concerts with the national youth orchestras of several countries. A 1974 series of lectures have been broadcast many times in English-speaking countries, and he was renowned for his concert introductions, some of which may be heard in this edition.
Tintner’s repertoire included 56 operas, about two-thirds of which he conducted from memory. In 1974 he became Senior Resident Conductor of the Australian Opera for two years. While there he conducted now-legendary performances of Fidelio, expressive of his lifelong commitment to compassionate humanism. From 1976 Tintner was Music Director of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra until moving to Canada at the end of 1987 as Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia. He appeared with all Australian, New Zealand orchestras and opera companies, and later with all major Canadian orchestras including the Montreal and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. In the United States he toured with the Canadian Brass and appeared with the Michigan Opera Theatre.
He made many commercial recordings, including some for the CBC which are being reissued in the present Memorial Edition. His Naxos series of all eleven Bruckner symphonies brought him worldwide acclaim in his final two years.
Georg Tintner has been honoured in four countries. He was awarded several honorary doctorates, and honours including the Officer’s Cross of the Austrian Order Of Merit. He was a Member of the Order of Canada
He died in Halifax in October 1999.
Symphony Nova Scotia
Symphony Nova Scotia (SNS) is Canada’s only fully professional symphony orchestra east of Quebec City. Founded in 1983, the 37 musicians of Symphony Nova Scotia have a mandate “to enhance the quality of life of citizens of Nova Scotia.” Symphony Nova Scotia is dedicated to sharing live classical music with audiences across Nova Scotia through its concerts, and with all Canadians through its many CBC broadcasts. The orchestra also collaborates with other music, theatre, and dance partners, and has recently established the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus.
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