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John Quinn
January 2005

"This further volume in the Naxos Tintner edition brings more performances recorded in concert by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In them, Georg Tintner conducts Symphony Nova Scotia, the orchestra of which he was Music Director from 1987 until his death in 1999.

Both performances were given before an audience and, in a nice touch, Naxos include Tintner’s brief spoken introductions. These are short and to the point. They include pleasing little touches of humour and Tintner gets his audience chuckling and establishes an evident rapport with them while making serious points about the music to be played. I’m glad these cameos have been retained.

In his opening remarks Tintner reminds the audience – and us – that in his Fourth Symphony Beethoven "for once looked backwards, not forwards" and he compares the piece with Haydn’s music. When he turns to conduct the symphony he encourages his players to convey just the right degree of tension in the pregnant introduction to the first movement. The main allegro displays buoyant enthusiasm. In all, this is a crisp, smiling performance, I think. The slow movement is nicely poised. Though the tempo indication is adagio Tintner allows the music to flow. The puckish third movement is well done, showing that the orchestra is on good form. As Tintner says, the shadow of Haydn falls most obviously on the finale which, in this performance, zips along infectiously. The symphony is given a most likeable performance.

Tintner talks at more length about Schumann’s Second and this time he gets the orchestral brass to provide a brief musical illustration of one of his points. Again, his manner is audience-friendly but there’s no question of talking down. He whets the appetite of his listeners. Refreshingly, he is frank about what he sees as the flaw in the symphony, namely the weakness of the principal subject of the first movement (he’s surely right on that score). In fact he refers to the symphony as having "three and a half" good movements.

As to the performance itself, in Tintner’s experienced hands the first movement introduction is atmospheric but, as he had warned us, the music of the main allegro is rather unmemorable, though it’s well enough played here. In terms of the musical argument things improve significantly thereafter. The felicitous, Mendelssohnian scherzo (placed second) is deftly and charmingly played. The musical longing of the slow movement finds Tintner and his orchestra at their eloquent best. This movement is really very well done even if, ideally, one would have liked just a touch more richness in the violins. In his talk Tintner is especially enthusiastic about the finale and he leads an energetic and characterful reading.

I enjoyed both of these performances a good deal. Both are thoroughly musical and are refreshingly straightforward. The orchestra, which was only founded in 1983, plays well for its chief and the performances are presented in perfectly acceptable sound. As was the case with Volume 1 of this series the notes are by Tanya Tintner but include significant amounts of comment about the music by the maestro himself. As I remarked when reviewing Volume 1, it is good to hear Georg Tintner in music other than that of Bruckner, of whom he was so distinguished an interpreter. These performances form a happy appendix to Tintner’s Bruckner cycle for Naxos."



John S. Gray
MusicWeb International, June 2004

"Georg Tintner's legacy continues with the Naxos release of three more excellent live recordings with Symphony Nova Scotia. Hearing these broadcasts, it is easily forgotten now, just how much of a low point the Halifax orchestra had sunk into, during the dark days of the dissolution of the old Atlantic Symphony and the faltering recovery under Boris Brott. Tintner's arrival as music director there produced results, in little more than a year, that were nothing short of miraculous. That the orchestra pulled itself up by its bootstraps is by now a legend, but it probably would have never have occurred without the active intervention of Tintner.

The orchestra on all these recordings is warm, balanced and precise. Aside from the occasional stray bassoon note in the Brahms Third, the musicians are in top form. Principal oboist Suzanne LeMieux shines all over these discs. It is incredible to think that one is hearing a "mere" provincial orchestra in the Maritimes.

Tintner's brief but endearing talks from the stage are a feature on these CD's, as they are in the previous two. The personal insights, particularly of the last farewell between Mozart and Haydn (on Vol. 4) are deeply moving.

The Brahms 2nd Serenade in A major Op. 16 (Vol. 5) is especially well-served by these Naxos discs. While I will make no claim to have heard all the recordings of this work that exist on the market, those that I do know leave me somewhat cold, unlike this one.

Tintner's Beethoven 4th Symphony is a good addition to any collection. I can see no reason why one wouldn't gain as much from it as from standard recordings from, say, von Karajan or Colin Davis. On this same (Vol. 3) disc, the seldom-played Schumann Symphony No. 2 receives a much-deserved rescue from obscurity at the hands of Tintner and SNS: Invaluable.

Two of Joseph Haydn's late symphonies, the No. 103 and No. 104 are paired on Vol. 4. Interestingly enough, the No. 103 was actually recorded in the Sir James Dunn Theatre in Halifax, legendary among musicians for its acoustics, which vary from indifferent to downright awful, depending on who you ask. But this recording sounds nearly as good as the others do from the stage of the more luxurious wood-paneled Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

Unlike the first two CD's in this Naxos Memorial series, the Halifax audience does manifest itself with an occasional cough or sneeze, but generally the listening experience at home or under headphones is free from such distractions. Tanya Tintner's programme notes are up to her usual high standard. Full marks, Naxos."






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7:36:34 PM, 28 July 2014
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