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Penguin Guide, January 2009

In a moving note Georg Tintner passionately argues the case for Bruckner’s original (1887) version of No. 8, fresh and spontaneous. The result is an intense, keenly concentrated reading, with total dedication in the playing which rises to supreme heights in the long Adagio slow movement, where the refined pianissimo playing of the Irish orchestra is magically caught by the Naxos engineers. Even for those with rival versions, this makes a very necessary recommendation, particularly when the two-disc package brings so generous and revealing a coupling as the D minor Symphonie (Die Hullte) in a very good performance. Tintner powerfully brings out the Brucknerian qualities in embryo, and again he is served very well by the Irish orchestra.

Edward Dorall,
New Straits Times (Malaysia), October 2001

"NAXOS was fortunate to have had Georg Tintner record the complete cycle of Bruckner's symphonies for its increasingly prestigious CD company.

This is actually Bruckner's second symphony, withdrawn by the composer in dismay and numbered as O when its first conductor couldn't identify the opening movement's first subject. Today, despite some gauche themes and passages, it is considered by most Brucknerites to be a more advanced composition than Symphony No. 1 as well as the archetype of the Bruckner symphony, varied eight times (16 if we consider revisions) in Symphonies 2 to 9.

Tintner's first movement, after a jaunty start, dramatically contrasts its lovely quiet segments with formidable fortissimi. His second, taken at a sensible leisurely pace, makes its relaxed but not always equally compelling material sound ethereal, even gripping. A good pounding Scherzo with its rich, smooth Trio and a sturdy Finale, daringly contrasting a dynamic first and lilting second subject, conclude a great performance of a considerable work."

Sensible Sound, July 2001

"I still would recommend this budget-priced Naxos CD. Why? Because of the "O" Symphony that fills out this double CD. The Naxos is a CD that I plan to keep in my collection because of the brilliantly conducted and played "O" Symphony."

Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International, June 2000

To record the complete Bruckner symphonies is a major undertaking, not to be taken lightly by any of those involved: conductor, orchestra, recording engineers, record company. Therefore it needs to be said at the outset that Naxos has achieved a triumph, nothing less. The only tragedy is that the conductor, Georg Tintner, is no longer alive to witness its full acknowledgement.

Tintner (born 1917), like so many musicians, fled his native Austria before the Nazi threat and made a worthwhile but largely unnoticed career in Australasia, Canada and, occasionally, Europe. These recordings, dating from 1995-98, brought him a recognition that was long overdue. For Tintner’s love and understanding of Bruckner are beyond question. Tempi, phrasing and architecture always feel right, and the structural control of each of the symphonies is never less than assured.

The Symphony no. 0, another piece published only after the composer’s death, is coupled with the Eighth (see below). While the Irish orchestra cannot match the richness of tone of their Scottish (and yet more celebrated) counterparts, this remains a hugely enjoyable recording, and a tribute to Tintner’s skill in preparing the performance, since this orchestra can hardly have played the music many times, if at all, before 1996 when the recording was made. ‘Die Nullte’, as it is known, is altogether more characteristic than the ‘Study Symphony’, and as such is fully deserving of a place in the Bruckner canon; it is by no means a mere curiosity. The magnificent sweep of the opening phase is proof enough of that.

As far as the vexed question of editions is concerned, it is a cause of some regret that Tintner only recorded the first (1887), rather than the revised (1890) version of the Eighth Symphony. It is far too easy a generalisation to suggest that Bruckner’s first thoughts were always best, and in this, surely his greatest symphony, it is the revised version which is generally played and which is certainly superior. Surely Tintner would have gone on to record it had fate decreed him the chance. As it stands the Eighth that is available here is best judged as an interesting performance of an interesting piece, beautifully played by the Scottish National Orchestra and given a rare opportunity to be widely heard.


"we have playing of extraordinary intensity and expressivness. Furthermore, this inspired playing is in the service of fascinating versions of the symphonies"

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