Day 95: Symphony No. 6 in A Major (Tintner)

brucknertintnercd6frontThis morning’s conductor of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major (WAB 106) is Georg Tintner (1917-1999), the Austrian-born composer/conductor with whom I was already familiar (and dare I say fond?) prior to starting my 144-day exploration of Bruckner’s music.

The orchestra this time is the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. I believe this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the NZS.

I own a couple of other recordings conducted by Tintner, and like them immensely.

Plus, if memory serves, I think I heard Tintner on the local Classical radio station (WBLV FM) a time or two, perhaps even leading a Bruckner symphony.

In this project, I first encountered Georg Tintner on Day 15, (Symphony No. 1).

Then, on Day 31, (Symphony No. 2).

And again on Day 47, (Symphony No. 3).

And again on Day 63, (Symphony No. 4).

And, most recently, on Day 79, (Symphony No. 5).

I’ve mentioned this 12-CD Naxos box before and how much I like it. Here’s part of the reason why:


It’s so bloody well constructed!

Heavy cardboard. A pop top. Fantastic CD booklet (missing only information on individual discs and what’s on them, which – granted – is important). A thing of beauty!

Naxos is one of the select few labels in Classical music that you know is a quality release based on name alone. They are like Brilliant Classics in that they are affordable, but akin to Deutsche Grammophon (DG) in their slavish adherence to quality and re-releasing important historical recordings. I dig the Naxos label.

Okay, now on to the objective aspects of this recording:

Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major (WAB 106) composed 1879-1881
Georg Tintner conducts
Tinter used the version “ED. R. HAAS,” according to the back of the CD sleeve
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra plays
The symphony clocks in at 59:47
This was recorded at Town Hall, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, between 31 July and 2 August, 1995
Tintner was 78 when he conducted it
Bruckner was 57 when he finished composing it
This recording was released on the Naxos label

brucknertintnerboxBruckner wrote his symphonies in four parts. The time breakdown of this one Symphony No. 6 in A Major (WAB 106), from this particular conductor (Sir Georg Solti ) and this particular orchestra (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra) is as follows:

I: Majestoso…………………………………………………………………………………………………….17:07
II: Adagio. Sehr feierlich (Very solemnly)……………………………………………………….18:54
III: Scherzo. Nicht schnell (Not fast) — Trio. Langsam (Slowly)………………………9:00
IV: Finale. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (With motion, but not too fast)……14:44

Total running time: 59:47

From the exceptional liner notes written by Georg Tintner,

Bruckner called the Sixth Symphony his boldest. It certainly is one of this most beautiful, y et it is not as frequently performed as most of its sisters. perhaps the reason is that the Finale, in contrast to the perfect first three movements, is not absolutely satisfactory. In spite of this, Bruckner, who sometimes created as many as three versions of a symphony, wrote only one version of this one.

…in the Sixth Symphony we have three perfect movements and one that is somewhat problematical – at least to me.

Okay when you put all this together, what do you get? The subjective stuff:

My Rating:
Recording quality: 5
Overall musicianship: 5
CD liner notes: 5 (lengthy essays, but incomplete recording/version information)
How does this make me feel: 4

First of all, I would be remiss (although probably more professional) if I didn’t mention the fact that I love New Zealand – their country, their accents…the whole nine yards. Whenever I think of NZ I think of the Flight of the Conchords band comprised of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. Their TV show was hilarious.

And let’s not forget NZ is one heck of a gorgeous country.

Okay. Back to this gorgeous box set.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t as enamored with Tintner’s interpretation of Bruckner’s Sixth as I was his other symphonies. I don’t know why. The only two variables were the symphony and the orchestra, which, as everyone knows, makes all the difference in the world.

I can hear the skill in this recording. The orchestra is very fine.

Plus, there’s that adorable Scherzo that never fails to put a smile on my face.

Yet, I wasn’t feeling the magic this time. No “Huzzah!” escaped my lips.

I just kept hearing Bret and Jemaine’s accents in my head, which would come out something like, “ax-ints” when they’d say the word.

I don’t know who else Maestro Tintner records with for the remaining three Bruckner symphonies. But I’m hoping he chooses the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra again so I can tell if the lack of magic this time is due to my own subjective listening experience, or if it has anything to do with the orchestra – yet, I’m fully aware it would be my own subjective listening experience regardless of which orchestra was performing.

Tomorrow marks the last time I’ll listen to Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major for this project. Gunter Wand will close the cycle.

Looking forward to starting a new cycle the day after.

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