Looking afresh at Bruckner's scores has brought a whole new revelation that
is quite a Nineties phenomenon. Indeed few connoisseurs will be acquainted
with this massive seventy-one minute version of the Second in a new edition
by William Carragan but it would be safe to say that it must be the version
to have when considering an outright buy for this rather neglected symphony.
The music comes through in huge monumental blocks; not in the snappy and
tirade bits and pieces that characterize the Nowak version which is
unquestionably more popular. Georg Tintner is obviously a conductor with
a real feel for the score and I would go as far to say that along with Gunter
Wand, he is the only real representative of the Bruckner school left to us.
The way he shapes the mesmerizing opening of the Ziemlich schnell
is amazingly romantic and the grand craggy music unfolds with magnificent
splendor throughout the twenty-one minute movement.
It is also refreshing to hear the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland
play with such relish and evident affection for this music, so long private
property of the Vienna and Berlin orchestras. Tintner's Scherzo is also craggy
and snappy and the Trio is lovingly phrased, it is in fact almost Beethovenian
in its pastoral imagery. Carragan's edition pays obvious dividends in the
Andante, here the movement makes much sense at eighteen minutes, in fact
the construction and development of this sublime movement is a worthy prelude
to the majestic edifices that permeate the last three symphonies.
Mehr schnell is the Finale's marking which is also winningly done
in Tintner's experienced hands, all pitfalls are negotiated with an assured
sense of nobility whilst the coda is pompous and magisterial with an appropriate
whipping up of intensity in the final bars. The conductor's notes are highly
informative and are one of the redeeming features of what is bound to be
an authoritative series as is the reproduction of a stunning view of
'Grossvendinger', the ideal companion to what is mountainous Bruckner at