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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 4 in B Flat major, Op. 60 [33í54" plus spoken introduction by Georg Tintner 1í28"]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61* [40í44" plus spoken introduction by Georg Tintner 3í18"]
Symphony Nova Scotia/Georg Tintner
Live recordings 10 February 1988 ADD and *9 January 1991 DDD
Tintner Memorial Edition Vol. 3
NAXOS 8.557235 [79í30"]

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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 Tintnerís 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. Iím glad these cameos have been retained.

In his opening remarks Tintner reminds the audience Ė and us Ė that in his Fourth Symphony Beethoven "for once looked backwards, not forwards" and he compares the piece with Haydnís 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 Schumannís 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 thereís 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 (heís 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 Tintnerís experienced hands the first movement introduction is atmospheric but, as he had warned us, the music of the main allegro is rather unmemorable, though itís 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 Tintnerís Bruckner cycle for Naxos.

John Quinn

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