In common with many
other collectors, I suspect, I only
encountered Georg Tintner (1917-1999)
as an interpreter of Bruckner. His intégrale
of the symphonies for Naxos justly garnered
much praise. Who knows what other recordings
might have followed had he lived a little
longer? What a good idea on the part
of Naxos to issue a series of concert
performances in which he conducts other
The performances here
are all from studio (?) concerts recorded
by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
An audience was present but on each
occasion is commendably silent though
applause has been retained at the end.
Unlike some collectors I rather like
The orchestra here
is the Symphony Nova Scotia (SNS), a
professional orchestra of which Tintner
was Music Director from 1987 until his
death. The booklet refers to a playing
strength of 37 but I suspect that the
band may have been augmented slightly
for these performances. In all three
performances the sound is fundamentally
strong, though this isn’t to say that
gracefulness and delicacy are absent.
Rhythms are alert and the players clearly
are enthusiastic for their task.
In the ‘Paris’ symphony
the slow movement flows particularly
nicely. I must report that after repeated
listening I still thought the opening
bars of the finale sound a little scampered
and rhythmically indistinct. It is not
until the full orchestra enters that
the listener can be sure of the pulse.
However, the reading as a whole is deft
The ‘Haffner’, a favourite
of mine, starts with a sturdy and positively
etched first movement. I wondered if
the andante is just a shade too deliberate
in pace. However, overall I enjoyed
Tintner’s way with this movement, which
he does with some feeling and style.
The minuet is suitably vigorous while
the finale has ample verve. This is
a straightforward and enjoyable reading
of the symphony.
Initially I thought
that the tempo for the first movement
of the marvellous G minor symphony was
a bit too slow. I reckon Tintner takes
it at around 89 beats to the minute.
However, when for comparison I selected
at random Gunter Wand’s 1994 RCA recording
(with the NDR Sinfonieorchester) I found
that his speed (91 to the minute) is
virtually identical. Yet Wand sounds
that bit lighter on his feet. I can
only guess that he and his players impart
just a little more spring to the rhythms.
The andante is warm and is phrased affectionately.
The minuet is done with purposeful momentum
and the finale is well articulated and
Overall I’d describe
Tintner’s approach to Mozart as straightforward
and sensible. I don’t mean by that that
it’s dull; far from it. These are down
to earth, musical performances. The
playing of the Canadian orchestra is
good and the sound is perfectly satisfactory.
I daresay that one could find more polished
alternatives in the catalogue for all
three works but, of course, these are
live performances without the safety
net of retakes. There are useful notes
by Tanya Tintner in English and French.
These include several quotes about the
music from Georg Tintner himself.
No one investing in
these well prepared performances will
be disappointed. Georg Tintner proves
to be a reliable guide to Mozart, as
he was to Bruckner.