I have recently been listening to Georg Tintner's fascinating 1877 version of the Third that clocks in at around 74 minutes and now, to add to the melee' of Thirds available, Hyperion throw this excellent Vänskä version into the ring! This is indeed a curious beast as it combines Novak's 1877 version (the truncated one) with an overblown 1876 Adagio that is quite unique in our perception of this enigmatically titled, 'Wagner' symphony.
On the whole, Osmo Vänskä and the BBC Scottish Symphony are marvelous exponents of the work with a clearly delineated 'line' and firmly held crescendos that add immensely to the enjoyment of the piece. The Adagio is beautifully played with some silky work from the BBCSSO strings and the fast final movements are dispatched with ruthless efficiency that shows the tradition behind this orchestra in Bruckner interpretation.
The booklet is adorned by Stephen Johnson's authorative note on this work, listing no fewer than nine versions that are known to be extant and shedding new light on the symphony as a whole. I don't feel it displaces Tintner for expansive excitement but as a document of importance, this is certainly recommendable. Certainly, I await further Bruckner from Osmo Vänskä with anticipation.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech