Recorded in the year before Tintner's death, the novelty of this CD is that it contains Bruckner's alternative finale to the fourth symphony.
But first, let's address the main course, Bruckner's study symphony. The opening is cheerily naïve but catchy with a delightful Brahmsian second subject. The second movement too is quasi-Brahmsian but there is also a central section that had me thinking of Philip Glass in its play of repetitive sequences. The scherzo, though, is pure Bruckner, and mercifully shorter than some of the monster scherzi that appear in his later symphonies. The finale, however, is not terribly inspiring; indeed, Bruckner always had trouble with his finales. In conclusion, one can understand why Bruckner did not throw the manuscript away, for there is some good stuff here, but one can also understand why he did not let it enter his canon.
The `Volksfest' alternative finale to the fourth symphony is an interesting and valuable inclusion. Even without having to listen to the weight of the preceding three movements, it soon becomes clear that the composer was right to revise this proposed finale, for it is not as cohesive as the third and final version. On more than one occasion I felt that the composer had lost his way, and some of the harmony is a little unsettling, even laughably naïve in places. But the Brucknerian grandeur is also there too.
The sound overall could be a little more immediate: it's just about OK = three stars. But the inclusion of the `Volksfest' raises this CD to four.