This was the first of a planned cycle of Bruckner cycle under the late Georg Tinter, a venerable Bruckner conductor who never really received his due until Naxos started to recorded his performances (an earlier Bruckner 6 does not begin to compare with the Naxos remake).
The present performance is rather typical of this conductor in Bruckner. First, there is the obvious love and dedication which have gone into the preparation of the score. The orchestra plays with fire and conviction. Second, there is Tinter's keen ear for detail and his ability to "place" the climaxes of each movement almost to perfection (a gift he shared with Karajan, Furtwanger and, on his day, Knappertsbuch). Third there is the clean, almost clinical orchestral sound which allows you to hear almost every note, and finally, there is a natural sense of pacing which enables the orchestral details to be laid out logically and systematically, yet never in a hurried or laboured fashion.
These ingredients combine to create a unique style in performing Bruckner. This is because Tinter somehows manages to combine the elemental force of a Furtwangler performance with the clinical ear of a Szell - and he does it in a way which seems to be quite individual (and natural; his style is never as forced as Szell). Tinter is always "his own man" and his insights and sincerity shine through in each movement.
These are not easy, slick or smooth performances; but they are questing, searching, individualised (without being mannered) and thought provoking ones, which speak of a life of studying these superb manuscripts. As such they should surely be judged on their own very considerable merits.
This fifth is thus an important and thought provoking document. Ultimately, it is the control of dynamic light and shade which is the most impact (for example as heard in the first movement, especially in the build of up the coda). Don't listen to this performance to be lulled to sleep: listen to it to experience a quest for sincerity and truth. This is a most interesting and thought provoking performance which may be underrated by some reviewers initially.
Tintner's cycle is due to be completed in 2000. It is well worth collecting - perhaps not as an only set - but as one person's quest to find his own way to the heart and soul of a composer he loved all his life. There should always be performances like this in the catalogue: they enrich our understanding of a composer and make us listen with new ears.