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Out of Time

The Vexed Life of Georg Tintner

Tanya Buchdahl Tintner

 

Order online and receive a 25% discount

$39.99 Paper, 430 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-938-8

Release Date: January 2013

 

One of the 100 Best Books of 2011 cited by New Zealand Listener


   

Georg Tintner is best known to music lovers for his stunning interpretations of Bruckner’s symphonies he recorded on Naxos in the 1990s.

The first Jewish member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, a composer at six, and a conductor at nineteen, Georg Tintner was one of the bright young musicians in Vienna, notwithstanding the city’s pervasive anti-Semitism. But the Anschluss in 1938 changed everything. He fled the Nazis and eventually arrived as a refugee in New Zealand, where the cultural and artistic contrast could not have been greater. In time he moved on to conduct opera in Australia but struggled to make a living. He tried to restart his career in South Africa and England, but real success came only after he moved to Canada at the age of seventy. Worldwide acclaim greeted his Naxos recordings of Bruckner’s symphonies, but it was too late. Suffering from cancer and unwilling to “crumble away,” he took his own life.

Georg Tintner’s story is the tragedy of the refugee and the culturally alienated artist. Socialist, vegetarian, and bicycle enthusiast, he was a man of principle, unwilling to compromise on musical and ethical matters no matter the cost. Tanya Buchdahl Tintner has written a thoroughly researched memoir of an artist who was like no other.

Tanya Buchdahl Tintner, Georg’s third wife and widow, is a freelance classical music writer and editor. She has managed a professional development program for conductors for over twenty years and served as concerts officer at the Queensland Conservatorium. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Reviews

“[A] compelling account.... For any avid music connoisseur, Tanya Tintner’s captivating character study of an eminent 20th-century musician opens a new world. At the same time, one senses the author’s search for a person. Despite 23 years of marriage, she wrote, ‘I realised that I hadn’t known him nearly as well as I thought.’ And she set out to find him. This book is not just a discovery of a true musician, but also a fascinating yet detailed cultural history of a century.”

— Matthias Wurz, The Vienna Review

“I cannot recommend [the book] highly enough ... a narrative that is a delight to read.”

— Donald Clarke, author of the Penguin Encyclopedia of Modern Music, Donald Clarke’s Music Box (blog)

“A wonderful biography.”

— Gillian Dooley, Adelaide Review

“An important book ... an invaluable book that can be recommended to music lovers just as highly as the conductor’s Bruckner recordings on Naxos, which received outstanding reviews ... all over the world.”

— Rémy Franck, Pizzicato (Luxembourg)

“A remarkable, well-written and frank book.”

— Shirley de Kock Gueller, Cape Times (South Africa)

“This book ... has been immaculately put together, fully illustrated, footnoted, indexed and deftly written with a candour that usually eludes family members who tackle biographies. Tanya Tintner’s long experience as a writer and deep understanding of her fascinating subject is evident on every absorbing page.”

— Peter Shaw, New Zealand Listener

“In the late 1980s, Symphony Nova Scotia attracted an outstanding conductor who subsequently recorded definitive performances of the Bruckner symphonies. This fine biography of the conductor/composer, Georg Tintner, provides a thorough analysis of how yet another refugee from Nazism eventually ended up as a Canadian citizen who notably enriched our culture.”

— Elaine Keillor, Carleton University, Canadian Association of Music Libraries Review

“A brilliant new biography.”

— Benjamin Ivry, Jewish Daily Forward (USA)

“Vivid, compulsively readable.”

— Neville Cohn, West Australian

“[Tanya Tinter] gives us something considerably more than an honest effort—a detailed coastline to Tintner’s psychic continent, like those Spanish maps of the New World with frilly edges and vast, blank terra incognita interiors. Such a job requires not only perception but a prose supple and clear enough to convey it. I found very little hand-waving here, not attempts to hide ‘don’t know’ behind obfuscation and ‘mystical’ hot air. The biographer has put down her best reckoning of one of the most important people in her life.... Tintner’s ... eccentricities gave rise to a host of wonderful anecdotes, and his career shows that high art doesn’t belong exclusively to the Big Deals the art and hype industry shoves in front of us. A very great musician spent most of his life creating and fostering art in out-of-the-way places. This legacy is as powerful as the recordings and ultimately more influential. The recordings merely let the world at large know what a force Tintner was.”

— Steven Schwartz, Classical Net

“It is an extraordinary life story that is told here. At times it leaves you seething with anger that such a talent should be wilfully ignored by bureaucrats and mediocrities, pompous little people with prejudices, who had the power to deny opportunities to an artist of such integrity and stature as Tintner; and at times exasperated with Tintner himself whose unbending commitment to often somewhat outlandish eccentricities and principles made him an unattractive candidate for inclusion in the conservative circles of the musical establishment of the post-war antipodean British Commonwealth.... The description of how these [Naxos Bruckner] recordings came about, and the varying circumstances under which they were made, provides an essential adjunct to the performances themselves, adding a dimension that increases their power and profundity. And when you add to this the life-history that led up to them, the greatness of this Bruckner conductor that shines through every performance acquires a back-story that helps to account for and magnify its stature. There is much in this book that is not about Bruckner. There are many valuable observations on the art of conducting—and many extraordinary stories of what following that profession can demand....And there is much in this book that is not about music, or at least not music alone. There are trenchant observations of and on anti-semitism ... on veganism, on friendship, betrayals and mistresses—and on wives and music.... After his death Tanya Tintner spent several years trying to discover who it was she was married to for over 20 years, and what his life had been like before she knew him, conducting over 200 interviews and finally writing this extraordinary memoir.... As you cast your mind back over what you read, you can’t help but smile at the absurdities, and then be humbled by the achievements and sheer courage, against all the vexations, of the primary characters of this compelling history.”

— Ken Ward, Bruckner Journal

“I was completely absorbed reading your life of Georg Tintner, Out of Time. I wanted to write and let you know how much I enjoyed and valued it. It is in my view not just an extraordinary story, but also a very significant literary achievement. The research is profound, and your reconstruction of his European youth is truly astonishing.... But equally impressive is the tone: for a spouse to find the right voice to deal with a husband’s life is rare indeed—often such works are a disaster. Indeed, I confess to being apprehensive when I opened the book. But I was immediately engrossed: you have dealt with Georg’s professional life with authority, balance, and enormous insight, his personal weaknesss and idiosyncrasies handled unsparingly and equitably, even where they are unflattering for him and include the most intimate details of your own time with him. The world of musical scholarship is the better for this work—I was hugely impressed.”

— Professor Warren Bebbington, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Adelaide

“Buy and read this wonderful book.”

— Patrick Lam, Orchestras Canada

“An extraordinarily compelling and moving book.... [Tintner’s] writing style is clear, elegant and highly expressive.”

— Alan Sanders, Classical Recordings Quarterly (UK)

“Scholarly in structure and irresistibly readable.”

— Elizabeth Silsbury, Music Council of Australia Newsletter

“[This book is] an amazing achievement ... probably the first-ever realistic biography of an important artist.”

— Klaus Heymann, Chair, Naxos Group of Companies

“One of the finest biographies I’ve read ... I’m filled with admiration for the thoughtful job the author has done of it. Elegantly and compassionately written.”

— Binnie Brennan, The Reluctant Blogger