Günter Wand was a middle-class, Catholic Rhinelander whose musical enthusiasm, talent and ambition were obvious from a young age.
In the early 1980s, Wand became principal conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He was not especially well known in London in the early days, but the BBC concerts, especially at the Proms, soon acquired legendary status as, in his eight and decades, Gunter Wand finally won the acclamation his technical brilliance and profound musicality had always merited.
This concert inaugurated the final week of the 1990 Proms. At that time, Wand was 78 years old and he had belatedly been recognized as one of the great conductors of the world. His approach to tempi was deceptively simple. He did employ rubato at times, but it was carefully controlled and he always adhered to the principle that each of Bruckner's symphonic movements had one basic pulse. Striking here are his complete lack of overt showmanship and his delicate economy of gesture.
© Michael McManus