Anton Bruckner (German: [ˈantɔn ˈbʀʊknɐ] ( listen); 4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896 ) was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner's compositions helped to define contemporary musical radicalism, owing to their dissonances, unprepared modulations, and roving harmonies.
Unlike other musical radicals, such as Richard Wagner or Hugo Wolf who fit the enfant terrible mould, Bruckner showed extreme humility before other musicians, Wagner in particular. This apparent dichotomy between Bruckner the man and Bruckner the composer hampers efforts to describe his life in a way that gives a straightforward context for his music.
His works, the symphonies in particular, had detractors, most notably the influential Austrian critic Eduard Hanslick, and other supporters of Johannes Brahms (and detractors of Wagner), who pointed to their large size, use of repetition, and Bruckner's propensity to revise many of his works, often with the assistance of colleagues, and his apparent indecision about which versions he preferred. On the other hand, Bruckner was greatly admired by subsequent composers, including his friend Gustav Mahler, who described him as "half simpleton, half God".
Early life 
Anton Bruckner was born in Ansfelden (then a village, now a suburb of Linz) on 4 September 1824. The ancestors of Bruckner's family were farmers and craftsmen; their history has been tracked back to the 16th century. They lived near a bridge south of Sindelburg, which led to them being called "Pruckhner an der Pruckhen". Bruckner's grandfather had gained the schoolmaster position in Ansfelden in 1776; this position was inherited by Bruckner's father, Anton Bruckner senior in 1823. It was a poorly paid but well-respected position in the rural environment. Music belonged to the school curriculum, and Bruckner's father was his first music teacher. Bruckner learned to play the organ early as a child. He entered school when he was six, proved to be a hard-working student, and was promoted to upper class early. While studying, Bruckner also helped his father in teaching the other children. After Bruckner received his confirmation in 1833, Bruckner's father sent him to another school in Hörsching. The schoolmaster, Johann Baptist Weiß, was a music enthusiast and respected organist. Here, Bruckner completed his school education and learned to play the organ excellently. He also wrote his first composition, Vier Präludien in Es-Dur für Orgel for the organ. However, biographers do not regard the work as exceptional; in his youth, Bruckner was gifted, but not a genius. When his father became ill, Anton returned to Ansfelden to help him in his work.
Teacher's education 
Bruckner's father died in 1837, when Bruckner was 13 years old. The teacher's position and house were given to a successor, and Bruckner was sent to the Augustinian monastery in St. Florian to become a choirboy. In addition to choir practice, his education included violin and organ lessons. Bruckner was in awe of the monastery's great organ, which was built during the late baroque era and rebuilt in 1837, and he sometimes played it during church services. Later, the organ was to be called the "Bruckner Organ". Despite his musical abilities, Bruckner's mother sent her son to a teacher seminar in Linz. After completing the seminar with an excellent grade, he was sent as a teacher's assistant to a school in Windhaag. The living standards and pay were horrible, and Bruckner was constantly humiliated by his superior, teacher Franz Fuchs. Despite the difficult situation, Bruckner never complained or rebelled; a belief of inferiority was to remain one of Bruckner's main personal characteristics during his whole life. Prelate Michael Arneth noticed Bruckner's bad situation in Windhaag and awarded him a teacher's assistant position in St. Florian, sending him to Kronstorf an der Enns for two years. The time in Kronstorf was a much happier one for Bruckner. Compared to the few works he wrote in Windhaag, the Kronstorf compositions from 1843–1845 show a significantly improved artistic ability, and finally the beginnings of what could be called "the Bruckner style". Among the Kronstorf works is the vocal piece Asperges (WAB 4), which the young teacher's assistant, out of line of his position, signed with "Anton Bruckner m.p.ria. Comp[onist]". This has been interpreted as a lone early sign of Bruckner's artistic ambitions. Otherwise, little is known of Bruckner's life plans and intentions.
Organist in St. Florian 
After the Kronstorf period, Bruckner returned to St Florian in 1845, where, for the next 10 years, he would work as a teacher and an organist. In May 1845, Bruckner passed an examination, which allowed him to begin work as an assistant teacher in one of the village schools of St. Florian. He continued to improve his education by taking further courses, passing an examination giving him the permission to also teach in higher education institutes, receiving the grade "very good" in all disciplines. In 1848 he was appointed an organist in St. Florian and in 1851 this was made a regular position. In St Florian, most of the repertoire consisted of the music of Michael Haydn, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Franz Joseph Aumann.
In 1855, Bruckner, aspiring to become a student of the famous Vienna music theorist Simon Sechter, showed the master his Missa solemnis (WAB 29), written a year earlier, and was accepted. The education, which included skills in music theory and counterpoint among others, took place mostly via correspondence, but also included long in-person sessions in Vienna. Sechter's teaching would have a profound influence on Bruckner. Later, when Bruckner began teaching music himself, he would base his curriculum on Sechter's book Die Grundsätze der musikalischen Komposition (Leipzig 1853/54). In 1861, Bruckner studied further with Otto Kitzler, who introduced him to the music of Richard Wagner, which Bruckner studied extensively from 1863 onwards. Bruckner continued his studies to the age of 40. Broad fame and acceptance did not come until he was over 60. A devout Catholic who loved to drink beer, Bruckner was out of step with his contemporaries. In 1861 he had already made the acquaintance of Franz Liszt who, like Bruckner, had a strong, Catholic religious faith and who first and foremost was a harmonic innovator, initiating the new German school together with Wagner. Soon after Bruckner had ended his studies under Sechter and Kitzler, he wrote his first mature work, the Mass in D Minor.
The Vienna period 
In 1868, after Sechter had died, Bruckner hesitantly accepted Sechter's post as a teacher of music theory at the Vienna Conservatory, during which time he concentrated most of his energy on writing symphonies. These symphonies, however, were poorly received, at times considered "wild" and "nonsensical". He later accepted a post at the Vienna University in 1875, where he tried to make music theory a part of the curriculum. Overall, he was unhappy in Vienna, which was musically dominated by the critic Eduard Hanslick. At the time there was a feud between advocates of the music of Wagner and Brahms; by aligning himself with Wagner, Bruckner made an unintentional enemy out of Hanslick. However, he was not without supporters; Deutsche Zeitung's music critic Theodor Helm, and famous conductors such as Arthur Nikisch and Franz Schalk constantly tried to bring his music to the public, and for this purpose proposed 'improvements' for making Bruckner's music more acceptable to the public. While Bruckner allowed these changes, he also made sure in his will to bequeath his original scores to the Vienna National Library, confident of their musical validity.
In addition to his symphonies, Bruckner wrote masses, motets and other sacred choral works, and a few chamber works, including a string quintet. Unlike his romantic symphonies, some of Bruckner's choral works are often conservative and contrapuntal in style; however, the Te Deum, Helgoland, Psalm 150 and at least one Mass demonstrate innovative and radical uses of chromaticism.
Biographers generally characterize Bruckner as a "simple" provincial man, and many biographers have complained that there is huge discrepancy between Bruckner's life and his work. For example, Karl Grebe said: "his life doesn't tell anything about his work, and his work doesn't tell anything about his life, that's the uncomfortable fact any biography must start from." Numerous anecdotes abound as to Bruckner's dogged pursuit of his chosen craft and his humble acceptance of the fame that eventually came his way. Once, after a rehearsal of his Fourth Symphony, the well-meaning Bruckner tipped the conductor Hans Richter: "When the symphony was over," Richter related, "Bruckner came to me, his face beaming with enthusiasm and joy. I felt him press a coin into my hand. 'Take this' he said, 'and drink a glass of beer to my health.'" Richter, of course, accepted the coin, a Maria Theresa thaler, and wore it on his watch-chain ever after.
Bruckner was a renowned organist in his day, impressing audiences in France in 1869, and England in 1871, giving six recitals on a new Henry Willis organ at Royal Albert Hall in London and five more at the Crystal Palace. Though he wrote no major works for the organ, his improvisation sessions sometimes yielded ideas for the symphonies. He taught organ performance at the Conservatory; among his students were Hans Rott and Franz Schmidt. Gustav Mahler, who called Bruckner his "forerunner", attended the conservatory at this time (Walter n.d.).
Bruckner was a lifelong bachelor who made numerous unsuccessful marriage proposals to teenage girls. One such was the daughter of a friend, called Louise; in his grief he is believed to have written the cantata "Entsagen" (Renunciation). His affection for teenage girls led to an accusation of impropriety where he taught music, and while he was exonerated, he decided to concentrate on teaching boys afterwards. His calendar for 1874 details the names of girls who appealed to him, and the list of such girls in all his diaries was very long. In 1880 he fell for a 17-year-old peasant girl in the cast of the Oberammergau Passion Play. His interest in young girls seems to have been motivated by his fear of sin; he believed that (unlike older women) he could be certain that he was marrying a virgin. His unsuccessful proposals to teenagers continued when he was past his 70th birthday; one prospect came near to marrying him, but broke off the engagement when she refused to convert to Catholicism.
Bruckner died in Vienna in 1896 at the age of 72. He is buried in the crypt of St. Florian monastery church, right below his favorite organ. He had always had a morbid fascination with death and dead bodies, and left explicit instructions to embalm his corpse.
The Anton Bruckner Private University for Music, Drama, and Dance, an institution of higher education in Linz, close to his native Ansfelden, was named after him in 1932 ("Bruckner Conservatory Linz" until 2004). The Bruckner Orchester Linz was also named in his honor.
Sometimes Bruckner's works are referred to by WAB numbers, from the Werkverzeichnis Anton Bruckner, a catalogue of Bruckner's works edited by Renate Grasberger.
The revision issue has generated controversy. A common explanation for the multiple versions is that Bruckner was willing to revise his work on the basis of harsh, uninformed criticism from his colleagues. "The result of such advice was to awaken immediately all the insecurity in the non-musical part of Bruckner's personality," musicologist Deryck Cooke writes. "Lacking all self-assurance in such matters, he felt obliged to bow to the opinions of his friends, 'the experts,' to permit ... revisions and even to help make them in some cases." This explanation was widely accepted when it was championed by Bruckner scholar Robert Haas, who was the chief editor of the first critical editions of Bruckner's works published by the International Bruckner Society; it continues to be found in the majority of program notes and biographical sketches concerning Bruckner. Haas' work was endorsed by the Nazis and so fell out of favour after the war as the Allies enforced denazification. Haas' rival Leopold Nowak was appointed to produce a whole new critical edition of Bruckner's works. He and others such as Benjamin Korstvedt and conductor Leon Botstein argued that Haas' explanation is at best idle speculation, at worst a shady justification of Haas' own editorial decisions. Also, it has been pointed out that Bruckner often started work on a symphony just days after finishing the one before. As Cooke writes, "In spite of continued opposition and criticism, and many well-meaning exhortations to caution from his friends, he looked neither to right nor left, but simply got down to work on the next symphony." The matter of Bruckner's authentic texts and the reasons for his changes to them remains politicised and uncomfortable.
"Bruckner expanded the concept of the symphonic form in ways that have never been witnessed before or since. … When listening to a Bruckner symphony, one encounters some of the most complex symphonic writing ever created. As scholars study Bruckner's scores they continue to revel in the complexity of Bruckner's creative logic."
Bruckner's symphonies are all in four movements (though he was unable to complete the finale of the Ninth), starting with a modified sonata allegro form, a slow movement in ABA’B’A’’ form (except in the Study Symphony, the First and the Sixth), a scherzo in 3/4 time, and a modified sonata allegro form finale. (In the Eighth, Ninth, and the first version of the Second, the slow movements and scherzo are reversed. The revised version of the Fourth features a scherzo – the "Hunt scherzo" – in which the outer sections are in 2/4 meter, not the customary 3/4.) There is a marked preference for the use of consistent four-bar periods. They are scored for a fairly standard orchestra of woodwinds in pairs, four horns, two or three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, timpani and strings. The later symphonies increase this complement, but not by much. Notable is the use of Wagner tubas in his last three symphonies. With the exception of Symphony No. 4, none of Bruckner's symphonies has subtitles, and most of the nicknames were not thought up by the composer. Bruckner's works are trademarked with powerful codas and grand finales, as well as the frequent use of unison passages and orchestral tutti. His style of orchestral writing was criticized by his Viennese contemporaries, but by the middle of the 20th century musicologists recognized that Bruckner's orchestration was modeled after the sound of his primary instrument, the pipe organ.
Nicholas Temperley writes in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980) that Bruckner
alone succeeded in creating a new school of symphonic writing.... Some have classified him as a conservative, some as a radical. Really he was neither, or alternatively was a fusion of both.... [H]is music, though Wagnerian in its orchestration and in its huge rising and falling periods, patently has its roots in older styles. Bruckner took Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as his starting-point.... The introduction to the first movement, beginning mysteriously and climbing slowly with fragments of the first theme to the gigantic full statement of that theme, was taken over by Bruckner; so was the awe-inspiring coda of the first movement. The scherzo and slow movement, with their alternation of melodies, are models for Bruckner's spacious middle movements, while the finale with a grand culminating hymn is a feature of almost every Bruckner symphony.
Bruckner is the first composer since Schubert about whom it is possible to make such generalizations. His symphonies deliberately followed a pattern, each one building on the achievements of its predecessors.... His melodic and harmonic style changed little, and it had as much of Schubert in it as of Wagner.... His technique in the development and transformation of themes, learnt from Beethoven, Liszt and Wagner, was unsurpassed, and he was almost the equal of Brahms in the art of melodic variation.
Cooke adds, also in the New Grove,
Despite its general debt to Beethoven and Wagner, the "Bruckner Symphony" is a unique conception, not only because of the individuality of its spirit and its materials, but even more because of the absolute originality of its formal processes. At first, these processes seemed so strange and unprecedented that they were taken as evidence of sheer incompetence.... Now it is recognized that Bruckner's unorthodox structural methods were inevitable.... Bruckner created a new and monumental type of symphonic organism, which abjured the tense, dynamic continuity of Beethoven, and the broad, fluid continuity of Wagner, in order to express something profoundly different from either composer, something elemental and metaphysical.
In a concert review, Bernard Holland described parts of the first movements of Bruckner's sixth and seventh symphonies as follows: "There is the same slow, broad introduction, the drawn-out climaxes that grow, pull back and then grow some more – a sort of musical coitus interruptus."
In the 2001 Second Edition of the New Grove, Mark Evan Bonds called the Bruckner symphonies "monumental in scope and design, combining lyricism with an inherently polyphonic design.... Bruckner favored an approach to large-scale form that relied more on large-scale thematic and harmonic juxtaposition. Over the course of his output, one senses an ever-increasing interest in cyclic integration that culminates in his masterpiece, the Symphony No. 8 in C minor, a work whose final page integrates the main themes of all four movements simultaneously."
Otto Kitzler, Bruckner's last composition teacher, set him three final tasks as the climax of his studies: a choral work (Psalm 112), an overture (the Overture in G minor), and a symphony. The last, completed in 1863, was then Bruckner's Study Symphony in F minor. Bruckner later rejected this work, but he did not destroy it. While it certainly reminds one of earlier composers such as Robert Schumann, it undeniably also bears the hallmarks of the later Bruckner style. Kitzler simply commented that the work was "not very inspired". It was first performed in 1924 and not published until 1973 and is occasionally listed as Symphony No. 00.
Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor (sometimes called by Bruckner "das kecke Beserl", roughly translated as "the saucy maid") was completed in 1866, but the original text of this symphony was not reconstructed until 1998. Instead, it is commonly known in two versions, the so-called Linz Version which is based mainly on rhythmical revisions made in 1877, and the completely revised Vienna Version of 1891, which begins to reveal his mature style, e.g. Symphony No. 8.
Next was the so-called Symphony No. 0 in D minor of 1869, a work which was so harshly criticized that Bruckner retracted it completely, and it was not performed at all during his lifetime, hence his choice for the number of the symphony.
His next attempt was a sketch of the first movement to a Symphony in B-flat major, but he did no further work on it afterwards. This sketch can be heard on John Berky's site.
The Symphony No. 2 in C minor of 1872 was revised in 1873, 1876, 1877 and 1892. It is sometimes called the Symphony of Pauses for its dramatic use of whole-orchestra rests, which accentuate the form of the piece. In the Carragan edition of the 1872 version, the Scherzo is placed second and the Adagio third. It is in the same key as No. 1.
Bruckner presented his Symphony No. 3 in D minor, written in 1873, to Wagner along with the Second, asking which of them he might dedicate to him. Wagner chose the Third, and Bruckner sent him a fair copy soon after, which is why the original version of the Wagner Symphony is preserved so well despite revisions in 1874, 1876, 1877 and 1888–9. One factor that helped Wagner choose which symphony to accept the dedication of was that the Third contains quotations from Wagner's music dramas, such as Die Walküre and Lohengrin. These quotations were taken out in the revised versions.
Bruckner's first great success was his Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, more commonly known as the Romantic Symphony, the only epithet applied to a symphony by the composer himself. The 1874 version has been seldom played and success came only after major revisions in 1878, including a completely new scherzo and finale, and again in 1880–1, once again with a completely rewritten finale. This version was premiered in 1881 (under the conductor Hans Richter). Bruckner made more minor revisions of this symphony in 1886–8.
Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in B flat major crowns his most productive era of symphony-writing, finished at the beginning of 1876. Until recently we knew only the thoroughly revised version of 1878. In 2008 the original concepts of this symphony were edited and performed by Akira Naito with the Tokyo New City Orchestra. Many consider this symphony to be Bruckner's lifetime masterpiece in the area of counterpoint. For example, the Finale is a combined fugue and sonata form movement: the first theme (characterized by the downward leap of an octave) appears in the exposition as a four-part fugue in the strings and the concluding theme of the exposition is presented first as a chorale in the brass, then as a four-part fugue in the development, and culminating in a double fugue with the first theme at the recapitulation; additionally, the coda combines not only these two themes but also the main theme of the first movement. Bruckner never heard it played by an orchestra.
Symphony No. 6 in A major, written in 1879–1881, is an oft-neglected work; whereas the Bruckner rhythm (two quarters plus a quarter triplet or vice versa) is an important part of his previous symphonies, it pervades this work, particularly in the first movement, making it particularly difficult to perform.
Symphony No. 7 in E major was the most beloved of Bruckner's symphonies with audiences of the time, and is still popular. It was written 1881–1883 and revised in 1885. During the time that Bruckner began work on this symphony, he was aware that Wagner's death was imminent, and so the Adagio is slow mournful music for Wagner (the climax of the movement comes at rehearsal letter W), and for the first time in Bruckner's oeuvre, Wagner tubas are included in the orchestra.
Bruckner began composition of his Symphony No. 8 in C minor in 1884. In 1887 Bruckner sent the work to Hermann Levi, the conductor who had led his Seventh to great success. Levi, who had said Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony was the greatest symphony written after Beethoven, believed that the Eighth was a confusing jumble. Devastated by Levi's assessment, Bruckner revised the work, sometimes with the aid of Franz Schalk, and completed this new version in 1890. Cooke writes that "Bruckner not only recomposed [the Eighth]... but greatly improved it in a number of ways.... This is the one symphony that Bruckner did not fully achieve in his first definite version, to which there can be no question of going back."
The final accomplishment of Bruckner's life was to be his Symphony No. 9 in D minor which he started in August 1887, and which he dedicated "To God the Beloved." The first three movements were completed by the end of 1894, the Adagio alone taking 18 months to complete. Work was delayed by the composer's poor health and by his compulsion to revise his early symphonies, and by the time of his death in 1896 he had not finished the last movement. The first three movements remained unperformed until their premiere in Vienna (in Ferdinand Löwe's version) on 11 February 1903.
Bruckner suggested using his Te Deum as a Finale, which would complete the homage to Beethoven's Ninth symphony (also in D minor). The problem was that the Te Deum is in C major, while the Ninth Symphony is in D minor, and, although Bruckner began sketching a transition from the Adagio key of E major to the triumphant key of C major, he did not pursue the idea. There have been several attempts to complete these sketches and prepare them for performance, as well as completions of his later sketches for an instrumental Finale, but only the first three movements of the symphony are usually performed.
Sacred choral works 
The second of Bruckner's three settings of "Ave Maria" performed by the United States Navy Band's Sea Chanters ensemble
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Bruckner was a devoutly religious man, and composed numerous sacred works. He wrote a Te Deum, settings of five Psalms (including Psalm 150 in the 1890s), about forty motets (among them three settings of both Christus factus est pro nobis and Ave Maria), and at least seven Masses. The three early Masses, he composed between 1842 and 1844, were short Austrian Landmessen for use in local churches and did not always set all the numbers of the ordinary. His Requiem in D minor of 1849 is the earliest work Bruckner himself considered worthy of preservation. It shows the clear influence of Mozart's Requiem (also in D minor) and similar works of Michael Haydn. The three Masses Bruckner wrote in the 1860s and revised later on in his life are more often performed. The Masses numbered 1 in D minor and 3 in F minor are for solo singers, mixed choir, organ and orchestra, while No. 2 in E minor is for mixed choir and a small group of wind instruments, and was written in an attempt to meet the Cecilians halfway. The Cecilians wanted to rid church music of instruments entirely. No. 3 was clearly meant for concert, rather than liturgical performance, and it is the only one of his Masses in which he set the first line of the Gloria, "Gloria in excelsis Deo", and of the Credo, "Credo in unum Deum", to music. In concert performances of the other Masses, these lines are intoned by a tenor soloist in the way a priest would, with a line of plainsong.
Other music 
As a young man Bruckner sang in men's choirs and wrote music for them. This music is rarely performed. Biographer Derek Watson characterizes the pieces for men's choir as being "of little concern to the non-German listener". Of about sixty such pieces, the cantate Helgoland of 1893, is the only secular vocal work Bruckner thought worthy enough to bequeath to the Vienna National Library.
The Overture in G minor of 1862 (revised in 1863) is occasionally included in recordings of the symphonies, and it is one of the works Bruckner wrote during his apprentice with Otto Kitzler. At that time he also wrote, as orchestration exercises, a March in D minor and three short orchestral pieces. These works already show hints of Bruckner's emerging style.
A String Quartet in C minor Bruckner composed in 1862 was discovered decades after Bruckner's death. The later String Quintet in F Major of 1879, contemporaneous with the Fifth and Sixth symphonies, has been frequently performed.
There is an orchestral Symphonic Prelude that is attributed to Bruckner and also to Mahler and Bruckner's pupil Krzyzanowski. It was discovered in the Vienna National Library in 1974 in a piano duet transcription and later orchestrated by Albrecht Gürsching, who did not know the original orchestral score (published by Doblinger, Vienna). According to BJ Cohrs it is probably the work of Bruckner himself.
Bruckner's Two Aequale of 1847 for three trombones is a solemn, brief work. Bruckner also wrote Lancer-Quadrille (c. 1850) and a few other small works for piano, as well as a few organ works.
Among his most unusual and evocative compositions is the choral Abendzauber (1878) for tenor, yodelers and four alpine horns. This work, which was never performed in Bruckner's lifetime, can be heard on YouTube.
Bruckner never wrote an opera, and as much as he was a fan of Wagner's music dramas, he was uninterested in drama. In 1893 he thought about writing an opera called Astra based on a novel by Gertrud Bollé-Hellmund. Although he attended performances of Wagner's operas, he was much more interested in the music than the plot. After seeing Wagner's Götterdämmerung, he asked: "Tell me, why did they burn the woman at the end?" Nor did Bruckner ever write an oratorio.
The Bruckner Problem 
The Bruckner Problem is a term that refers to the difficulties and complications resulting from the numerous contrasting versions and editions that exist for most of the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. The term gained currency following the publication (in 1969) of an article dealing with the subject, "The Bruckner Problem Simplified," by musicologist Deryck Cooke, which brought the issue to the attention of English-speaking musicians.
In the case of the Third Symphony, Cooke identified and compared the following six scores:
- 1873 original version (then still unpublished);
- 1874 first revision (then still unpublished);
- 1877 second revision, published in 1878 as the first edition;
- 1877 Fritz Oeser edition of the same (published by the International Bruckner Society in 1950);
- 1889 another revision (Cooke called this a Bruckner-Schalk revision), edited by Theodor Raettig, published 1890;
- 1889 the same, edited by Leopold Nowak as part of the Complete Edition.
Cooke considered the 1873 and 1874 versions to be "pure pedantry" and that "the first two scores were mere discarded attempts, which have never been published or performed [at that time]" (Cooke 362). Therefore he concluded that there was only a choice between the 1877 version and the discredited (in his opinion) 1889 Bruckner-Schalk revision.
Cooke's position on the first versions has been severely criticised by later musicologists, most notably Julian Horton, saying that "his dismissal of the first version of the Third [Symphony] ... on the grounds that they were not performing versions is untenable. The fact that this score was not performed before it was revised does not render it illegitimate" (Horton 2004).
The different versions and editions of the symphonies 
|Study Symphony||00||F minor||1863||Nowak ||40–45 minutes|
|Symphony No. 1||C minor||1866, 1877, 1891||1866: Carragan 
1877: Haas , Nowak 
1891: Doblinger , Brosche 
|Symphony in D minor||Die Nullte||D minor||1869||Wöss , Nowak ||45–55 minutes|
|Symphony No. 2||C minor||1872, 18731, 18761, 1877, 18922||1872: Carragan 
1877: Haas 3, Nowak , Carragan 
1892: Doblinger 
|Symphony No. 3||Wagner||D minor||1873, 1874, 1876, 1877, 18784, 1889||1873: Nowak 
1874: Thomas Röder 
1876: Nowak 
1877: Nowak 
1878: Oeser 
1889: Rättig , Nowak 
|Symphony No. 4||Romantic||E-flat major||1874, 18785, 18806, 1881, 1886, 18877, 1888||1874: Nowak 
1878: Haas , Nowak 
1881 (aka 1878/1880): Haas 
1886 (aka 1878/1880): Nowak 
1888: Gutmann , Korstvedt 
|Symphony No. 5||B-flat major||1876-1878||Doblinger 8, Haas , Nowak ||75–80 minutes|
|Symphony No. 6||A major||1881||Doblinger , Haas , Nowak ||55–65 minutes|
|Symphony No. 7||E major||1883||Gutmann , Haas , Nowak ||60–75 minutes|
|Symphony No. 8||C minor||1887, 18889, 1890, 189210||1877: Nowak 
1890: Haas 11, Nowak 
|Symphony No. 9||(Unfinished)||D minor||1894||Doblinger 12, Orel , Nowak , Cohrs 
Finale sketches: Orel , Phillips [1994-2002]
1 variants of the 1872 version reconstituted by Carragan, 2 variant of the 1877 version, 3 "mixed version" 1872-1877,
4 version identical to that of 1877, Scherzo without coda,
5 version with the new "Hunting" Scherzo and the "Volkfest Finale", 6 1878 version with a new Finale, unpublished, revised in 1881 and 1886, 7 slight revision, unpublished, 8 version revised by Franz Schalk,
9 Adagio edited by Gault and Kawasaki , other movements reconstituted by Carragan, 10 version revised by Joseph Schalk, 11 "mixed version" 1887-1890, 12 version revised by Ferdinand Löwe
The early published editions of Bruckner's symphonies 
The first versions of the symphonies often presented an instrumental, contrapuntal and rhythmic complexity (Brucknerian rhythm "2 + 3", use of quintolets), the originality of which has not been understood and considered unperformable by the musicians. In order to make them "performable", the symphonies, except Symphonies No. 6 and No. 7, have been revised several times. Consequently there are several versions and editions, mainly of Symphonies 3, 4 and 8, which have been deeply emended.
The editions of Bruckner's works published by Theodor Rättig, Albert Gutmann, Haslinger-Schlesinger-Lienau and Ludwig Doblinger during and slightly after Bruckner's lifetime tended to "incorporate orchestral retouching, alterations in phrasing, articulation, and dynamics, and added tempo and expression markings," and on occasion were cut. These changes were made by Bruckner's friends and associates, and it is not always possible to tell whether the emendations had Bruckner's direct authorization. These were the versions that were used for nearly all performances until the 1930s. Cooke judges all these publications as "spurious" because they "did not represent Bruckner's own intentions," while Korstvedt classifies them into three categories:
- Not authentic: versions that "contain extensive modifications and additions made without Bruckner's approval, participation, or knowledge".
- Authentic: "authentic versions prepared, supervised, and authorized by Bruckner. They do contain some elements that did not originate from the composer, but especially in the light of his publication of them, this is not enough reason to reject them."
- Grey area: publications that "differ in some ways from the readings of Bruckner's last manuscript scores and certain contain some external editorial emendations ... yet they were published with Bruckner's apparent approval." "More study is needed" into these texts.
Korstvedt argues that it was not uncommon for differences to exist between the autograph manuscripts and the first publications of musical works in the late 19th century, and that while the discrepancies in Bruckner's case are "unusually pronounced" they are not "essentially aberrant." He points to the example of Verdi's Falstaff, whose musical text contains substantial contributions from the leader of the orchestra of La Scala which were apparently welcomed by the composer.
|Work||Published||Cooke (1969)||Korstvedt (2004)|
|First Symphony||1893||Spurious||Grey area|
|Second Symphony||1892||Spurious||Grey area|
|Fifth Symphony||1896||Spurious||Not authentic|
|Sixth Symphony||1899||Spurious||Not authentic|
|Eighth Symphony||1892||Spurious||Grey area|
|Ninth Symphony||1903||Spurious||Not authentic|
Looking for authentic versions of the symphonies 
Robert Haas 
Leopold Nowak 
From the years 1950's onwards Nowak revised and re-issued the editions of Haas, Wöss and Orel. He claimed that in the case of Symphonies No. 2 and No. 8, Haas had mixed and matched passages from an early version and a later version to create "hybrid" scores. However, when the manuscripts became available in microfilm, it was found that the passages that Haas had allegedly mixed in from earlier manuscripts were actually present, but crossed out in the manuscript that Haas worked with; Bruckner wrote a letter to the conductor Felix Weingartner, in which he mentioned the cut passages and hoped that they will prove "valid for posterity, and for a circle of friends and connoisseurs".
William Carragan 
In 1998 Carragan reconstituted and issued the 1866, original version of Symphony No. 1. In 2005, he reconstituted and edited the 1872 version of Symphony No. 2, as well as its intermediate versions of 1873 and 1876. He also reviewed the 1877 version of Nowak, in which he corrected some residual errors. This revision, which is conform to Bruckner's manuscript, has been recorded by Daniel Barenboim with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs and Benjamin Korstvedt 
In 2000 Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs issued a new edition of Symphony No. 9, in which he corrected some errors he had found in Nowak's edition. The premiere of Cohrs’ edition together with the sketches of the Finale issued by John Alan Phillips have been recorded by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
The critical edition of the symphonies 
Symphony in F minor ("Studiensymphonie"; 1863) - Nowak (1973)
Symphony No. 1 in C minor
- Early Adagio (1865/1866, fragment) & Scherzo (1865) - Wolfgang Grandjean (1995)
- Linz version (1866) - Nowak (1953)
- Vienna version (1890/1891) - Günter Brosche (1980)
Symphony in D minor (No. 0; 1869) - Nowak (1968)
Symphony No. 2 in C minor
- First version (1872) - Carragan (2005)
- Second version (1877) - Carragan (1997)
Symphony No. 3 in D minor ("Wagner Symphony")
- First version (1873) - Nowak (1977)
- 1876 Adagio - Nowak (1980)
- Second version (1877) - Nowak (1981)
- Third version (1889) - Nowak (1959)
Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major ("Romantic")
- First version (1874) - Nowak (1975)
- 1878 Finale - Nowak (1981)
- Second version (1886, aka 1878/1880) - Nowak (1953)
- Third version (1888) - Korstvedt (2004)
Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major (1878) - Nowak (1951)
Symphony No. 6 in A major (1881) - Nowak (1952)
Symphony No. 7 in E major (1883) - Nowak (1954)
Symphony No. 8 in C minor
- First version (1887) - Nowak (1972)
- 1888 Adagio - Dermot Gault and Takanobu Kawasaki (2003). Not yet included in the Kritische Gesamtausgabe
- Second version (1890) - Nowak (1955)
Symphony No. 9 in D minor
- First movement – Scherzo & Trio – Adagio (1894) - Critical new edition by Cohrs (2000)
- Finale fragment (1895/1896) - John A. Phillips (1994)
- Two posthumous trios for the Scherzo with viola solo - Cohrs
- Trio No. 1 in F major (1889)
- Trio No. 2 in F-sharp major (1893)
Reception in the 20th century 
Because of the long duration and vast orchestral canvas of much of his music, Bruckner's popularity has greatly benefited from the introduction of long-playing media and from improvements in recording technology.
Decades after his death, the Nazis strongly approved of Bruckner's music because it was considered by them to be an expression of the zeitgeist of the German volk, and Hitler even consecrated a bust of Bruckner in a widely photographed ceremony in 1937 at Regensburg's Walhalla temple. Bruckner's music was among the most popular in Nazi Germany and the Adagio from his Seventh Symphony was broadcast by the German radio (Deutscher Reichsrundfunk) upon announcing the news of Hitler's death on 1 May 1945. However, this did not hurt Bruckner's standing in the postwar media, and several movies and TV productions in Europe and the United States have used excerpts from his music ever since the 1950s, as they already did in the 1930s. Nor did the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra ever ban Bruckner's music as they have Wagner's, even recording with Zubin Mehta the Eighth Symphony.
Bruckner's symphonic works, much maligned in Vienna in his lifetime, now have an important place in the tradition and musical repertoire of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The life of Bruckner was portrayed in Jan Schmidt-Garre's 1995 film Bruckner's Decision, which focuses on his recovery in the Austrian spa. Ken Russell's TV movie The Strange Affliction of Anton Bruckner, starring Peter Mackriel, also fictionalizes Bruckner's real-life stay at a sanatorium because of obsessive-compulsive disorder (or 'numeromania' as it was then described).
In addition, "Visconti used the music of Bruckner for his Senso (1953), its plot concerned with the Austrian invasion of Italy in the 1860s." The score by Carl Davis for Ben-Hur (1925) version restoration takes "inspiration from Bruckner to achieve reverence in biblical scenes."
Jascha Horenstein made the first electronic recording of a Bruckner Symphony (#7), with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1928.
Bruno Walter, who acted as an "ambassador" for Bruckner in the United States, made celebrated recordings of symphonies 4, 7 and 9 late in his career and wrote an essay on "Bruckner and Mahler". Otto Klemperer made one of the first two recordings of Bruckner (the Adagio of the Eighth Symphony from 1924). Wilhelm Furtwängler made his conducting debut with the Ninth Symphony in 1906 and conducted Bruckner constantly throughout his career.
Hans Knappertsbusch was unusual in continuing to perform the first published editions of Bruckner's symphonies even after the critical editions became available. Eugen Jochum recorded Bruckner's numbered symphonies many times, as did Herbert von Karajan. Günter Wand, in addition to audio recordings, also made video recordings of his Bruckner concerts. Georg Tintner received acclaim late in life for his complete cycle of recordings on the Naxos label.
In Japan, Bruckner's symphonies were championed by Takashi Asahina, and multiple concert recordings of each symphony conducted by Asahina have been issued on compact disc.
The Romanian conductor Sergiu Celibidache did not conduct all of Bruckner's symphonies, but those that he did conduct resulted in readings of great breadth, possibly the longest accounts of the works on record. This is especially true in the case of the Eighth Symphony, which lasts over 100 minutes. Although he never made commercial recordings of Bruckner, several recordings of concert performances were released after his death.
Eliahu Inbal recorded an early cycle which featured some previously unrecorded versions. For instance, Inbal was the first conductor to record the first version of Bruckner's Third, Fourth, and the completed finale to the Ninth. Daniel Barenboim recorded two complete cycles of Bruckner's symphonies, one with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the other with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Sir Georg Solti also recorded a complete cycle with the Chicago Symphony. Bernard Haitink recorded all of Bruckner's numbered symphonies with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and re-recorded several symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. Stanislaw Skrowaczewski recorded all the symphonies, including Nos. 00 and 0, with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken. Carlo Maria Giulini made a speciality of Bruckner's late symphonies as well as No. 2. Giuseppe Sinopoli was in the process of recording all Bruckner's symphonies at the time of his death.
More recently Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christian Thielemann, Mariss Jansons, Benjamin Zander and Simone Young have recorded several Bruckner symphonies. Leon Botstein is the most recent conductor to record inauthentic versions of Bruckner's symphonies (e.g., the 1894 Schalk version of the Fifth).
See also 
- (French) Paul-Gilbert Langevin, Anton Bruckner – apogée de la symphonie, l'Age d'Homme, Lausanne, 1977 – ISBN 2-8251-0880-4
- "The laconic idiom of restraint, the art of mere suggestion, involving economy of means and form, is not theirs. " Bruno Walter observed, comparing Bruckner and Gustav Mahler (see Walter's Essay below).
- Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy, by Theodor W. Adorno, University of Chicago Press, 1996, page 66
- Rudolf Kloiber: Handbuch der klassischen und romantischen Symphonie. Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden 1964. ISBN 3-7651-0017-X. Pages 241–285
- Karl Grebe: Anton Bruckner. Rowohlt Taschenbuchverlag GmbH. Hamburg, 1972
- Hans-Hubert Schönzeler, Bruckner. New York: Grossman Publishers (1970): 8. "Josef Bruckner had twelve children, and one of them, Anton, born in 1791, became a teacher like his father. ... In 1823 he married Therese Helm from Streyr, a marriage which was to be blessed with eleven children, ... Their eldest was Josef Anton, born on 4 September 1824 and named after his grandfather."
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 3
- Karl Grebe: Anton Bruckner. Rowohlt Berlin 1972. Page 27.
- Hinrichsen (2010), p.18
- Karl Grebe: Anton Bruckner. Rowohlt Berlin, 1972. ISBN 3-499-50190-2. Pages 27–34
- p. 94, Hawkshaw (2007) Paul. 90 "Anton Bruckner's Counterpoint Studies at the Monastery of Saint Florian, 1845–55" 1 Musical Quarterly
- Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen (editor): Bruckner Handbuch. J.B. Metzler'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung and Carl Ernst Poeschel Vergal GmbH, Stuttgart, 2010, ISBN 9783467022622, p.31
- Schōnzeler (1970): 70. "In July 1875 Bruckner ... proposed yet a third time to the university of Vienna that a lectureship in harmony and counterpoint be created, and at long last, despite Hanslick's opposition, his application was successful. Bruckner was appointed to the post, and on 25 November 1875 he gave his opening oration.
- Peter Gammond, Bluff Your Way in Music. London: Ravette Books (1985):: 33. "it is generally said that Bruckner was a very simple man ... If, after listening to one of his symphonies, you still feel that he was simple, then you are not the kind of person who should be reading this book."
- Karl Grebe: Anton Bruckner. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Hamburg 1972.
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 73. "Unlike Franck or Reger, however, he [Bruckner] has not left a single composition of any value for his instrument."
- Wolff, Werner (1942), Anton Bruckner Rustic Genius, E.P. Dutton & Co
- Watson, Derek Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 39
- Schōnzeler (1970): 108. "Bruckner's ... body was taken to St. Florian. ... There, in a splendid sarcophagus, lie the earthly remains of Anton Bruckner, but from above the crypt, from the great 'Bruckner Organ', his living spirit still bursts forth."
- Cooke, New Grove (1980), 3:360.
- Johnson, Stephen (10 January 1996), Bruckner: guilty or not guilty?, The Independent, UK
- Watson, Derek Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 46
- Anton Bruckner - An Introduction by John F. Berky
- Temperley, New Grove (1980), 18:461–462.
- Temperley, New Grove (1980), 18:462.
- Cooke, New Grove (1980), 3:365.
- Holland, Bernard (25 January 2008), "In a Show of Accessibility, Schumann Joins Bruckner", New York Times
- Bonds, New Grove (2001), 24:839.
- Schōnzeler (1970): 67. "No. 1 he always called 'das kecke Beserl' (impossible to translate into English—perhaps 'the cheeky brat')."
- "Symphony in B-flat Major (sketch)". Abruckner.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 80. "That Symphony No. 2 is in C minor has actually been cited as a proof of Bruckner's naïvety as a composer."
- Robert Simpson, The Essence of Bruckner: An essay towards the understanding of his music. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd (1977): 64. "At this time Bruckner was more obsessed with Wagner's music than at any other time in his life, and the symphony contained a number of deliberate quotations from, mainly, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walküre and Die Meistersinger. This was the version Wagner saw and of which he accepted the dedication; Bruckner sent him a fair copy of the 1874 score."
- "Discography of Symphony No. 5". Abruckner.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 101. The Fifth was "the only one of his numbered and completed symphonies of which he was never to hear a note played."
- Simpson (1977): 123. "The Sixth is the shortest of the fully mature symphonies. It has always been neglected, and I have never been able to understand why, for it has consistently struck me ... as among his most beautiful and original works; his own high opinion of it seems thoroughly justified."
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 113. The Eighth "which he regarded as his finest work, caused him the greatest emotional strain of his whole career."
- Cooke, New Grove (1980), 3:361.
- Simpson (1977): 181 – 182. "When Bruckner knew that he might not finish the Ninth he suggested that the Te Deum could be used as a finale, and the presence in the sketches of a motive ... led to the supposition that he was composing some kind of link between the two works. There is no evidence to suggest that Bruckner, even in the poor state of health and mind the last few months of his life, considered the use of the C major Te Deum as finale to a D minor symphony to be more than a makeshift solution."
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 72. "They are of little concern to the non-German listener and do not represent important stages in Bruckner's creative unfolding."
- "Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs: ''"Symphonisches Präludium"—Composed by Anton Bruckner?'', 2006/rev.2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- mariosteller (2009-11-10). "''Abendzauber'' on YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Derek Watson, Bruckner. New York: Schuster & Macmillan (1997): 19. "Studying Tristan Bruckner used a piano score without text – a sign of how unconcerned he was with opera as drama."
- Derek Watson, Bruckner (1997) New York: Schuster & Macmillan, p.s 45–46
- Keith William Kinder, The Wind and Wind-chorus Music of Anton Bruckner. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group (2000): 51, note 14
- H. C. Robbins Landon, The Symphonies of Joseph Haydn. London: Universal Edition & Rockliff (1955): 101. "The Bruckner problem is ... complicated by the fact that not only did the composer often revise his own works but to a certain extent sanctioned the alterations, even those on the largest scale, which his pupils and others found it advisable to make. The case of Haydn is simpler, since we are not faced with two or more alternatives but with one."
- Korstvedt, p. 122
- Korstvedt, p. 132
- Cooke, p. 20
- Korstvedt, pp. 132–133
- Korstvedt, p. 133
- Korstvedt, Benjamin M. (2000), Bruckner: Symphony No. 8, Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 105, ISBN 0-521-63537-3
- Watson, Derek. Bruckner Oxford: Oxford University Press
- William Carragan - The Bruckner versions, once more
- Symphony No. 9 (Cohrs' edition of 2000) and sketches of the Finale by Nikolaus Harnoncourt
- Symphony No. 4 (1888 Version) by Akira Naito
- Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major, 1876 Version
- Symphony No. 5 (Original concepts) by Akira Naito
- "Bruckner in the Movies, TV and Radio". Abruckner.com. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Charles P. Mitchell, The Great Composers Portrayed on Film: 1913 through 2002. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers (2004): 49 – 50
- p. 437 (2008) Cooke
- p. 39, Cooke (2008) Mervyn. Cambridge A History of Film Music Cambridge University Press
- Lionel Tacchini. "Arcor.de". Home.arcor.de. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Bruckner, Anton. Symphony No. 8/2, C minor, 1890 version. Edited by Leopold Nowak. New York: Eulenberg, 1994.
- Gilliam, Bryan (1997). "The Annexation of Anton Bruckner: Nazi Revisionism and the Politics of Appropriation". In Jackson, Timothy L.; Hawkshaw, Paul. Bruckner studies. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. pp. 72–91. ISBN 978-0-521-57014-5.
- Korstvedt, Benjamin M. Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 19.
- ed. Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980), 20 vols. ISBN 0-333-23111-2.
- ed. Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition (London: Macmillan, 2001), 29 vols. ISBN 0-333-60800-3.
- Walter, Bruno (November 1940), "Bruckner and Mahler", Chord and Dischord (Bruckner Society of America) II (2): 2–12, retrieved 29 July 2006
- Cooke, Deryck (1969), "The Bruckner Problem Simplified", Musical Times CX (1511): 59–62, ISSN 0027-4666
- Horton, Julian, "Bruckner's Symphonies: Analysis, Reception and Cultural Politics", 2004, Cambridge.
- Korstvedt, Benjamin (2004), "Bruckner editions: the revolution revisited", in Williamson, John, The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-00878-6
- James R. Oestreich, "Problems and Detours On Bruckner's Timeline", New York Times, July 10, 2005, Sec. Arts and Leisure, Pg. 23.
- Further reading
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Anton Bruckner|
- Free scores by Anton Bruckner in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)
- Free scores by Anton Bruckner at the International Music Score Library Project
- The life of Anton Bruckner in Chord and Discord, American Bruckner Society, 1940. A very well-written biography, with references to the conflict with the Hanslick/Brahms field, and 19th century Austrian culture and society.
- The Bruckner Journal devoted to Anton Bruckner, edited by Ken Ward, caters for lay enthusiasts, musicians and academics. Produced in the UK
- Bruckner Discography edited by John F. Berky and Hans Roelofs – Detailed listing recordings of Anton Bruckner's works. Also includes articles and free downloads
- Extensive article (35 pages) by Aart van der Wal on Bruckner's Symphony No. 9, unfinished finale
- Classical Net – Bruckner Bio, Recordings, and Essays
- UV.es – Anton Bruckner Bibliography
- Detailed information on the various editions and revisions of Bruckner's symphonies
- Discography and List of Works
- Bruckner biography, 19th century Austrian culture and society
- Bruckner MIDIs at Classical Archives
- Homepage for Bruckner's House museum (Ger)
- The Music of Eternity by David B. Hart, First Things