Study Symphony in F minor

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Anton Bruckner's Study Symphony in F minor (Studiensymphonie), or simply Symphony in F minor, WAB 99, was written in 1863 as an exercise under Otto Kitzler's instruction in form and orchestration. Scholars at first believed that the next symphony Bruckner wrote was the so-called Symphony No. 0, thus this symphony is sometimes called Symphony No. 00 in F minor. In any case, musicologists are sure now that the next symphony Bruckner wrote after this one was Symphony No. 1 in C minor.[1] Together with the Linz version of Symphony No. 1, the Study Symphony was not written in Vienna like all Bruckner's other symphonies.[2]

The score of the Study Symphony was given by Bruckner to his friend Cyrill Hynais, together with that of the Four Orchestral Pieces of 1862 and the Overture in G minor. It was not played in Bruckner's lifetime, receiving its first performance at Klosterneuburg in 1924.[3] The Study Symphony is available in an edition by Leopold Nowak published in 1973.[4]

Instrumentation[edit]

Te work is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in B-flat, two bassoons, four horns (two in F, two in B-flat), two trumpets in F, alto, tenor and bass trombones, timpani and strings.

Movements[edit]

There are four movements:

  1. Allegro molto vivace, cut time[3]
  2. Andante molto, 4/4, E-flat major[3]
  3. Scherzo, Schnell, 3/4, C minor, with Trio, Langsamer, in A-flat major[3]
  4. Allegro, cut time, F minor to F major[3]

Criticism[edit]

Otto Kitzler did not consider this symphony to be particularly inspired, leading Georg Tintner to "wonder whether he [Kitzler] had a good look at the Scherzo." Tintner considers the Finale of the work to be the weakest of the four movements.

Bruckner himself labelled it "Schularbeit" (schoolwork).[5] Biographer Derek Watson says that compared to the Overture in G minor, the F minor Symphony "is certainly thematically uninspired and less characterful," but that it does have "some moments of warm melodiousness and consistently fine if unoriginal scoring."[6] Also, the score is quite lacking in dynamics and phrasing marks compared to Bruckner's later works.[7]

According to Nowak, "much about the work betrays the style of the times, but Bruckner’s own mode of expression can already be recognized in a number of other traits."[4]

Recordings[edit]

The first commercial recording, and apparently the first modern performance, was made by Elyakum Shapirra with the London Symphony Orchestra for EMI in 1972.[8] The first recording available on compact disc, was by Eliahu Inbal and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra on the Teldec label in 1991. Lasting 47 minutes, his recording appears slow compared to Tintner's 37-minute recording with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on Naxos (which is padded with the "Volkfest" Finale of Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major). Tintner skips the exposition repeats in the first and fourth movements, and occasionally dials down brass dynamics. Stanisław Skrowaczewski's 2001 recording with the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra on Arte Nova/Oehms Classics last 36 minutes.

The scherzo has been transcribed for organ and is available on a Novalis CD.[8]

References[edit]

Notes

Sources

  • A. Peter Brown, The second golden age of the Viennese symphony: Brahms, Bruckner, Dvořák, Mahler, and selected contemporaries, Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, 2002
  • Paul Hawkshaw, "An anatomy of change: Anton Bruckner's Revisions to the Mass in F minor" in: Bruckner Studies edited by Timothy L. Jackson and Paul Hawkshaw, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997
  • Paul Hawkshaw, "Bruckner's large sacred compositions" in: The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner edited by John Williamson, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004
  • Keith William Kinder, The Wind and Wind-Chorus Music of Anton Bruckner, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 2000
  • Timothy L. Jackson, "Bruckner's 'Oktaven'" in: Music & Letters Vol. 78 (No. 3), August 1997
  • Lee T. Lovallo, "Mass no. 3 in f minor" in: Anton Bruckner: a Discography, Rowman & Littlefield, New York, 1991
  • Leopold Nowak, Anton Bruckner: Sämtliche Werke: Band 10: Studiensymphonie F-Moll: Studienpartitur (Preface), Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Vienna, Richard Rickett (translator), 1973
  • Hans-Hubert Schönzeler, Bruckner, Marion Boyars, London, 1978
  • Robert Simpson, The Essence of Bruckner: An essay towards the understanding of his music, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1967
  • Derek Watson, Bruckner, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1975

External links[edit]