Symphony in D minor (Bruckner)

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Symphony in D minor
by Anton Bruckner
Bruckner circa 1860.jpg
A portrait of Anton Bruckner, c. 1860
Key D minor
Catalogue WAB 100
Composed 1869 (1869)
  • 1924 (1924) (ed. Wöss)
  • 1968 (1968) (ed. Leopold Nowak)
Recorded 1951 (1951) Henk Spruit, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Movements 4
Date 12 October 1924 (1924-10-12)
Location Klosterneuenburg
Conductor Franz Moissl

This Symphony in D minor (WAB 100) composed by Anton Bruckner was not assigned a number by its composer, and has subsequently become known by the German designation Die Nullte (translated to The Zeroth or Number Nought in English).


Bruckner never gave this symphony a number, but long after its composition declared that it "gilt nicht" ("doesn't count") and on one copy of the score he put the symbol "∅". This symbol was later interpreted as a numeral zero.[1] According to the conductor Georg Tintner, this lack of confidence in the work arose from a question by the puzzled conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Felix Otto Dessoff, who asked Bruckner, "Where is the main theme?"[2]

Because of the designation Die Nullte, biographs Göllerich and Auer felt that it was composed before Symphony No. 1. Against this assumption, the autograph score is dated 24 January to 12 September 1869, and no earlier sketch or single folio of this work has been retrieved.[1]

The work was not premiered until 1924. It is sometimes referred to as "Symphony in D minor, opus posthumous", but in English it is most often called "Symphony No. 0".[1]


The score calls for a pair each of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, and strings.

It has four movements.

First movement, Allegro[edit]

The work begins with an ostinato in the strings that is in D minor.


Leopold Nowak suggested[citation needed] that the answer to Desoff's question is that the principal theme is in the first movement of Symphony No. 3 in D minor, which also begins with an ostinato.

Second movement, Andante[edit]

Nowak places all markings of Andante for this B-flat major movement in parentheses.


Third movement, Scherzo: Presto – Trio: Langsamer und ruhiger[edit]

Loud and rather ferocious, the theme has something of the qualities of the Mannheim rocket, but its chromaticism suggests the future music of Shostakovich.[citation needed]


The Trio's theme in G major has hints of G minor.


Unlike later scherzos, this one has a separate coda for the reprise of the Scherzo.

Fourth movement, Finale: Moderato – Allegro vivace[edit]

The movement begins with a slow introduction. The theme in the violins,


is accompanied by semiquavers (i.e. sixteenth notes) in the woodwinds (music that shows up again in the development). This gives way to the main theme of the following allegro-movement,


which does double duty as a third theme. The second theme


reminds some listeners[who?] of Rossini.[3]


The symphony is available in two editions: by Wöss (published 1924) and Leopold Nowak (published 1968).[4]


The first commercial recording of the symphony was by Fritz Zaun with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra in 1933. It included only the scherzo, in the Wöss edition.

The first commercial recording of the complete symphony was by Henk Spruit with the Concert Hall Symphony Orchestra in 1952.

Performances and recordings of the "complete" Bruckner Symphonies often exclude this "nullified" Symphony, most notably excepting the boxed sets of Riccardo Chailly, Eliahu Inbal, Bernard Haitink, Georg Tintner, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and former Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductors Daniel Barenboim and Sir Georg Solti.

Notable recordings[edit]

Wöss edition[edit]

  • Henk Spruit conducting the Concert Hall Symphony Orchestra, Concert Hall LP CHS 1142, 1952
This long out-of-print recording has recently been transferred to CD: Klassic Haus CD GSC 010
This LP has been later re-issued in the Philips CD box 442 040-2.

Nowak edition[edit]

This long out-of-print recording has recently been transferred to CD, together with the historical recording of the Windhaager Messe by Wolfgang Riedelbauch: Klassic Haus KHCD 2012-007


Tintner, Georg. Recording notes for Anton Bruckner: Symphonies No. 8 and 0, Ireland National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Georg Tintner. Naxos 8.554215-16.

  1. ^ a b c Hawkshaw, Paul (1983). 19th-Century Music 6 (3): 252–263. doi:10.2307/746590. JSTOR 746590. 
  2. ^ Georg Tintner, leaflet to CD 8.554215-16
  3. ^ Anonymous. Recording notes for Bruckner: Symphony No. 0 and Motets, SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Neville Mariner.
  4. ^ "Anton Bruckner Critical Complete Edition - Symphony in D minor". Retrieved 2 October 2014. 

External links[edit]