Four Orchestral Pieces (Bruckner)

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Vier Orchesterstücke
by Anton Bruckner
Bruckner circa 1860.jpg
The composer, c. 1860
English Four Orchestral Pieces
Catalogue WAB 96–97
Composed 12 October 1862 (1862-10-12): Linz
Performed 12 October 1924 (1924-10-12): Klosterneuburg
Published 1930 (1930)

The Four Orchestral Pieces are four short orchestral pieces, which Anton Bruckner composed in the fall of 1862 during his tuition with Otto Kitzler.

History[edit]

During the summer of 1862, when studying with Otto Kitzler in Linz, Bruckner composed his first instrumental work, the String Quartet in C minor. In the fall of the same year, he tried his hand at purely orchestral composition. These "first arms" resulted in four small orchestral pieces: the Marsch (March) in D minor and the so-called Drei Sätze für Orchester (Three Pieces for orchestra).

The original manuscript is found in the Kizler-Studienbuch:

  • Sketch and discarded first Trio for the March in D minor: pp. 251–252
  • March in D minor: pp. 253–265 (dated 12 October 1862)[1]
  • Three Orchestral Pieces: pp. 266–271 (undated), 272–277 (dated 10 November 1862), 278–286 (dated 16 November 1862)[2][3]

A score of the Four Orchestral Pieces was given by Bruckner to his friend Cyrill Hynais, together with that of the Overture in G minor and the Symphony in F minor. These scores are stored in the archive of the Stadt- und Landesbibliothek of Vienna.[3]

The Four Orchestral Pieces were performed first by Franz Moißl on 12 October 1924 in Klosterneuburg. A piano transcription of the March by Max Auer (1930) was put in Band III/2, pp. 29-32 of the Göllerich/Auer biography. The orchestral score of the Three Orchestral Pieces was put in Band III/2, pp. 34-60 of the Göllerich/Auer biography.[3]

The Vier Orchesterstücke (Four Orchestral Pieces) are edited in Band XII/4 of the current Bruckner's Gesamtausgabe.[4]

Setting[edit]

March in D minor[edit]

For another March composed by Bruckner, see Military march (Bruckner).

The March in D minor (WAB 96) used the orchestral setting of Mozart's late symphonies (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings), and three trombones.

The March is in three parts:

  1. March (A-BA), 26 bars, with internal repetition,
  2. Trio (A-B) in B-flat major, 16 bars, with internal repetition,
  3. Reprise of the March, followed by a 5-bar long coda.[1]

Duration: about 4 minutes.[4]

Three Pieces for orchestra[edit]

The Three Pieces for orchestra (WAB 97) are charming, melodious little movements,[5] scored for a similar orchestral setting, with only one trombone.

  1. Moderato in E-flat major, 36 bars,
  2. Andante in E minor, 48 bars,
  3. Moderato com moto in F major, 45 bars.[2]

Total duration: about 9 minutes.[4]

The main interest of the Four Orchestral Pieces lies in the fact that with these pieces Bruckner for the first time touched upon that field which he was to make his life's work: pure and absolute orchestral music. The March and the central section of the final piece have some slight indications of the Bruckner to come. In the March, it is interesting to note that it already contains a passage which will recur much later in the Eighth Symphony.[1][5]

Discography[edit]

The Four Orchestral Pieces have been recorded about ten times, mainly as addendum to the recording of a symphony. The first recording occurred in c. 1937 by Ludwig K. Mayer with the Berlin City Orchestra (78 rpm: Polydor 57213).

Some of the recordings can be downloaded from John Berky’s site.[6]

Notes[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • August Göllerich, Anton Bruckner. Ein Lebens- und Schaffens-Bild, c. 1922 – posthumous edited by Max Auer by G. Bosse, Regensburg, 1932
  • Anton Bruckner - Sämtliche Werke, Band XII/4: Vier Orchesterstücke (1862), Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Hans Jancik and Rüdiger Bornhöft (Editors), Vienna, 1996
  • Anton Bruckner - Sämtliche Werke, Band XXV: Das Kitzler Studienbuch (1861-1863), facsimile, Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Paul Hawkshaw and Erich Wolfgang Partsch (Editors), Vienna, 2015
  • Uwe Harten, Anton Bruckner. Ein Handbuch. Residenz Verlag, Salzburg, 1996. ISBN 3-7017-1030-9.
  • Cornelis van Zwol, Anton Bruckner 1824–1896 – Leven en werken, uitg. Thoth, Bussum, Netherlands, 2012. ISBN 978-90-6868-590-9

External links[edit]