Overture (Bruckner)

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by Anton Bruckner
Bruckner circa 1860.jpg
The composer, c. 1860
Key G minor
Catalogue WAB 98
Composed 1862 (1862)–1863 (1863) – Linz
Performed 8 September 1921 (1921-09-08) – Klosterneuburg
Published 1921 (1921)
Recorded 1937 (1937)
Instrumental Orchestra

In 1862–63 Anton Bruckner composed the Overture in G minor (WAB 98).

In contrast with the earlier Four Orchestral Pieces and the next Symphony in F minor, the Overture appears a much more mature work. Bruckner's characteristics are already present: the opening subject with his octave leap in unison – as that of the main theme of the Ninth Symphony, the full orchestral chords followed by semiquaver runs, and the second slower subject with its large interval leaps, which is prefiguring the descending motive of the Adagio of the Fifth Symphony. The work contains at bars 271–275 a descending scale similar to the "Sleep leitmotiv" of the not yet composed Act 3 of Wagner's Walküre. Bruckner will use such descending scales frequently in his later works, e.g., as "Farewell to Life" in the Adagio of the Ninth Symphony.

The orchestral setting is similar to that of the March in D minor, except that the second flute is replaced by a piccolo.

The first (1862) version of the Overture, which is 8 bars longer, has a different coda at bars 233–288. This was replaced—and approved by Kitzler—with a new coda in the final version of 1863. The "coda of the coda" (bars 289–301 [bars 281–293 of the 1863 version]) is the same in both versions.

The score of the Overture was given by Bruckner to his friend Cyrill Hynais, together with that of Four Orchestral Pieces and the Symphony in F minor.


The Overture has been recorded about twenty times, mainly as addendum to the recording of a symphony. Some of these recordings, including the single recording of the 1862 version of the Overture by Shunsaku Tsutsumi, can be downloaded from John Berky’s site.[1][2]


  1. ^ Downloadable samples of the Overture on John Berky’s site
  2. ^ Downloadable sample of the 1862 version the Overture on John Berky’s site

External links[edit]