Psalm 150 (Bruckner)

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Psalm 150
by Anton Bruckner
Bruckner circa 1860.jpg
The composer, c. 1860
KeyC major
CatalogueWAB 38
FormPsalm setting from the Luther Bible
OccasionOpening of the Internationale Ausstellung für Musik und Theatherwesen
TextPsalms 150
Performed13 November 1892 (1892-11-13): Musikvereinsaal, Vienna
Recordedc. 1950 (c. 1950) by Henry Swoboda
VocalSATB choir and soprano soloist

Anton Bruckner's Psalm 150, WAB 38, is a setting of Psalm 150 for mixed chorus, soprano soloist and orchestra written in 1892.


Richard Heuberger asked Bruckner for a festive hymn to celebrate the opening of the exposition Internationale Ausstellung für Musik und Theatherwesen on 7 May 1892, but Bruckner did not deliver the piece in time for Heuberger's purpose.

The work was premiered in the Musikvereinsaal of Vienna on 13 November 1892, with the Wiener Singverein and the soprano soloist Henriette Standthartner under the baton of Wilhelm Gericke.[1] The concert also included a Schubert overture and Liszt's Piano Concerto in E-flat major, followed by Richard Strauss' Wanderers Sturmlied and Mendelssohn's Loreley.[2]

The manuscript, which was dedicated to Wilhelm Ritter von Härtel, is stored in the archive of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. It was first issued in November 1892 with another dedication to Max von Oberleithner, by Doblinger, as well as a vocal and piano reduction score by Cyrill Hynais.[1] The work is issued by Franz Grasberger in Band XX/6 of the Gesamtausgabe.[1]


Vermahnung zum Lobe Gottes (Exhortation for praising God)

  1. Halleluja. Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligthum; lobet ihn in der Feste seiner Macht; # Lobet ihn in seinen Thaten; lobet ihn in seiner großen Herrlichkeit. # Lobet ihn mit Posaunen; lobet ihn mit Psalter und Harfe; # Lobet ihn mit Pauken und Reigen; lobet ihn mit Saiten und Pfeifen; # Lobet ihn mit hellen Cymbeln; lobet ihn mit wohlklingenden Cymbeln. # Alles, was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn, Halleluja.



Bruckner's Psalm 150 in C major is scored for SATB choir and soprano soloist, and orchestra (2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones (alto, tenor and bass), contrabass tuba, timpani, and strings).[2][4]

Unlike the other psalm settings composed some 40 years earlier, for which he used a German-language Bible approved by the Catholic Church,[5] Bruckner used this time the German-language Martin Luther Bible for the text.

The 247-bar long piece starts out in C major, alla breve, with a tempo marking of Mehr langsam! Feierlich, kräftig (More slowly! Festive, strong) as the choir sings "Hallelujah" several times before moving on to the second line of the psalm. At rehearsal letter E, marked Bewegter (more moving), begins the listing of instruments with which to praise God. At J, Langsamer (More slowly) follows "Alles, Alles lobe den Herrn" At K, with a return to the initial tempo, Bruckner repeats the opening "Hallelujahs", but at L (bar 165) follows with "a complex fugue"[6] starting with the words "Alles, was Odem hat" once again Langsam (Slowly). Another return to the initial tempo at R marks the beginning of the coda with the words "Alles, alles lobe den Herrn". The theme of the fugue is related to that of the fugue of Bruckner's fifth symphony[1][2] and that of the Adagio of his ninth symphony.

The last time Bruckner improvised at the organ, he used melodies from this psalm setting.[7] Psalm 150 "shares both the key and the triumphant mood of rapturous exaltation of the Te Deum."[6]

Selected discography[edit]

The first recording (c. 1950) was by Henry Swoboda with the Wiener Akademie Kammerchor and the Wiener Symphoniker, LP: Westminster WAL 201 (with Symphony No. 6 and Psalm 112). Swoboda's historical performances of Psalms 112 & 150 and Richard Strauss' Wanderers Sturmlied have been recently transferred to CD by Klassichaus Recordings: GSC052, 2015.

Among the ten other recordings, Hans Roelofs selects the following four recordings:


  1. ^ a b c d C. van Zwol, pp. 698-699
  2. ^ a b c U. Harten, p. 345
  3. ^ Die Bibel, oder die ganze Heilige Schrift des alten und neuen Testaments, nach der deutsche Übersetzung D. Martin Luthers, abgedruckt nach der Hallischen Ausgabe, 1839, p. 683
  4. ^ Anton Bruckner Critical Complete Edition – Psalms and Magnificat
  5. ^ Joseph Franz von Allioli, Die Heilige Schrift des alten und neuen Testamentes, Dritter Band (mit Approbation des apostolischen Stuhles), 4. Auflage, Landshut, 1839
  6. ^ a b D. Watson, p. 96
  7. ^ E. Meier, p. 50


  • Max Auer, Anton Bruckner als Kirchenmusiker, Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg, 1927, pp. 187–200
  • Anton Bruckner - Sämtliche Werke, Band XX/6: Psalm 150 (1892), Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Franz Grasberger (Editor), Vienna, 1964
  • Elisabeth Meier, "An "inner" biography of Bruckner", Bruckner Studies edited by Timothy L. Jackson and Paul Hawkshaw, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997
  • Nicholas Rast, "A checklist of Essays and Reviews by Heinrich Schenker", Music Analysis, 7 No. 2, Blackwell Publishing, 1988
  • Derek Watson, Bruckner, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1975
  • Uwe Harten, Anton Bruckner. Ein Handbuch. Residenz Verlag, Salzburg, 1996. ISBN 3-7017-1030-9.
  • Cornelis van Zwol, Anton Bruckner – Leven en Werken, Thot, Bussum (Netherlands), 2012. ISBN 90-686-8590-2

External links[edit]