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CD 1 Symphony No 1 in C minor

Previously linked to the music of Gustav Mahler, Bruckner could hardly have been more diferent
from his successor. Whereas Mahler's music is flled with the anst and neurosis of fn de siecle !ienna
and the worlds of "limt, #e$ession and %reud, Bruckner e&'resses a steadfast belief and trust in God as
su'reme maker of all thins. Mahler is eocentric and unstable, Bruckner is world(embracin and 'ious.
Wheres Mahler was in control of a lare sym'hony orchestra as com'oser and conductor, Bruckner was to
be found seated at the oran of a monastery transferrin the sounds of the mihty instrument and the
surroundin architecture to his sym'honies and church music. )lthouh it is true that both com'osers
wrote vast sym'honic works and that occasional musical ideas may be common to both, they have very
little else in common.
Bruckner was some thirty fve years before Mahler, son and randson of villae teachers, in
)nsfelden in *ower )ustria. +eachers in those times were also, often, church oranists and by the ae of
ten, the youn Bruckner was to be found de'utisin for his father as church oranist. +his musical
backround led to his acce'tance in ,-./ as a choirboy at the monastery of #t %lorian outside *in$ in
0''er )ustria where he would soon ain a 'ost as teacher for the ten years leadin to ,-11. 2e then
returned to *in$ to become cathedral oranist and to continue his musical studies with the !iennese
teacher #imon #echter and later with 3tto "it$ler who hel'ed with com'osition and orchestration and
whom he succeeded as Professor of the !ienna 4onservatory in ,-/-. "it$ler was also the 'erson who
introduced Bruckner to his reat idol, 5ichard Waner 6 strane bedfellow, 'erha's, the sensuous o'era
com'oser to the reliious sym'honist. "it$ler conducted a 'erformance of +annh7user in *in$ which
Bruckner attended and it was Waner who was to become his ma8or musical in9uence.
"it$ler ave Bruckner the task as a student of com'letin three works 6 a choral 'iece, an
3verture, and a #ym'hony. +his student #ym'hony :now known as the ;; #ym'hony< is a work in % minor
which "it$ler described as =not very ins'ired= but it nevertheless contains some of the later com'oser's
trademarks, 'articularly in the #cher$o movement. >n addition, Bruckner was to write another
unnumbered sym'hony in ? minor :referred to as #ym'hony @o ;< before the nine ma8or numbered
sym'honies 'resented in this set of 4?s 6 a charmin if not 'articularly ins'ired work that Bruckner
withdrew from lack of confdence after some dis'arain remarks by 3tto ?essof, conductor of the !ienna
Philharmonic at the time.
Bruckner ave the 'remiere of his 4 minor #ym'hony :oAcially his @o ,< in *in$ on May Bth ,-/- :it
was written between ,-/1 and ,-//< althouh after his move to !ienna he continued to revise the work
durin the 'eriod of the followin years :a second version dates from ,-B;(B,<. +he su''osed
im'rovements and revisions of Bruckner's sym'honies under his own hand and the in9uence of others
'roves a 'roblem in fndin =correct= editions of certain later works but the %irst #ym'hony shows few
ma8or diferences across the diferent versions.
+he o'enin )llero beins Cuietly with a march rhythm in the violins which almost antici'ates
Mahler's #i&th #ym'hony, answered by a second more lyrical sub8ect. Waner's +annh7user a''ears as a
Cuotation but is dis'ensed with by the time the reca'itulation of the frst march theme rounds of the
movement. +he followin )daio takes some time to reach and establish the key of ) 9at ma8or and its
lyrical main theme. +he four movement 'attern of the #ym'hony :ty'ical for all of Bruckner's
#ym'honies< continues with a #cher$o and a horn based +rio. %inally, a com'le& %inale with reat
demands on the strin section bursts forth with a entler second sub8ect althouh much of the
develo'ment deals only with the initial forceful idea. >m'ressive as the work may be, it undoubtedly 'osed
'roblems for the *in$ orchestra and audience at its 'remiere and was, later, re8ected by the !ienna
Philharmonic. 'erha's not Bruckner at his fnest, this is nevertheless an urent and im'ressive oAcial
debut for the com'oser's #ym'honic cycle.
CD 2 Symphony No 2 in C minor
+he series of nine reat sym'honies by )nton Bruckner are all works of a mature musician. >t is
sometimes sur'risin to remember that even the %irst #ym'hony was not conceived until Bruckner was
well over the ae of forty and it is therefore not too sur'risin to claim that Bruckner s'ent his mature
musical life as the com'oser of one rand sym'honic work. >ndeed his sym'honies all bear the same
hallmarks, 'erfected from one work to the ne&t and ever strulin towards the sublime e&'ression of an
ideal. +hat ideal for Bruckner was a musical oneness with the su'reme 4reator which fnds its e&'ression
in some of the sublime slow movements that are at the heart of the #ym'honies. But Bruckner is eCually
reconisable by the earthy nature of his thum'in #cher$i and liltin +rios, by the intensity of his o'enin
movements 6 usually built u' from a Cuiet o'enin and by the massive architecture of his overwhelmin
+his Cuest for as near to 'erfection 'ossible for a human musician meant, not only a constant Cuest
for im'rovement across the sym'honic canon but also a similar insistence on revisin his works 6
sometimes of his own accord and sometimes on the advice of others. Generally s'eakin it is fair to say
that the com'oser's oriinal statements may hold the freshness of oriinal ins'iration, whilst later
revisions may 'roduce more satisfactory formal solutions and tihtenin u' of an oriinal arument. +his is
often the case with Bruckner and for many listeners the case is 'urely academic 6 hearin a Bruckner
sym'hony is always a movin event, no matter what the 'articulars of a current version may be. )lthouh
he revised the %irst #ym'hony for many years, there is little to chose in the diferent versions. 2owever,
the #econd #ym'hony has ma8or diferences between its oriinal version and the better known ,-DD
version 6 diferences which amount to the loss of some twenty minutes of music.
Bruckner's oriinal conce'tion of the second #ym'hony does make it a rather unwieldy 'iece and it
is 'robably a tihter version of the 'iece that is found in the revised version. the work has sometimes been
referred to as the =#ym'hony with the Pauses= and indeed, Bruckner's noticeable use of silences within the
'iece make it even loner than the number of notes in that ,-DE version.
Written whilst the com'oser was very much under the in9uence of his musical mentor, Waner, it
seems as if Bruckner is here very much tryin to do for the #ym'hony what Waner was doin for 3'era.
+he work, like its 'redecessor is in 4 minor and was dedicated to Waner toether with its successor 6 it
should be noted that Waner's 'reference was for the later ? minor work :sometimes nicknamed the
=Waner= #ym'hony<.
+he o'enin Moderato beins with a ty'ical Brucknerian tremolo but then difers from many of the
frst movement 'lans in that this time there is an accent on lyricism throuhout the movement. +his is not
to say that when the clima&es do arrive, they are not as full and manifcent as the other #ym'honies.
)ainst that lyrical mood is the insistence of a trum'et motto that 'lays a ma8or role both here and in the
%inale. the two central movements contain the slow )ndante and a ty'ical #cher$o and +rio 6 althouh
usually 'layed in that order, the oriinal version 'laces the #cher$o, somewhat unusually, frst. +he
)ndante is in solemn mood and introduces a fne melody for the 2orn re'eated several times before the
o'enin theme leads to a rand clima&. +he #cher$o contains a re'eat in the oriinal version which
Bruckner omitted later and otherwise establishes the ty'ical #cher$o form of all the later #ym'honies.
Massive cuts occur in the %inale which now 'lays for half the lenth of its oriinal version with insistent
brass mottos, 'unctuated by silences.
CD 3 Symphony No 3 in D minor
+he nineteenth century saw the ma8or rowth of the forms of music theatre 6 'articularly o'era. >n
>taly, Giuse''e !erdi emered as the ma8or com'oser of the second half of the century whereas in
Germany it was 5ichard Waner. Whilst !erdi was to develo' >talian o'era in his rather cautious way,
Waner was to revolutionise the feld of German o'era and much other music as well.
Waner was born in ,-,. and soon develo'ed a re'utation both as somethin of a 'olitical rebel
and a com'oser of ma8or o'eratic works which bean to rely more on the orchestral substance of the
music than 8ust the vocal 'yrotechnics of earlier com'osers such as the much feted 5ossini. By ,-F. he
was established as the leadin com'oser of his day after the 'remieres of =5ien$i= and =+he %lyin
?utchman= in ?resden. )fter these, he worked on =+annhauser= :,-F1<, =*ohenrin= :,-F-< and the
massive mytholoical e'ic of =+he 5in of the @ibeluns= :,-1.(,-DF< as well as the musical revelation of
the advanced chromaticism of =+ristan and >solde= :,-1B<.
Waner's meolamania and somewhat decadent lifestyle are 'oles a'art from the 'ious nature of
his contem'orary )nton Bruckner and yet, Bruckner was drawn to Waner's music almost unreservedly
after his frst acCuaintance with it throuh attendin a 'erformance of =+annhauser= in ,-/E. +he in9uence
of Waner can be felt from the very beinnin in Bruckner's sym'honies but it is es'ecially 'revalent in
the #econd and 'articularly the +hird #ym'honies. >ndeed, after scorin the frst three movements of the
+hird #ym'hony, Bruckner 'resented these two works to Waner in Bayreuth for his a''roval and
acce'tance of dedication on a visit in #e'tember ,-D.. Waner 'referred the +hird #ym'hony and from
then on it was to be referred to as the =Waner #ym'hony=. Waner's 'reference for the ? minor
#ym'hony may well have been because of the several Cuotations of his own works that Bruckner had
scattered throuh the oriinal version of the #ym'hony includin a 'articularly blatant Cuotation of a
chorus from *ohenrin in the )daio which turns that masterful movement which turns that masterful
movement suddenly into a 'iece of total banality. Bruckner soon reali$ed that the Cuotations were
e&cessive and that the #ym'hony was far too lon and, in his own words, made a =much im'roved=
version of the 'iece durin ,-DF althouh the !iennese musicians re8ected the work and deemed it
un'layable. Bruckner continued to have doubts about this sym'hony and made a thorouh revision of the
work between ,-D/ and ,-DD 6 a version which he 'remiered under his own baton in !ienna in ?ecember
,-DD and which was a disastrous failure. ?oubts continued, 'articularly after the re8ection of that other
massively lenthy sym'hony 6 number Giht 6 which led to a 'eriod of ma8or revisions of the earlier
sym'honies. +he +hird #ym'hony underwent further revisions in ,---(-B which included more swinein
cuts, 'articularly in the last movement. +his fnal version was 'remiered by 2ans 5ichter in ?ecember
,-B; and as well as te&tual revisions and the removal of many of Bruckner's non(seCuiturs in the oriinal
version, this =defnitive= revision manaes to dis'ense with some twenty minutes of music.
+he o'enin ? minor ostinato is ty'ical Bruckner and leads to a movement which alternates
between boldness and a mysterious soundworld which seems to re9ect the world of Waner's =+ristan=
:this is even more 'rominent in the oriinal version<. Bruckner also Cuotes here from his own works 6 the
Mass in ? minor for instance. +he followin )daio is one of his fnest and retanes a Cuote from Waner's
=!alkyrie= in the fnal version. +he #cher$o and +rio are also 'articularly successful and the %inale is
'erha's one movement where the in9uence of Bruckner on the later Mahler can be clearly felt.
CD 4 Symphony No 4 in E fat major
(The Romantic)
+he nineteenth century idea of the =5omantic= is usually associated with the traic, if somewhat
self centred =heroes= of the Byronic movement such as the 4hilde 2arold or Manfred. 4haracters that
miht a''eal to com'osers such as #chumann or +chaikovsky but could hardly ft in with the world of
Bruckner, the child of nature and worshi''er of God in all thins. Bruckner did actually ive the title
=5omantic= to his fourth sym'hony but the 5omantic element is decidedly his own 6 that of a 5omantic
view of @ature. >n addition to the ideas behind this conce't, Bruckner makes sure that his listeners are
aware of the 5omantic connotations of the work by hihlihtin the most 5omantic of instruments at the
time 6 the %rench 2orn 6 an instrument hihlihted by others too such as Weber, #chumann, and , of
course, Bruckner's musical hero, Waner.
)lthouh the frst three sym'honies can hardly be described as =early= works :Bruckner was over
forty when he started the %irst<, the 5omantic is in many ways, the frst fully mature and confdent of the
sym'honies. 4onfdent is an odd word to use here as Bruckner was certainly not confdent himself with the
work for some time. +here are indeed four distinct editions of the 'iece which include com'letely diferent
versions of whole movements on occasion 6 the #cher$o and the %inale. +he oriinal version dates from
,-DF and was beun only two days after the com'letion of the +hird. #uch continuity is an interal 'art of
Bruckner's conce't of the #ym'hony, an onoin search for 'erfection of the form. >t is this as'ect of his
com'osition that has led critics to suest that Bruckner basically wrote one sym'hony over and over
aain. althouh this has 'artial validity, there are certainly ma8or diferences between the +hird and %ourth
#ym'honies which would suest that the comment could be as valid for #chumann, #chubert or
Beethoven even as it was for Bruckner.
3f the four versions of the #ym'hony, only three have survived 6 the oriinal ,-DF version : as
with all these reworkins the oriinal bein the lonest< toether with a revision from ,-D-(-; and an
unauthorised version by Bruckner's 'u'il %erdinand *oewe datin from ,---. >n addition, Bruckner's editor
2aas made an edition of the work in ,---. +he ma8or diferences across the versions concern only small
details in the frst two movements but 'ose ma8or diAculties with the fnal two movements. Bruckner's
oriinal #cher$o was su'erseded in the ,-DD(D-version by a huntin scene which has become one of the
best known 'ieces by the com'oser and the %inale was reatly chaned for ,-D- and then re'laced in
,--; by a much more substantial 'iece. +hat oriinal movement, known now as the =!olksfest= is
occasionally iven an airin but makes a far less satisfactory conclusion to the sym'hony. +he ,--B *oewe
edition :the frst 'ublished edition of the score< contains many cuts and much re(orchestration. >t must be
added that althouh these, often confusin, revisions and alterations of Bruckner's scores are often looked
down u'on by 'urists, the revisions :often suested by well(meanin friends< were seen as
=im'rovements= to make the scores more accessible to 'erformers and audiences alike and, in the case of
the %ourth #ym'hony, the com'osers fnal thouhts on the new #cher$o and %inale 'roduced some of his
most successful movements.
%ollowin three sym'honies in the minor key, the 5omantic is the frst to be written in a ma8or key.
>t o'ens with a solo horn aainst ty'ical tremolando strins and this horn call forms the basis of the main
sub8ect as well as rea''earin at the end of the sym'hony. +he movement build to massive clima&es,
invariably featurin the horns. +his e'ic nature is transferred to the )ndante, a very diferent kind of slow
movement to its 'redecessor, the more lyrical )daio of the third sym'hony. +he huntin #cher$o is one of
Bruckner's fnestH horn fanfares balanced by a lyrical trio section. +he 'owerful and massive nature of the
o'enin movement returns for the %inale which moves towards a fnal 'eroration for full orchestra brinin
the work to its manifcent conclusion.
CD 5 Symphony No 5 in B fat major
+he number %ive in the re'ertoire of the 5omantic sym'honists often suests somethin
sinifcant or 'o'ular. Beethoven's %ifth remains one of the fnest of all sym'honies, #chubert's %ifth is a
'articularly felicitous work, #ibelius' %ifth is one of his ma8or contributions, Mahler's %ifth :or at least the
)daietto movement< remains one of the most accessible works and !auhan Williams' %ifth is one of the
most successful of sym'honies derived from a 'revious :in this case o'eratic< source. With Bruckner, there
is a certain sinifcance to the %ifth #ym'hony but it can hardly rank as one of his most accessible or
'o'ular 'ieces. +he sinifcance lies in one, unrevised version. >t is also the com'oser's most monumental
work to date. But, unlike the e&am'les above it remains one of the most stubbornly diAcult of the nine
numbered sym'honies.
)s with all the middle 'eriod sym'honies, it is written in a ma8or key 6 that of B 9at ma8or, but it is
at once the most academic of the sym'honies and also one of the most meltinly lyrical of slow
movements before the fnal trio of late masterworks with their sublime )daios. 4om'osition of the %ifth
#ym'hony dates from ,-D1(D/, around the same time as Waner's =5in= cycle was receivin its frst
'erformances at Bayreuth but, althouh still indebted to his Bayreuth master, this is the sym'hony which
also owes most to Bach and to the resonance of Bruckner's own instrument 6 the oran. #trane as it may
seem Bruckner has left no sinifcant master'ieces for the oran solo but in this work 'erha's his
aAliation to the music of that instrument toether with the sense of the massive architecture of his home
Monastery 4hurches show themselves stroner than anywhere else.
)lthouh by the time of com'osition, Bruckner was suferin not only from nelect but also from
'ersonal distress concernin an unfortunate teachin incident in !ienna and a eneral uncomfortableness
with the city he had chosen to live in after a ha''ier 'eriod in *in$. @one of these discomforts show in the
%ifth #ym'hony which is, for the most 'art a 'ositive and technically innovative work. ?es'ite this, the ffth
was never 'erformed until the very end of Bruckner's life when he was even too ill to attend the 'remiere
6 'erha's this may be an e&'lanation why he never tinkered with the 'iece, 'erha's this is also why, at
times, the o'enin and 'articularly closin movements may seem to ask for an element of 'runin such as
the earlier works had benefted from.
#uferin no later editins, the %ifth #ym'hony remains one of Bruckner's lonest. )fter a Cuiet and
almost retreatin o'enin )daio, the )llero section o'ens with a massive u'wards movin motive based
on G 9at ma8or. +he )llero develo'ment section is then interru'ted by Cuotations from that )daio
o'enin makin this one of Bruckner's most im'osin o'enin movements. #omewhat sur'risinly, after a
'i$$icato o'enin, the )daio contains one of Bruckner's loveliest and lonest melodies. +he #cher$o
beins with an identical 'assae to the slow movement before leadin into a rhythmic dance o''osed to a
more lyrical +rio section. +he massive %inale, a tour de force full of 'itfalls for the unwary 'layers and
conductor, alternates between a massive technical %uue and a rich brass chorale which fnally takes over
the mood of the fnal bla$in 'aes. +his is a work full of intellectual challene which seems to attem't no
com'romise in 'o'ularity, 'erha's the most serious minded of all Bruckner's com'ositions.
CD 6 Symphony No 6in major
)fter all the drama of his %ifth #ym'hony, Beethoven chose the contrast of the Pastoral #i&th 6 a
settin of 'easants ha''y in the countryside. #omethin of that same 'arallel e&ists too with the contrasts
between Bruckner's %ifth and #i&th #ym'honies. Whereas the %ifth had been an e'ic e&'loration of form,
'articularly in its outer movements with an accent on randeur, the #i&th relies more on the lyrical as'ects
of the com'oser's art. >t is thus strane that this work seems to be less 'erformed than the other mature
works 6 the e&cuse often bein that althouh the frst three movements are e&tremely fne, the %inale is
disa''ointinly weak and makes an unsatisfactory conclusion to an otherwise successful work. Bruckner
himself seems to have been satisfed enouh with the 'iece and like the 'recedin #ym'hony, he never
revised it. *ack of a revised version may, however also be 'ut down to the fact that the #ym'hony was
never 'erformed durin his lifetime 6 the 'remiere bein conducted by Mahler some three years after
Bruckner's death.
!iewin the canon of sym'honies as a whole, with the beneft of hindsiht, it is tem'tin to rou'
them into clusters. +hus, inorin the two un(numbered early study works, the frst three sym'honies
seem to ft toether as an e&'loratory early 'eriod, +hen follows a middle 'eriod beinnin with the new
sonorities of the %ourth #ym'hony, leadin to the com'le& formal workin out of the %ifth. +hen, the #i&th
seems to act as a bride between those works and the three fnal master'ieces. +here is, in fact, little left
of the technical as'ects of the %ifth and certainly the o'enin movement and the slow movement of the
#i&th look forward to the res'ective 'arts of the #eventh and its successors. >ndeed, what ha''ens in the
#i&th is the unveilin of the fnal, mature artist 6 'erha's that a lack of a contem'orary frst 'erformance
holdin back the reconition of Bruckner's enius which would have to wait until the ,--F success of the
#eventh #ym'hony at it's 'remiere in *ei'$i.
+he #i&th #ym'hony seems to have been com'osed between ,-DB and ,--, and then 'ut away
without any further work on it. 0nlike the earlier sym'honies which usually o'en with a strin tremolo,
Bruckner beins here with a more com'le& rhythm in the violins aainst which the 'rinci'al theme then
enters. )lthouh this is enerally a much more rela&ed work than its 'redecessor, there are rhythmic
similarities here to the slow movement of the %ifth. a ty'ical build u' of volume and tension leads to a
ma8or clima& before a transition leads to the second sub8ect. ) chorale like 'assae follows and then after
another clima& the main theme returns. +hen the tem'o slows down fort he 4oda and the fnal 'aes.
+he reat )daio is one of Bruckner's most ins'ired movements, worthy to rank alonside the slow
movements of the fnal three sym'honies. >t o'ens with a beautiful melody accom'anied by a downward
tread in the lower strins after which the oboe enters with its sad theme before the celli and violins rlead
to one of the reatest of all Bruckner themes. +he 'oly'hony of the strins in this movement has been
seen as a homae to Bruckner's love of 5enaissance music. +he themes return before a lon and 'eaceful
coda brins the movement to a close.
+he #cher$o that follows is one of Bruckner's most nihtmarish, often delicate it nevertheless
reaches 'owerful enery(chared clima&es whereas the contrastin trio sections are more reminiscent of
'arts of the %ourth #ym'hony with their em'hasis on the horns. +he %inale, the so(called 'roblem
movement, beins with a theme in the violins, answered by clarinet. #ome rather noisy and monumental
'assaes follow before Bruckner introduces a 'rinci'al melody that is re'eated, ever louder and thicker
orchestrated :one of the 'roblems of the movement<. ) lihter dance tune alternates before the home key
is reached and the o'enin theme returns to round of the work. ?es'ite doubts of the Cuality of this fnal
movement, the #i&th #ym'hony is one of Bruckner's fnest achievements and its relative nelect is totally
CD ! Symphony No ! in E major
#uccess and 'o'ularity were words hardly known to the com'oser )nton Bruckner until the
'remiere of his #eventh #ym'hony in *ei'$i on .;th

?ecember ,--F. the cycle of nine numbered
syn'honies date from after his fortieth birthday and thus can all be considered as mature works 'receded
as they were by two study sym'honies 6 the ;; and ; #ym'honies as they are now known. +he frst of
these works was indeed a com'osition e&ercise iven by his teacher, 3tto "i$ler whereas the ? minor
=@ullte= #ym'hony :actually written after the oAcial frst sym'hony< was withdrawn after dis'arain
remarks from 3tto ?essof, the conductor of the !ienna Philharmonic at the time. Gven thouh the ? minor
work now seems a harmless and rather attractive work, Bruckner's maturity as a sym'honist really only
beins with his 4 minor #ym'hony 6 itself re8ected by the Philharmonic in ,-D..
Bruckner had been born in the small town of )nsfelden near *in$ in ,-EF, son of a villae
schoolmaster and oranist and it was the oran that was to become his own 'rinci'al instrument 6 a
factor that colours much of Bruckner's musical thouht and orchestration. he indeed became oranist and
teacher at #t. %lorian monestary in ,-F1 before takin u' a 'osition as oranist at the *in$ cathedral in
,-11. >t is sinifcant for a com'oser who was to constantly revise so many of his works that he continued
his studies even after ainin such a 'osition and it was the in9uence of his teacher #echter, toether with
his introduction to the music of 5ichard Waner that were to colour his onoin Cuest for the ='erfect=
sym'hony. +hat Cuest, followin re8ection of the 4 minor sym'hony led to an eventual 'rivately s'onsored
'erformance of the #econd #ym'hony and then a re8ection yet aain for the oriinal version of the +hird
#ym'hony in ,-D1. With the eventual revision of the %ourth or 5omantic #ym'hony, Bruckner ained a
small deree of success but the lenthy %ifth #ym'hony 'roved to be somethin of an intellectual
challene and the lyrical, but somewhat uneven, #i&th had to wait until three years after his death for its
frst 'erformance under the baton of Gustav Mahler.
>t was with the #eventh #ym'hony that Bruckner fnally made his mark on a !iennese 'ublic that
was certainly not akin to his rather sim'le and 'ious outlook on life and the sym'hony varies in several
ways from its immediate 'redecessors. %irst of all, it now returns to the lyrical nature favoured in the #i&th
#ym'hony toether with the addition of the rander as'ects of the %ifth whilst eschewin the earlier
work's technical austerity. >ndeed, the very o'enin of the frst movement )llero moderato no loner
beins with the +y'ical Brucknerian tremolo for strins but launches itself with one of the com'oser's most
e&'ansive melodies 6 it had been a feature of the earlier works that themes were often short, sometimes
8aed but now the s'irit of Wanerian melody is fully in command. +his time, the theme is twenty two
bars in lenth and s'ans across two octaves, recallin in its e&'ansiveness the o'enin of Waner's =?as
5heinold= with its risin movement from darkness to liht.
CD " Symphony No " in C minor
+he later years of the nineteenth century saw a rowth in the si$e of many artistic forms. +akin
their cue from the massive innovations in industry and technoloy, artists created now in ever larer forms
6 this was the 'eriod of the reat and lenthy 5ussian and Gnlish novels, the revival of the e'ic 'oem,
the voue for enormous artistic canvases and the rowth of orchestra and musical forms. Berlio$ started
the ball rollin with his use of lare forces on immense musical forms, creatin works such as his
=5eCuiem= with four se'arate brass bands and the e'ic :in all senses of the word< o'era =+he +ro8ans=,
initially seen as reCuirin two nihts for a sinle com'lete 'erformance. #uch e&cesses would eventually
culminate in the early works of #hoenber and 5ichard #trauss but the im'etus for the movement in
German and )ustrian music was fashioned frmly by the o'eras of 5ichard Waner 6 lon and demandin
for 'erformers and audience alike. >t was these o'eras which also in9uenced Bruckner and it is Waner
who is his model for creatin the new sym'hony, massive yet also lyrical and technically assured.
+o 8ude a Bruckner :or indeed any other< sym'hony solely by its lenth is irrelevant but it is the
Gihth that takes the 'ri$e for lonest of the com'leted :and revised< of the nine works. >t is true that the
oriinal version of the +hird #ym'hony is almost as lon as the Gihth but a 'erformance of that version is
now such a rarity that the +hird a''ears as one of the more concise works in its revised form. +he Gihth
was also sub8ect to some considerable revision includin a shortenin of the rather awkward reach for a
central clima& in the )daio 6 even with that revision and lenthy cut, the )daio remains Bruckner's
lonest and 'erha's most sublime slow movement.
Bruckner bean work on his Gihth #ym'hony in ,--F, com'letin his oriinal sketches of the frst
movement on his si&tieth birthday on #e'tember Fth. Within twelve months he had com'leted an initial
version 'lan and 'layed this at the oran of #t. %lorian as a sort of im'rovisation in )uust of the followin
year. +he 'iece was however, not com'leted in written form for another two years, an oriinal version
which met with disa''roval from his friend, the conductor 2ermann *evi 6 the Iewish musician who
Waner was to entrust with the 'remiere of his fnal o'era, =Parsifal=. Bruckner took *evi's advice and
made further alterations to the work, includin the shortenin of the )daio mentioned above as well as a
new +rio section to the #cher$o and ma8or cuts to the frst movement, includin a new coda.
2ans 5ichter conducted the 'remiere of this new version in !ienna in ?ecember ,-BE and the work
was 8uded a success by some of Bruckner's sternest critics such as 2anslick 6 even the Gm'eror
e&'ressed his a''roval. %inally, Bruckner had established himself and re'eated the trium'h of his #eventh
#ym'hony of some seven years earlier.
+he o'enin of the )llero moderato is a classic Bruckner introduction, Cuiet and searchin with the
sinifcant lea' of a si&th. there are three 'rinci'al themes which take their 'lace in the core of the
massive and truly architectural develo'ment section before the movement subsides back into silence. +2e
#cher$o is 'laced second and takes on a ty'ical 'easant dance Cuality with a more lyrical +rio section. +he
followin )daio is central to the work and is 'erha's Bruckner's fnest ins'iration to date 6 it beins with
as statement of the main theme in the violins followed by a second melody for cellos which then leads to a
chorale section 'layed by the Waner tubas. +here is a Cuotation from =#iefried= and a massive clima&
before the movement sinks back into 'eace and reassurance 6 this is the 4redo of the man's reat love
for nature and for God. +he %inale o'ens forcefully and breathtakinly with a sense of 'redetermined
movement and 'ur'ose. +he four themes eventually come toether and brin this wonderous work to a
massive and confdent conclusion on a full 4 ma8or chord, the sound of bla$in liht.
CD # Symphony No # in D minor
+he 'roblem with unfnished musical works is that any com'oser workin in lare forms is almost
bound to leave at least one fnal work incom'lete at his death, unless he withdraws from com'osition at an
earlier date. +hus, Puccini's =+urandot= was left incom'lete as was Ber's =*ulu=, Mahler's +enth #ym'hony
and Bruckner's @inth. 3ther com'osers such as #chubert and Mo$art may have tired of certain works
throuhout their career and thus abandoned them, but that was an unlikely course for someone so seekin
'erfection as Bruckner. )bandonin was not really an o'tion, whereas revision certainly was. With the
@inth #ym'hony a diferent 'roblem arises 6 what to do about the fnal movementJ Whereas the
com'letion of say =+urandot= or =*ulu= by )lfano and 4erha res'ectively can be considered a successful, if
not o'timal solution and 4ook et al's reconstruction of Mahler's =+enth= has created a new and viable work
that would otherwise not have e&isted, attem'ts at a com'letion of Bruckner have faltered. )ttem'ts have
been made at com'letin sketches and at one time, a solution was found by endin the work with the
com'oser's =+e ?eum= :thus makin a somewhat Beethovenian fnal work< but listeners have become
accustomed to this sym'hony, at least, remainin unfnished. #omehow, the sublime three movements as
they stand remain enouh.
>n fact, Bruckner s'end a reat deal of time workin on his fnal sym'hony but was always 're(
occu'ied with revisions of the earlier works to devote enouh full time to the 'iece. 2e bean com'osin
this fnal master'iece in ,--D but was not able to devote his full time to it until ,-B, after e&tensive
revisions of the Gihth #ym'hony had taken u' so much of his time. >ndeed he s'ent the last two years of
his life searchin for a solution to the %inale of the @inth #ym'hony but was unable to fnd the solution to
that ='erfect= conclusion to his sym'honic oeuvre.
+he fnal work of Bruckner's sym'honic canon shares the same key as Mo$art's own unfnished
5eCuiem 6 that of ? minor and it is with that note that the work beins, softly in strins and woodwind
and leadin to the a''earance of the eiht horns, )s with the #eventh #ym'hony, this is Bruckner at his
most lyrical but this time with a wanderin throuh remote keys forein to the early works. >f ever there is
any 8ustifcation to see a com'arison between Bruckner and Mahler it is in this most cosmo'olitan of
#ym'honies. +he followin 'aes are of ever increasin intensity stretchin out towards the
announcement of the main theme of the movement. +his is Bruckner at his most 'roressive and
e&'ressionist and like Mahler :'articularly in his incom'lete +enth #ym'hony<, a discord towards the end of
this o'enin movement :marked both %eierlichK4eremoniously and MisteriosoKMysteriously< illuminates the
com'oser's 'reoccu'ation with mortality and death towards the end of his life. >f there is any 8ustifcation
in the early com'arisons of Bruckner with his later com'atriot then this is where it is to be found.
+he #cher$o that now becomes the central a&is of the three movement torso is undoubtedly
Bruckner's fnest 6 there is both enery here and tenderness in the +rio section and a fully confdent
a''roach to a movement that seems to have been rehearsed over the years. )t times, the devil seems to
be dancin here , sometimes in the Pi$$icato strin 'assaes, sometimes in the violent outbursts, all
leadin aain to the establishment of the ? minor tonality which concludes the movement in Cuite
staerin fashion. What remains is the )daio, one of the most sublime movements not only in Bruckner,
but in all music. +his is the 'oint where Bruckner reaches the moment of no return 6 8ust as his =Master=
has chaned 3'era for ever with the chromaticism of his =+ristan and >solde=. +he #ym'hony now looks
forward to all that is to come whilst re9ectin on all that has 'ast. +here are echoes of =Parsifal=
:CuotedL and a lim'se of !auhan Williams :an almost e&act reference to the =+allis %antasia= to come<.
)fter turmoil and an acce'tance of death, the movement fnally subsides with a Cuote from the )daio
from the Gihth #ym'hony and the o'enin of the #eventh. >t is enouh that this is the com'oser's fnal
testament 6 one of the most movin of all com'osers in the sym'honic re'ertoire.
CD 1$ Symphony No $ in D minor
)nton Bruckner's #ym'hony @o. ; is an event uniCue in musical history. )mbiuous numberins are
freCuent enouh with com'osers, but only Bruckner wrote a #ym'hony @o. ;, a headin which has iven
rise to all sorts of misunderstandins, and may indeed be 'artly res'onsible for the work's second(class
treatment where concert 'erformances are concerned.
Gven in the B;s, the musicoloical view was that Bruckner's #ym'hony @o. ; in ? minor was
com'osed in *in$ in ,-/.K/F, and revised in !ienna in ,-/B. +he basis for this was that the 'ublisher of the
%irst #ym'hony in 4 minor added in brackets =@o.E=. %rom a letter of EB Ianuary ,-/1, in which Bruckner
writes of his work =on a 4 minor #ym'hony=, we know when this sym'hony must have come into bein.
%rom the subtitle =@o E= it was deduced that there must be a 'revious sym'hony, and that it must have
been com'osed before ,-/1. +he date of ,-/B which a''ears on the autora'h of @o. ; was therefore
wronly inter'reted not as the date of com'osition, but of revision +he conclusion at frst seemed wholly
'robable, iven that bruckner was well known for makin wholesale revisions to his com'ositions years
after their com'letion. furthermore, the autora'h of the ? minor sym'hony was scattered with comments
like =invalid=, =corru't=, =totally worthless= 6 and above all, =M. #ym'hony=. +his crossed(out $ero led to
the unha''y idea of callin the work #ym'hony @o. ;, and this title still a''ears in the ,B/- edition of the
com'lete works.
Gven if Bruckner 'annulled' the work, which conseCuently had to wait until ,BEF for its frst
'erformance, the com'osition holds many a trace of Bruckner's sym'honic style. +he orchestral lanuae
is rich in colour, the contra'untal techniCue diverse and the combination of themes and motives more
than adeCuate for the work in hand. +he o'enin of the frst movement is astonishinN there is no main
theme, in the classical sense, but a self(develo'in, outwards(s'innin motor im'ulse. >n contrast, the
subsidiary theme in the dominant is lyrical, a risin chain of synco'ations 'layed by the violins, which
forms a clear contrast to the o'enin theme, and remains combined with it over the accom'anyin
furation. +he e&'osition ends with a chorale 'layed by strins and woodwinds. %or the frst time,
Bruckner here introduces echoes of church music, a techniCue which in later works was to become
characteristic. ) similar moment in the second movement is even m ore unmistakable. >ts very o'enin is
reminiscent of church music, and in the re'rise the woodwinds eventually 'lay another chorale, over a low
'i$$icato accom'animent. +he contrast with the scher$o could not be reater. )fter a 'owerful unison
o'enin the whole orchestra 'auses 6 only then can the richly(synco'ated scher$o, with memories of
rustic dance, et under way. +he trio is cast in reater form. +he fnale bears witness to a master of
counter'ointN a slow introduction, whose thematic material is reused as a third rou' of themes in the
followin allero vivace, is followed by a main theme in fuato style. +he subsidiary theme, on the other
hand, is :for Bruckner< unusually liht(footed and 8oyful
Dr. David Doughty