Sunday, April 30, 2006

War of the Romantics Part XI. Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)


Bruckner is a sort of missing link in the chain of German symphonic composers, who is now rarely mentioned because of the amazing capabilities of those who came before and after him. The line started by Haydn had evolved through Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms, with radical composers like Berlioz and Liszt doing various other things. Bruckner followed the path of the former romantic composers, basing his compositions off of Beethoven's 4th, 7th, and 8th Symphonies; 4-movement works rich in romantic ideas and harmonies, but lacking the more descriptive programme-music favored by Liszt and Berlioz.

Brahms had based his 4 symphonies off of the model left by Beethoven, and changed a little from the existing model. Bruckner took what was left by Brahms, and again changed a little, this time making the orchestra larger, the harmonies more chromatic, the emotion more intense. He also adopted habits of Wagner in writing brass-heavy music and by including Wagner Tubas in some of his works. Needless to say, Brahms and his followers were irritated by this out of their hate for Wagner. Still, like Brahms, Bruckner was preoccupied by the greatness of his predecessors, and so he adopted a more conservative style. Just like Brahms tried to perfect what Beethoven created, Bruckner tried to perfect what Brahms created. The result is a well developed musical style stuck somewhere between Brahms, Wagner and Mahler.

Bruckner's style did not really evolve like other composers, so his early symphonies are similar to his late ones(they were all equally horrible during his lifetime), but his late ones are the most well known, with the 7th, 8th, and unfinished 9th being the most popular. Though not as revolutionary as other composers, Bruckner's style did carry into the music of Richard Strauss and especially Gustav Mahler.

The sound quality of this recording is a touch too old for my taste, and it was most likely in some hall, and not in a good location for recording. Still it has some good things to offer, despite the sound quality.

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Salzburg Festival, Wiener Philharmoniker, Szell - Sony Classical

Please comment, I can post Bruckner 9 if anyone out there is a Bruckner fan. If not, I'll just move on to other stuff.

11 Comments:

At April 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came for the Paganini Caprices but I am staying for all of the great music and insightful commentary that are here for the taking. Thanks a million!

 
At May 01, 2006, Blogger Korpus said...

to easy to say something about symph no 9.
i say post it!

 
At May 02, 2006, Anonymous Aleksandar said...

Thanks for this one, I love Bruckner. You wouldn't happen to have the Symphony "No.00" (WAB 99) somewhere? Been tryin' hard to get that one, but no luck. Thanks again!

 
At May 02, 2006, Blogger javier said...

tk for "the romantics" !

and, yes, I like bruckner...
waiting for the n.9

javier.
...
regret my poor english :(

 
At May 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Symph 9, great work!

 
At May 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruckners my favourite symphonist. Is there any chance of No. 8? keep up the great work!

 
At July 06, 2006, Anonymous Sirocco said...

Bruckner, to me, is simply the greatest symphonist ever.

I second the call for #8, especially in Karajan's late VPO rendering if possible.

 
At July 19, 2006, Blogger bruckneriano said...

┬┐Bruckner tried to perfect what Brahms created?
what a absurd comment...
The development stile of Brahms is really diferent from the cell-pause stile from Bruckner...

 
At September 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a great Bruckner lover. Post as much Bruckner as possible. Keep it up and thanks very much. Greetings from Malta. Martin

 
At September 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your site, but agree with some other posters that your comments on Bruckner are a bit off. I don't hear his work as building on Brahms at all, and he was a huge devotee of Wagner. Certainly the only composer with a Symphony 00; an eternal shame he wasn't encouraged and appreciated more in his day.

 
At June 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

file delete, :(

 

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