1824 - 1896
Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896) was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner's compositions helped to define contemporary musical radicalism, owing to their dissonances, unprepared modulations, and roving harmonies.
Unlike other musical radicals such as Richard Wagner and Hugo Wolf who fit the enfant terrible mould, Bruckner showed extreme humility before other musicians, Wagner in particular. This apparent dichotomy between Bruckner the man and Bruckner the composer hampers efforts to describe his life in a way that gives a straightforward context for his music.
"They want me to write differently. Certainly I could, but I must not. God has chosen me from thousands and given me, of all people, this talent. It is to Him that I must give account. How then would I stand there before Almighty God, if I followed the others and not Him?"
Symphonies by Anton Bruckner
Symphony in F minor completed in 1863.
Symphony No. 1 in C minor completed in 1866, but the original manuscript of this symphony was not reconstructed until 1998. Instead, it is commonly known in two versions, the so-called Linz Version – based mainly on rhythmical revisions made in Vienna in 1877 – and the completely revised Vienna Version of 1891.
Symphony in D minor of 1869, the so-called "Symphony No. 0" ("Die Nullte").
Symphony in B-flat major
Bruckner's next attempt was a sketch of the first movement to a Symphony in B-flat major, but he did no further work on it afterwards.
Symphony No. 2 in C minor of 1872 was revised in 1873, 1876, 1877 and 1892.
Symphony No. 3 in D minor composed in 1873.
Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major
Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major was his first great success. It is more commonly known as the Romantic Symphony, the only epithet applied to a symphony by the composer himself. The 1874 version has been seldom played; success came in 1878 but only after major revisions, including a completely new scherzo and finale, and again in 1880–1, once again with a completely rewritten finale. This version was premiered in 1881 (under the conductor Hans Richter). Bruckner made more minor revisions of this symphony in 1886–8.
Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major crowns his most productive era of symphony-writing, finished at the beginning of 1876. Until recently we knew only the thoroughly revised version of 1878.
Symphony No. 6 in A major written in 1879 to 1881
Symphony No. 7 in E major written 1881–1883 and revised in 1885.
Symphony No. 8 in C minor composition in 1884. In 1887 Bruckner sent the work to Hermann Levi, the conductor who had led his Seventh to great success.
Symphony No. 9 in D minor
The final accomplishment of Bruckner's life was to be his Symphony No. 9 in D minor, which he started in August 1887, and which he dedicated "To God the Beloved."