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Anton Bruckner

The Man and the Work

Constantin Floros

While unappreciated and controversial during most of his life, Anton Bruckner is today regarded as the greatest symphonist between Beethoven and Gustav Mahler – in terms of originality, boldness and monumentality of his music. The image of Bruckner the man, however, is still extreme instance of the tenacious power of prejudice. No less a figure than Gustav Mahler coined the aperçu about Bruckner being «a simpleton – half genius, half imbecile». The author is out to correct that misperception. His thesis in this study is that contrary to what has hitherto been asserted, there is an intimate relation between Bruckner’s sacred music and his symphonies from multiple perspectives: biographical data, sources and influences, the psychology of creation, musical structure, contemporary testimony and reception history. Additional chapters assess important Bruckner recordings and interpreters and the progressiveness of his music.
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Part One: A Character Portrait

Who Was Bruckner?

1Ferdinand Pfohl, Gustav Mahler. Eindrücke und Erinnerungen aus den Hamburger Jahren, ed. Knud Martner (Hamburg, 1973), 15. Max Auer (246) ascribes this aperçu to Hans von Bülow, who, in a letter to Wilhelm Zinne of 1887, spoke of the “anti-musical nonsense of the oddball Bruckner” (Briefe, 27).

2Erich Wolfgang Partsch, “Der ‘Musikant Gottes’ – Zur Analyse eines Stereotyps,” in Bruckner – skiziert, 235-259.

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