The Man and the Work
Largely unrecognized and controversial during his lifetime, Anton Bruckner is regarded today as the greatest symphonic composer after Beethoven and Mahler. The originality, daring and monumentality of his music are universally acknowledged on all sides, and his impact, initially confined to the German-speaking world, has for some decades now begun to be global: today, Bruckner is recognized as a composer of symphonic as well as of sacred music in both the Anglo-Saxon and the Romance countries, even in Japan.
I have loved Bruckner’s music ever since my youth: because of its modernity and sublimity, its intense expressiveness and the new “tone” it brought into the world, because of its “unspoiled forest darkness,” as Adorno called it, because of its many contrasts and spacious effects, its intensifications and grandiose climaxes, but also because of its abysses and seeming ruptures. When, in 1951, I attended Hans Swarowsky’s class at the Viennese Music Academy for the first time, he was in the process of going through the Romantic symphony. He pointed out the harmonic, metric and dynamic subtleties of the score and thought that Bruckner’s real strength lay less in his art than in the “vis symphonica.” I could not understand that at the time, and I still don’t. For me, Bruckner was even then a magnificent symphonic composer, who had dared to advance to the very borders of atonality.
Already as a young instructor in the ‘sixties in Hamburg, I gave lectures about his music, seeking...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.