Anton Bruckner Symphony Cycle Comes to Symphony at 7

Anton Bruckner(Photo: Painting by Joseph Beuche)
Anton Bruckner(Photo: Painting by Joseph Beuche)

Austrian composer Anton Bruckner wrote massive symphonies inspired by Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner.  Gustav Mahler once called him “my forerunner,” and you’ll find out why if you listen to Symphony  at 7 for the next two weeks beginning on Labor Day.

Bruckner was born September 4, 1823 when Beethoven was still alive and died in 1896 when Mahler was writing his symphonies.  Bruckner starts where Beethoven left off.

Almost all of his symphonies begin like Beethoven’s Ninth; you hear a world of sound being created out of silence.  There is great spiritual depth and power, sometimes almost overwhelming in its intensity.  This is music making on a grand scale paradoxically inspired by a humble but deep faith.  Over half the symphonies are more than an hour long.  To less sympathetic ears, some of it can sound pompous and overblown, but there is a coherent logic and vision in Bruckner’s music that is compelling and potentially transforming if you are willing to go on the inner journey through his symphonic world.

That journey begins Monday with Symphony No 0, “die Nullte,” a work Bruckner began before his official Symphony No.1 and then withdrew, but which already shows a fully formed symphonic vision.  We’ll conclude two Fridays later with the unfinished but powerful Ninth.

I hope you can join me on Symphony at 7 for this fascinating symphonic pilgrimage  through the musical world of this great Late-Romantic composer.