Anton Bruckner, classical music composer

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Anton Bruckner


Anton Bruckner.  In the rural village of Ansfelden (now a suburb of Linz), Anton Bruckner was born on September 4, 1824. The son of the village schoolmaster, Bruckner's father began his musical lessons at an early age and was soon able to play the organ. In 1833, at the age of nine, he was sent to a school in Hörsching. The schoolmaster, Johann Baptist Weiß, was a respected organist and furthered Bruckner's proficiency on the instrument. Bruckner's first attempt at composition, Vier Präludien for organ, also dates from this time.

With the death of his father in 1837 and the schoolmaster's position, as well as home, being given to a successor, Bruckner was sent to the Augustinian monastery in St. Florian to train as a choirboy. In addition, he also studied violin and organ and sometimes performed on the latter during church services. However, despite his growing musical abilities, Bruckner's mother was determined for her son to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a teacher. After attending a seminar in Linz, Bruckner was established as a teacher's assistant in Windhaag. Subjected to terrible pay and even ridicule from his superior, Bruckner was miserable, though he never complained or rebelled.

In 1848, Bruckner returned to St. Florian and was appointed to the position of organist. Later, in 1855, he began studying counterpoint, an indispensable tool for a composer, with Simon Sechter. A later instructor, Otto Kitzler, introduced Bruckner to the music of Richard Wagner, whose music Bruckner studied extensively. In 1861, he met Franz Liszt, the other founding member of the New German School of composition. Bruckner was greatly influenced by the music of Wagner and, though his choral music remained relatively conservative, he aligned himself mainly with the New German School.

Once his counterpoint instruction with Sechter was completed, Bruckner's first mature composition appeared—the Mass in D minor. After Sechter's death in 1867, Bruckner succeeded him as a teacher of music theory at the Vienna Conservatory and he turned his full attention upon the composition of symphonies. Despite all his efforts, Bruckner's fame was hard won. With Wagner's operations centered in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth, Vienna was virtually the exclusive domain of Johannes Brahms. Bitter musical enemies, at least in the eyes of their supporters, Bruckner occupied a somewhat precarious position between the two musical giants. Though he aligned himself as a supporter of Wagner's music, his musical studies, particularly in counterpoint, gave him a technical command on his art that Wagner and Liszt certainly lacked and for which Brahms was lauded. In fact, of all the late 19th century composers, Bruckner was perhaps the only one whose contrapuntal technique matched that of Brahms. Regardless, Bruckner's acknowledgment of his support for Wagner won him the disdain of the eminent music critic, Eduard Hanslick, who was able to swing public opinion against Bruckner. Derided as "wild" and "nonsensical," Bruckner's symphonies were poorly received by the Viennese public. He was not without his supporters, though, who persistently tried to bring his music to the public.

Bruckner was also renowned as an organist and gave impressive recitals in both France and England in 1869 and 1871, respectively. It is unusual that he wrote no major works for his own instrument, however, the orchestration of his symphonies reveal the organist within. In addition to performing, he also taught organ at the Conservatory.

By the 1880s, Bruckner had managed to achieve a portion of fame in the hostile musical environment of Vienna. In 1886, the Emperor decorated him with the Order of Franz Joseph. Ten years later, on October 11, 1896, Bruckner died of natural causes. He was buried in the crypt of St. Florian underneath the organ he had once played.

Composer Title Date Action
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 6 (Scherzo) 08/18/2009 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony no. 4, Scherzo 09/03/2012 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 5, Mov. 1: Introduction. Adagio - Allegro 09/01/2013 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 5, Mov. 2: Adagio. Sehr langsam 09/01/2013 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 5, Mov. 3: Scherzo- Molto vivace (Schnell) - Trio. Im gleichen Tempo 09/01/2013 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 5, Mo. 4: Finale. Adagio - Allegro moderato 09/01/2013 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 5 in B flat major 09/01/2013 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No.1 in C minor 08/31/2014 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony no. 4 08/30/2015 Play Add to playlist
Anton Bruckner Symphony No 3 in D minor 08/29/2016 Play Add to playlist