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Anton Bruckner collage
The collage consists of three images: Anton Bruckner, the Chicago Symphony, and an erupting volcano.

"They want me to write differently. I could, but I must not. God has given me this talent out of a thousand people, and it is to Him that I must give account. How would I stand before Almighty God if I followed the others and not Him?"

Quote by Anton Bruckner. We shamelessly stole it from Wikipedia.

Bruckner at the Millennium

Bruckner's Ninth is a truly amazing symphony. A mysterious tremolo opens into a glowing horn theme, the moment that Peter Guelke described as "nuclear fission," and the stupendous main theme. And that's just the first three minutes!

When the main theme returns in the middle of the first movement, it erupts like a volcano.

The Adagio third movement is a haunting spiritual journey with a coda that is - for us - one of the great passages in Western music.

A famous composer concurs: "I think that the Adagio of the Ninth Symphony [of Bruckner] must be accounted one of the most truly inspired of all works in symphonic form." (Who made that statement? Take our quiz!)

We would love to hear our favorite orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, perform Bruckner's Ninth.

Go to the Composer page.

Postscript on the Finale

For those of you who know and love Bruckner's Ninth in its commonly performed three-movement version, we highly recommend exploring what John A. Phillips calls "the emerging autograph score of the Finale."

Current critical opinion maintains that Bruckner finished the Finale in continuous string scoring with cues for wind and brass.

Unfortunately, after Bruckner died, friends and students took pages of the Finale as souvenirs, not realizing that Bruckner had completed an orchestral score for a third of the Finale and sketches for the remainder. Many pages of the Finale have been lost, including the entire the coda with the exception of a few sketches.

For an excellent introduction to the Finale, see Bruckner's Symphony No.9: Finally, a Finale? by Richard Lehnert at the Stereophile website.

Here are four recommended recordings:

  • Nikolas Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philharmonic playing Symphony No. 9 with the "Documentation of the Fragment" by John A. Phillips.
  • Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic playing Symphony No. 9 with the performing version of the Finale by Samale, Phillips, Cohrs, and Mazucca.
  • Gerd Schaller and the Philharmonie Festiva playing Symphony No. 9 with the performing version of the Finale by William Carragan.
  • Gerd Schaller and the Philharmonie Festiva playing Symphony No. 9 with Schaller's own performing version of the Finale.

Go to the Composer page.