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The Weekend Vote

V.com weekend vote: Do you like Bruckner?

April 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM

We've been hearing a lot this week about the composer Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) and his symphonies.

First Emily pronounced her controversial opinion: I hate Bruckner, giving reasons musical, non-musical and personal. Then came the firestorm, with more than 80 responses to her blog. After, she wrote a blog responding to the general nature of the arguments, then after that, a letter to Bruckner.

Certainly the classical world has embraced the composer, and his music has moments of tremendous beauty. I've played Bruckner, and it can be inspiring as well as tedious, simply because of the length.

What are your thoughts about the composer and his music?

Here's some Bruckner 4 for you:


From carlos majlis
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:05 PM
Can't stand any of his symphonics, but I sort of like his string quartet and quintet.
From Emily Hogstad
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:38 PM
There's no "I have deep-seated yet ambiguous feelings which I detailed in three obscenely long blog entries" option...
From Laurie Niles
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 6:59 PM
Mea culpa, Emily. ;)
From Jim Hastings
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 10:42 PM
As a listener, I find much of Bruckner's melodic and harmonic output pleasing -- or, at least, listenable -- sometimes even catchy. My main objection is that some of the composer's orchestral works, notably the symphonies, are a little long for the subject matter.

For that reason, as a player, I had far less tolerance for Bruckner than I do as a listener. These works involved sitting for long sessions. And some of the decibel levels, I found intolerable. Many factors combined to induce me to abandon orchestral playing at 21 -- the Bruckner negatives that I've listed here are just two of these factors.

From Simon Streuff
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM
to me listening to bruckner is like seing monumental architecture. I am overwhelmed by the greatness sometimes, but it has also it lengths and some movements are just sounding funny, repetetive and boring to me.
From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I like this composers very much. The end of the 9th symphony is a sort of death struggle wand after that the last 10 bars are very calm, because he accepted his end.
His scherzo's are also great but a bit standard with the coda at the end. Here from the 1th symphony:


From Scott Slapin
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Fans of Bruckner's symphonies always explain to me that I have to listen to them as though I were listening to an organist improvise.

You know... for more than an hour.

I can see it, but it doesn't make it better. In the later ones, I've enjoyed a movement here and there. I had to play no. 2 in the Cincinnati Symphony, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I couldn't find any part of it that appealed to me. Maybe it took him 5 or 6 to really get going.

Anyway, my vote was with Emily's. Sorry, Anton.

From Millie Bartlett
Posted on April 27, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I confess, before Emily's blogs, I didn't really know about Bruckner or his music. How ignorant of me. So I listened to all the little links provided from v.commers of parts of his various pieces. I must say that none of it seems particularly hard on the ear. It's not that unpleasant to listen to, however bombastic and tempestuous it seems in parts. It follows reasonable musical harmonies, unlike that awful modern atonal stuff that I can't seem to get my ears around.
I probably wouldn't bother to go to a live concert of Bruckner, but I think his music has a definite place in dramatic plays and movies, well, short excerpts thereof I suppose. On its own his music doesn't really thrill me, but in that context, I would definitely like it better.
From Bart Meijer
Posted on April 28, 2012 at 7:32 AM
I like his choral works. Locus iste, and such.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on April 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Not the biggest "tremelo for twenty minutes at a time" type of repertoire. But for scale...
From Nicky Paxton
Posted on April 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Much as I know this isn't the case on paper, some movements of Bruckner's symphonies seem to go on and on inasmuch as I can't see the clear presentation of form in the way that Brahms (working simultaneously with Bruckner and following Beethoven) presents it. That said, the scherzo of Bruckner's 7th symphony is to me one of the greatest symphonic movements in the orchestral repertoire. His church music (locus iste has already been mentioned) should not be undervalued either, though some of it may no longer be suitable for present needs.

From Mark Roberts
Posted on April 28, 2012 at 1:57 PM
brukner spoke disparagingly of his contemporaries dvorak and tchaikovsky who he thought were all colour.
From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on April 28, 2012 at 4:01 PM
There's a similarity to Mahler in Bruckner in that each of the symphonies contains 35 or 40 minutes of pretty good stuff.
From marjory lange
Posted on April 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM
I like many of the things he wrote; never met the man, so I don't know whether or not I would like him.

He wrote for and in a day/era that liked three-volume novels, where time moved more slowly (unless you were an under-paid, over-worked person who couldn't afford a ticket anyway). Given that pace of life, I suppose the leisurely way his symphonies unfold makes sense--it fits its epoch.

From John Cadd
Posted on April 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM
How does Shostakovitch compare in the long loud scale ? He milks some of his very military sounding themes for some time . Do brass players feel warmer towards Bruckner for giving them a healthy thirst . Imagine all that blowing if just listening tires you out .
I mentioned that creepy old guy again in another avenue of this blog and accidentaly transposed him from a gas station to a bus station . He seems to get around under his own steam .Ticket or no ticket .

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