Anton Bruckner (1824–1896)

The Austrian composer and organist ranks among the great symphonists of the 19th century. He made his breakthrough as a composer in Vienna in 1881 with the performance of his Fourth Symphony.

Bruckner not only taught at the Canonical Augustinian Monastery of St. Florian, but also held the post of cathedral organist in Linz since 1855.He also studied compositional theory and technique with Sechter in Vienna. In 1868 he succeeded Sechter at the Vienna Conservatory.

Bruckner was highly admired for his organ playing and improvisational artistry. His main oeuvre consists of three great masses and nine symphonies. He made his breakthrough as a composer in Vienna in 1881 with the performance of his Fourth Symphony.His Seventh was another great success which was performed 25 times during the composer's lifetime in Germany alone. In Vienna, Bruckner became embroiled in the disputes between traditionalists and the “New German School.” As an admirer of Wagner, Bruckner was placed on the side of the New Germans, even though he had never laid down this preference programmatically.

While the style of his symphonic works is stamped by classical forms and the consistent respect of compositional rules, the grand scope of intricate motivic work represents something completely original and new. Next to the bold themes, the most characteristic elements are the organ-stop-like orchestration and monumental build-ups to the final movements, which are often the actual center of the Bruckner symphonies.