Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Spotify Solution To The Bruckner Problem

Anton Bruckner, one of the most famous late bloomers in classical music, was a peculiar guy that pops up near the top of both "composers you can't live without" and "composers you COULD live without" lists almost equally often. And he had a problem with himself.

Numerous contrasting versions and editions exist for his symphonies. Many revisions were done without his authorization but conductors perform and record them anyway. In an attempt to put everything he had done, and others had done to him, in the right place, I created a Spotify playlist that consists of every different edition of his symphonies on Spotify, with some of my favourite recordings.

Anton Bruckner, 1894
It starts with a lovely, Weber-like Overture in G Minor.

Symphony in F minor, "Study", or No.00.
  • One version only - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1973]. / Ashkenazy
Symphony No. 0 in D minor "Die Nullte" or Symphony No. "0".
  • 1869 Ed. Leopold Nowak [1968] / Marriner
  • 1869 Ed. Woess. published by Universal Edition [1924] / Haitink
Symphony No. 1 in C minor
  • 1866 Original unrevised Linz version prepared by William Carragan [1998] / Tintner
  • 1877 Linz version with revisions - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1953] / Maazel
  • 1877 Linz version with revisions - Ed. Robert Haas [1935] / Abbado
  • 1891 Vienna Revision by Bruckner himself. Ed. Guenter Brosche [1980] / Wand
Symphony No. 2 in C minor
  • 1872 First concept version. Ed. William Carragan [2005] / Bosch
  • 1877 First Critical Edition - Second printing. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1965] / Solti
  • 1877 First Critical Edition. Ed. Robert Haas [1938] / Masur
  • 1877 Version. Ed. William Carragan - Removes remaining Haas anomolies / Barenboim
Symphony No. 3 in D minor
  • 1873 Original Version Ed. Leopold Nowak [1977] / Norrington
  • 1876 Adagio only Ed. Leopold Nowak [1980] / Wildner
  • 1877 Version Ed. Leopld Nowak (with Scherzo coda) [1981] / Gielen
  • 1878 Version Ed. Fritz Oeser (Scherzo coda not included) Based on 1880 Stichvorlage / Horenstein
  • 1889 Version (aka 1888/89) Ed. Leopold Nowak [1959] Wildner
  • 1890 Thorough revision Bruckner with Joseph and Franz Schalk Ed. Theodor Raettig / Knappertsbusch
  • 2006 'Neufassung' reconstructed from the 1873-1876-1877-1889 editions. Ed. Peter Jan Marthe  / Marthe
Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major
  • 1874 Original version - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1975] / Nagano
  • 1878 Volkfest Finale - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1981] / Tintner (not available)
  • 1881 (aka 1878/80) - Ed. Robert Haas [1936] / Wand
  • 1886 (aka 1878/80) - Ed. Leopold Nowak [1953] / Jochum
  • 1888 Ed. Benjamin Korstvedt / Vanska
  • 1888 Heavily edited, cut and reorchestrated by Gustav Mahler / Rozhdestvensky
  • 1888 Revised by Ferdinand Loewe. Ed. Albert Gutmann [1889] / Furtwangler
Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
  • 1878 Version Ed. Leopold Nowak - No significant difference to Haas [1951] / Jochum
  • 1878 Version Ed. Robert Haas - No significant difference to Nowak [1935] / Furtwangler, Thielemann
  • 1896 Edition [Doblingler] Revision by Franz Schalk / Knappertsbusch
String Quintet in F major
  • 1879 Augmented for String Orchestra / Schneidt
    Symphony No. 6 in A major
    • 1881 Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1952] / Jochum
    • 1881 Version. Ed. Robert Haas [1935] / Klemperer
    Symphony No. 7 in E major
    • 1885 Original Version. Ed. Robert Haas [1944] / Karajan
    • 1885 Version with some Modifications by Bruckner. Ed. Albert Gutmann / Furtwangler
    • 1885 Version. Ed.Leopold Nowak [1954] / Barbirolli
     Symphony No. 8 in C minor
    • 1887 Original Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1972] / Young
    • 1887/90 Mixed Versions. Ed. Robert Haas [1939] / Schuricht, Boulez
    • 1890 Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1955] / Tennstedt
    • 1892 Version by Bruckner and Joseph Schalk. Ed. Haslinger-Schlesinger-Lienau / Knappertsbusch
    • Edition prepared by Furtwangler based on Haas and earlier editions / Furtwangler
    Symphony No. 9 in D minor
    • 1894 Original Version. Ed. Alfred Orel / Luisi, Walter (with Te Deum at the end), Harnoncourt
    • 1894 Original Version. Ed. Leopold Nowak [1951] / Giulini
    • 1903 Edition [Doblinger] Ed. Loewe / Knappertsbusch
    Finale of Symphony No.9
    • 1984 Finale Realization by Samale and Mazzuca - Early Draft 1984 / Inbal
    • 1992 Finale Realization by Samale//Philips/Cohrs/Mazzuca - rev. 1996 / Wildner
    • 1992 Finale Realization by Samale//Philips/Cohrs/Mazzuca - Revised 2005 by Samale and Cohrs / Bosch
    •  2006 Free composition by Peter Jan Marthe incorporating material from the Finale sketches / Marthe
    • 2008 Finale Realization by Sebastien Letocart / Couton
    • 1981-83 Finale Completion by William Carragan - Revised 2010 / Schaller
    • 1896 Finale Fragments - Ed.Phillips /  Hirsch, Harnoncourt (with commentary),
    The end of the playlist is Bruckner's last finished piece Helgoland.

    Here's the Spotify playlist: Anton Bruckner: The Symphonies (216 tracks, total time: 2 days) Press Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. Many recordings are not available in the USA yet, I tried to make it more US-friendly, but checking every recording's geographic availability was too much hassle. If you would like to recommend other great Bruckner recordings or alternative choices that are available in the US, please leave a comment or send the link to me on Spotify. Thanks. I've done a playlist for Celibidache's Bruckner before, so I didn't include his recordings here. They are too special to be mixed with anything else.

    If you don't want to bother with all these different versions, get Tintner's Bruckner cycle on Naxos: Bruckner: Tintner (32 tracks, 9 hours, No.3 and 4 not available) All original/standard editions, and the performances are excellent, especially the early symphonies.

    I got into Bruckner through Skrowaczewski's cycle on Arte Nova, unfortunately they are not on Spotify yet. Some very fine recordings there, if you don't mind coughing and other occasional noise in this studio set.

    You can also find some piano/organ transcriptions of Bruckner symphonies in my Piano Transcriptions playlist. Lastly, a surprise Bruckner cameo in the beautiful Mes beatitudes by Gerard Pesson.


    1. Thanks for the list. I had arranged a personal list of Bruckner's works in Spotify (probably far from perfect) which I can share with you. OTOH for more detailed info and lists of recordings, downloads, unusual editions, etc. you cannot miss the website (including its monthly e-mail newsletter), a huge effort by devoted American brucknerian John Berky to keep pace with all news about Bruckner around the world.

    2. You made an interesting list, with some of my favourite recordings (apart from Celibidache's, which I agree are in a special class of their own). For No.2 -- the most challenging of them all -- I commend to you the performances under Chailly and Giulini. I have created my own separate lists of the versions and the performing editions. Taking No.1 as an example: in my list of versions there are four (1866, 1877, 1891 and 1893) and I can identify 6 editions (Hynais, Haas Linz, Haas Vienna, Nowak, Brosche and Carragan). Without counting Grandjean's edition of the original adagio and the first scherzo.

    3. Maybe this has been added to Spotify since you made your list - it's a great version of Symphony 8 by Wiener Philharmonic conducted by Pierre Boulez, in my opinion:

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