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Bruckner and the Symphonic Boa Constrictors

When Brahms compared Anton Bruckner's epic symphonies with being caught in the inescapable, life-sapping coils of a giant snake, had he misunderstood Bruckner's bold originality?

Even today, some music-lovers will nod knowingly when they hear Brahms's comparison of Anton Bruckner's epic symphonies with a nightmare-scary giant snake which kills its victims in the inescapable embrace of its crushing coils. Poor Bruckner, ever the easy target of sneering critics. At once childishly obsessive and intensely spiritual, ultra-sophisticated musician and naive country bumpkin: even by composers' standards he stood out as weird. No wonder the music was so hopeless!

But Tom Service wants you to think of Bruckner as one of the greatest and most original symphonists of all time (whose symphonies really don't all sound the same), as much master of daring long-range musical form as of the perfect miniature.

David Papp (producer)

Available now

31 minutes

Last on

Sun 24 Mar 2019 17:00

Music Played

  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 8 in C minor - IV. Finale (Feierlich, nicht schnell)

    Performer: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Sergiu Celibidache.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 9 in D Minor - I. Feierlich, misterioso

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 3 in D minor ‘Wagner Symphony' - I. Gemassigt, misterioso

    Performer: Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Jonathan Nott.
    • Tudor.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 7 in E Major - II. Adagio: sehr feierlich und sehr langsam

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 9 in D Minor - II. Scherzo (Bewegt lebhaft)

    Performer: Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Lancier-Quadrilles - II. Allegro

    Performer: Ana-Marija Markovina.
    • Hänssler.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Aequale I

    Performer: Ensemble Musique Oblique. Performer: Philippe Herreweghe.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Locus iste

    Performer: Tenebrae. Performer: Nigel Short.
    • Signum.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral' - I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 3 in D minor ‘Wagner Symphony' - I. Gemässigt, misterioso

    Performer: Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Jonathan Nott.
    • Tudor.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 9 in D Minor - I. Feierlich, misterioso

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik                        .
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 4 in E flat Major 'Romantic' - I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell

    Performer: Philharmonia Orchestra. Performer: Otto Klemperer.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 7 in E Major - I. Allegro moderato

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 5 in B flat major - I. Adagio

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Bernard Haitink.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 6 in A major - I. Maestoso

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Bernard Haitink.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 3 in D minor ‘Wagner Symphony' - IV. Finale. Allegro

    Performer: Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Jonathan Nott.
    • Tudor.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 9 in D Minor - II. Scherzo: Trio. Schnell

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 8 in C minor - III. Adagio

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 9 in D Minor - III. Adagio. Langsam feierlich

    Performer: Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 5 in B flat major - I. Allegro

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Wilhelm Furtwängler.
    • Berliner Philharmoniker.
  • Anton Bruckner

    Symphony No. 8 in C minor - IV. Finale (Feierlich, nicht schnell)

    Performer: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Mariss Jansons.
    • BR Klassik.

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