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)