Bruckner's Greatest Works

Anton Bruckner is an exceptional figure. Hugely influenced by the music of Richard Wagner, he idolised the operatic revolutionary to the point of obsession. But he also had deep roots in the church music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Palestrina. The intense, dark sensuality of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde left a deep imprint on his harmonic style. Yet his symphonies have been described as 'cathedrals in sound', reflecting their spacious architectural qualities and mood of religious devotion.

(1824 - 1896)

Mass No.2 in E minor

Commissioned by the Bishop of Linz to mark the completion of the newly built Maria-Empfängnis-Dom, the premiere was delayed for three years due to problems with the building work.

Anton Bruckner Mass No. 2 Kyrie Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum, Bavarian Radio Chorus

Mass No.3 in F minor

Arguably Bruckner's finest sacred work, even Johannes Brahms, who was normally not one of Bruckner's greatest admirers, admitted to having been deeply moved by it.

Anton Bruckner Mass No.3 In F Minor Sanctus Maria Stader, Claudia Hellmann, Ernst Haefliger, Kim Borg, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum, Bavarian Radio Chorus

Symphony No. 4

Following the abject failure of his first three symphonies,Bruckner's Fourth, which he referred to as both 'optimistic' and'romantic', received a rapturous welcome at its 1881 premiere.

Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 4 2. Andante quasi allegretto Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum

Symphony No. 7

The premiere of the monumental Seventh Symphony represented a career high for Bruckner, who was called out several times for applause at the end of each movement.

Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 7 4. Finale: Bewegt doch nicht schnell Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim

Symphony No. 8

The public's first taste of this epic masterpiece was via an organ extemporisation during which Bruckner synthesised themes from the Eighth with motifs from Wagner's Götterdämmerung!

Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 8 4. Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnell Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

Symphony No. 9

Tragically, Bruckner's final symphonic masterpiece was left incomplete at the time of his death - some 200 tantalising pages of sketches are all that remains of the planned finale.

Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 9 2. Scherzo (Bewegt lebhaft) - Trio (Schnell) Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado