Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Music > 232. Anton Bruckner

232.  Anton Bruckner (1824-1896).  Symphony IV, (Romantic). Manuscript, with title page and many corrections in the composer's hand, 121 leaves, [1878] Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML

One of the most innovative figures of the second half of the 19th century, Bruckner is remembered primarily for his symphonies and sacred compositions. His music is rooted in the formal traditions of Beethoven and Schubert and inflected with Wagnerian harmony and orchestration. Until late in his career his reputation rested mainly on his improvisatory skills at the organ. The Fourth Symphony, like the Third, exists in three distinct versions. The first was completed in November 1874 (ed. Nowak, 1974).

In this revision of 1878, Bruckner ‘tightened up' the first two movements, revised the finale and replaced the original scherzo with a new movement. In 1880 Bruckner substantially recomposed the finale. The work, comprising the first three movements of 1878 and the finale of 1880, was given its first performance by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Hans Richter, on February 20, 1881. After this performance, Bruckner unsuccessfully attempted to get the symphony published. In undertaking the third and final revision, Bruckner was assisted by Ferdinand Löwe and probably by the Schalk brothers.

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