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     Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) wrote eleven symphonies including Symphony #0 and the Symphony in f Minor. He revised them so many times that if instead of these revisions he had composed new symphonies, their number might exceed the number of symphonies written
by Mozart!
     Bruckner's lack of self-confidence allowed him to be persuaded by colleagues and even pupils to revise his compositions. You may hear the desperation in his words: "They want me to write differently. Certainly, I can, but I must not. God chose me from thousands and gave
me this talent. It is up to Him how I compose. What a sin it would be if I would follow
others?"
     Despite the fact, that his symphonies underwent multiple alterations, Bruckner always kept the original scores for "later times." Bruckner's devotion to God enabled him to keep composing.
     The recording embodied on this CD is not the usual one, because it is the original version of Bruckner's symphony.  Bruckner's church music sat well with audiences, but his symphonies, for which he is best known today, were radical in scope and received with hostility. Local orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, were reluctant to perform his symphonies, usually deemed by them as formless, too long, and unmarketable.
     Bruckner (as well as many other great composers including Rachmaninov) suffered from destructive attacks by musical critics.
     Today no-one remembers the names of these "musical judges"; and their sentences,
if you can still find them, sound very funny and shallow after a hundred years.
     According to many historians Bruckner was "humble, straightforward, uncomplicated, unpretentious and unsophisticated."
     Unlike Wagner, Bruckner rarely showed interest in literature (except the Bible), drama or political philosophy. There is a famous anecdote: after a performance of Wagner's Ring, Bruckner asked: "Why did they burn Brunnhilde?"
     Bruckner established himself as a composer very late, though he was born in a family of musicians and from his youth studied music seriously. Wilhelm Furtwangler once said: "Schubert and Mozart had already completed their life's works when Bruckner was
still writing counterpoint exercises."
     It is always fascinating to watch audiences who are astonished by the early development of talent. I wonder why people don't consider a strawberry more superb, perfect and advanced than an orange because it ripens earlier?
     It is good to remember that everything has its own time and purpose. If there is a gun - one day it will shoot.
     It is a historic fact that Bruckner adored Wagner as almost a musical god and considered him a hero and father-like figure. Bruckner's dedication of his Third Symphony (1873) witnesses this fact. Maybe, Bruckner admired Wagner so much because Wagner's music was so different from his own?
     Another great impact on Bruckner's music was made by the late Beethoven, especially by his Ninth Symphony. It became a model for all of Bruckner's symphonies. There is an opinion that Bruckner didn't write eleven symphonies; he just wrote the same symphony eleven
times.
     Bruckner was an extremely devout man. His music is meditative and his symphonies can be compared with cathedrals in their scale.
     A rare feature to consider is his feeling of time. Most forms of Viennese classicism are based on frequent changes of characters and episodes. They are so different from Bruckner! An extremely slow unfolding of his music might be a reflection of the life spent in a church, unlike Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. His music grows from the Catholic faith; and church modes bring a medieval quality to many of his compositions. His music is full of inner silence and self-immersion. Slow tempos, preference of low registers, and ascetic orchestral texture often feature in his symphonies and distinguish Bruckner from other composers.
     At the same time Bruckner's orchestra sounds very Austrian. Like many other composers he first wrote claviers and then orchestrated them. It usually results in more ascetic orchestral texture than it would be if an orchestral composition were initially imagined and written for a certain set of instruments. Bruckner's common double-set orchestra associates his music with Haydn and early Mozart. In particular, Bruckner in a very similar way uses Corni and Timpani.
     Symphony No. 4 "Romantic" was revised at least 5 times during the 14 years following its creation in 1874:
     1878 Version (I-III: Haas Vorlagenbericht; Finale: Haas, Nowak)
     1880 Finale (Haas Vorlagenbericht)
     1881 Version (Haas)
     1886 Version (Nowak)
     1888 Version (1889, Redlich)
     Performances and recordings of the versions made in 1878 and 1880 are the most common.
     "Romantic" is one of the best known and the most often performed compositions by Bruckner.
     There is an interesting story about the premiere of this masterpiece: For many years Bruckner unsuccessfully pursued the attention of Hans Richter, a prominent Austrian conductor. The composer's efforts eventually were crowned with success - his Symphony #4 was premiered under the baton of Hans Richter in Vienna, 1881. It was a pivotal moment in Bruckner's biography. All other symphonies written before the Fourth were a great failure. Bruckner was deeply moved. He never was rich and as a sign of his gratitude he presented
Richter with a thaler. Bruckner asked the conductor to purchase a bottle of beer to celebrate the success. Instead of drinking beer with Bruckner, Richter turned his thaler into a medallion and kept it to the end of his life as a reminder of this event.
     At the end of his life Bruckner was allowed to teach in the Vienna conservatory and the University of Vienna. The Austrian government provided him with financial support in recognition of his contribution to Austrian music.
     Anton Bruckner died on October 11, 1896, at the age of 72. In accordance with Bruckner's wish his remains were taken to the cathedral of St. Florian near Linz, where he
worked for many years, and buried under the organ.

     Vladimir Fedoseyev developed the USSR TV and Radio Large Symphony Orchestra for 26 years into one of the best Russian orchestras and made it internationally known by touring, before he was appointed as a principal conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in 1997.
     Fedoseyev also conducts leading orchestras in Germany (Orchester des Bayrischen Rundfunks, RSO Stuttgart, Staatsorchester Hamburg), in France (Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France), in Italy, Scandinavia and Switzerland.  The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra appointed him as their first guest conductor.
     Fedoseyev's conducting demonstrates such unique virtues as a perfect ensemble and balance in sound, discipline and the perfectionist's approach. For those who attended his concerts they will remain etched in their memory for a lifetime.

2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn

Anton Bruckner
(1824 - 1896)

    Symphony No.4 "Romantic"
    in E flat Major

1. I. Bewegt, nicht zu schnell - 17:14
2. II.  Andante quasi Allegretto - 14:31
3. III. Scherzo - 8:35
4. IV. Finale: Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell - 18:41

            Total time: 59:21

The USSR TV and Radio Large Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Fedoseyev, conductor

© 1995 Gramzapis
© 2002 CDK Music

 Recording was made in the Ostankino studio, Moscow, 1977.

Cover painting "St. John on Patmos" by Hieronymus Bosch.

Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn