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Bruckner Symphony #9

One of my all time favourite pieces of music is Anton Bruckner’s unfinished 9th Symphony – I have been listening to it over the last few days but on-and-off enjoying it for about 40 years. I have several versions – all of them very good – but my favourite is by Bruno Walter from the early 1960s.  The studios had much simpler recording techniques in those days but the music to me sounds better than modern recording techiques – it had a warmth that is missing these days.  Here is a compelling YouTube of a segment of an alternative performance by Claudio Abbado of the same piece in 1997.

 Bruckner was a strange man – in some ways naive and almost a simpleton in social matters – but a profoundly religious man who dedicated his work – and particularly the 9th – to his God.  He was devoted to the work of Richard Wagner. His music is also controversial. Some like me adore it and others find it overdone and repetitive.  I can never quite understand what those sorts of descriptions mean but they recur so frequently that I can only attribute them to strikingly different tastes. 

I was delighted to find one prominent musician – Paul Dean – who in the Fairfax media today agrees with my assessment of Bruckner’s 9th. He describes it as his “Favourite music’ – “It’s the pinnacle of Western civilisation’.  That might be stretching it a bit but it is profound music.

1 comment to Bruckner Symphony #9

  • MikeM

    That’s the first time I remember listening to music by Bruckner. Personally I prefer Bach, Mozart, Gershwin & Bernstein, but any composer who can motivate 120 musicians and a conductor to create a common work is worth taking seriously.

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