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Bruckner's Organ Compositions


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I have an old print of two organ pieces by Bruckner, described as a first edition from the manuscripts, published by Böhm and distributed by Hinrichsen. They are entitled Vorspiel and Nachspiel (i.e. Prelude and Postlude); both are in D minor. The Nachspiel consists of an introduction of a handful of grinding semibreve chords followed by a short and thoroughly unremarkable fugue. Light in texture it contains nothing that would disgrace a Baroque composer; it hardly seems worth the bother. The Vorspiel is even less interesting. Someone once remarked to me that it looks less like a composition and more like a continuo accompaniment. I have to agree; it does. In fact, I wonder whether both pieces could be accompaniments. There is a copy of the Vorspiel online here (the version I have is on two staves and only the opening dynamic "f" without any subsequent variations or manual changes). Do we have any Bruckner experts here? Are the titles Bruckner's own or merely a publisher's convenience? Could my friend have been right? Anyone recognise it from elsewhere?

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I have an old print of two organ pieces by Bruckner, described as a first edition from the manuscripts, published by Böhm and distributed by Hinrichsen. They are entitled Vorspiel and Nachspiel (i.e. Prelude and Postlude); both are in D minor. The Nachspiel consists of an introduction of a handful of grinding semibreve chords followed by a short and thoroughly unremarkable fugue. Light in texture it contains nothing that would disgrace a Baroque composer; it hardly seems worth the bother. The Vorspiel is even less interesting. Someone once remarked to me that it looks less like a composition and more like a continuo accompaniment. I have to agree; it does. In fact, I wonder whether both pieces could be accompaniments. There is a copy of the Vorspiel online here (the version I have is on two staves and only the opening dynamic "f" without any subsequent variations or manual changes). Do we have any Bruckner experts here? Are the titles Bruckner's own or merely a publisher's convenience? Could my friend have been right? Anyone recognise it from elsewhere?

 

 

I have a copy of the piece you refer to and I agree with your opinion of it. However, on a 1970s German LP somewhere I have a recording of a Bruckner work that starts virtually the same but does quite a bit more. I have never seen this longer, better score.

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Guest Barry Williams

My notes indicate the following compositions for organ by Anton Bruckner:

 

Prelude and Fugue in C major

Prelude in E flat major

Prelude in D minor

Prelude in C

Postlude in D minor

Fugue in F

Four Preludes, (some think of doubtful provenance.)

Andante (title is doubtful)

 

Barry Williams

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Bruckners preserved compositions for organ are thoroughly very poor. They date from his early steps into composing and reflect his high self-criticism, which led him to take endless studies in counterpount and harmony (with Simon Sechter) and to avoid any fresh approaches. He always wanted to have a diploma which would tell himself that he knwo knows how to do it.

When he finally played for a jury of the Vienna Conservatory on the Buckow Organ of Maria Treu Church, the leader of the jury said after the exam: "He should have examined us!"

Bruckner had high reputation as an improviser. When I'm right, he played a large organ concert in London, where he played Bachs F major Toccata + Fugue, and afterwards an improvisation on that piece! One wonders what it sounded like and which idea there was behind....

The available Bruckner organ compositions are related to his mastership as composer in quite the same manner as Mozart's organ works to Mozart's mastership, where we find reports on great improvising, but relatively poor compositions (beside the works for automatic organs).

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Guest Barry Williams
Thank you for that, Barry. Do you know whether any of the others are published anywhere?

 

 

The four Preludes are, as far as I am aware, only available in Diletto Musicale (see below.)

 

The 1836 prelude in E flat major was published by Auer at one time. That version is probably now out of print.

 

The D minor Prelude and Postlude were both edited by Augsberg ( confusing!) in about 1927 or 1928.

 

The D minor fugue was edited by Graflinger and published in Germany just before the first World War, but there was a revision in 1927.

 

My playing edition is Diletto Musicale by Verlang Doblinger of Munchen Nr 364:

 

Vorspiel d-Moll

Nachspiel d-Moll

Vospeill und Fuge c-Moll

Fuge d-Moll

Praludium C-Dur

Praludium Es-Dur

Vier Praludium in Es-Dur

with the four very short E flat Praludiums on the final page. There are also three stop lists of relevant organs on the inside back cover.

 

The important article is by Rudolf Quoika: Die Orgelwelt um Anton Bruckner- Blicke in die Orgelgeschichte Alt-Ostterreichs, Ludwigsburg, 1966. There is another article by Ernst Tittel in 1969 that has much useful information. (Singende Kirche, 16.Jahreng, volumes 3 & 4.)

 

There is valuable information in the Bruckner biography by August Gollerich (1922) or Auer's work in 1949.

 

Barry Williams

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The four Preludes are, as far as I am aware, only available in Diletto Musicale (see below.)

 

The 1836 prelude in E flat major was published by Auer at one time. That version is probably now out of print.

 

The D minor Prelude and Postlude were both edited by Augsberg ( confusing!) in about 1927 or 1928.

 

The D minor fugue was edited by Graflinger and published in Germany just before the first World War, but there was a revision in 1927.

 

My playing edition is Diletto Musicale by Verlang Doblinger of Munchen Nr 364:

 

Vorspiel d-Moll

Nachspiel d-Moll

Vospeill und Fuge c-Moll

Fuge d-Moll

Praludium C-Dur

Praludium Es-Dur

Vier Praludium in Es-Dur

with the four very short E flat Praludiums on the final page. There are also three stop lists of relevant organs on the inside back cover.

 

The important article is by Rudolf Quoika: Die Orgelwelt um Anton Bruckner- Blicke in die Orgelgeschichte Alt-Ostterreichs, Ludwigsburg, 1966. There is another article by Ernst Tittel in 1969 that has much useful information. (Singende Kirche, 16.Jahreng, volumes 3 & 4.)

 

There is valuable information in the Bruckner biography by August Gollerich (1922) or Auer's work in 1949.

 

Barry Williams

 

Is any of it worth purchasing and learning though, please?

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