CHAPTER VIII
FUNDAMENTALS OF STYLE

AFFINITY OF MASS AND SYMPHONY. To compare Bruckner's eleven Symphonies and three grand Masses with Beethoven's nine Symphonies and two great Masses (a suggestion which might strike a Central European as not altogether blasphemous) is to discover two fundamental differences. Beethoven's symphonies show a steady development coupled with a general tendency to lengthen each movement, to increase the orchestral sonorities, and to vary the formal planning. This tendency moves from the Haydn-like simplicity of the first Symphony to the manifold complexities of the ninth. Bruckner's symphonies, on the other hand, have a single formal pattern with but little variation. Permanent characteristic features of his style may be discovered in his earliest symphonic essays, the so-called Studiensymphonie in F minor and the 'Zero' Symphony in D minor. They are, as it were, blueprints for the official set of nine symphonies. Again, Beethoven's two Masses are conceived in a distinctly different emotional and stylistic vein from his symphonies, despite an occasional symphonic bias noticeable in the Missa solemnis. In Bruckner's case the interrelationship between mass and symphony is so close that the one cannot be satisfactorily considered without the other. It is a fair guess that Bruckner's archetype of grand 'festival mass,' as seen in the two masterpieces in D minor and F minor, left its imprint on his particular brand of monumentalized symphony. The extended proportion of the 'Gloria' and 'Credo' sections of these two Masses may also have subconsciously determined the length of the first two movements of the three early symphonies. The masses in turn are indebted to certain liturgical habits attributable to the Austrian Landmesse. In their emotional pictorialism they seem to re-echo Haydn's latest masses as well as Mozart Requiem; their contrapuntal ingenuities draw on Cherubini's church compositions and, farther back, on the vocal polyphony of Palestrina and Gallus, Fux and Caldara. 1

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1
On Bruckner's close knowledge of the works and composers mentioned here see Haas (see Bibliography), pp. 33 ff.; E. Decsey (see Bibliography), pp. 120 ff.

-51-

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