Modern Music: Composers and Music of Our Time

Modern Music: Composers and Music of Our Time

Modern Music: Composers and Music of Our Time

Modern Music: Composers and Music of Our Time

Excerpt

On October 13, 1896 I stood among several hundred persons who had gathered in the Karlskirche in Vienna to bid Anton Bruckner a last farewell. Beneath the high cupola of the church, in whose fresco paintings the Heavens open up, Saints descend on clouds and Angels float gracefully around the gleaming monstrance, stood the catafalque onto which the coffin was lifted.

From high above the church choir sounded the funereal music of the Seventh Symphony which Bruckner had composed on the occasion of Richard Wagner's death. The mighty metal tones of Bruckner's music ascended solemnly together with the incense which the priests, in black chasubles, sent up from silver vessels. The music increased in volume, reaching its climax in the radiant sounding of the cymbals, heralding the Glory and the Honor.

Bruckner's music became as one with the baroque style of the church, for it was itself ornate baroque art, just like the church of Karl the Sixth, in which marble saints guarded the altars, angels of marble and gold hovered over the chapels and the fresco of the cupola showed the Heavens.

The composer, at whose coffin the priests were now chanting monotone prayers for the dead, had spent all his life in such baroque structures. One of them had been the Convent of St. Florian. Here, as a young musician, Bruckner had first played the organ and here he had reverently kneeled in its baroque passages when the Prelate passed by in solemn procession.

Other similar structures were the domes of Linz, Vienna, and . . .

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