Academic journal article Notes

The First Volume in the New Bruckner Edition

Academic journal article Notes

The First Volume in the New Bruckner Edition

Article excerpt

Anton Bruckner. Symphonic Nr. 1 in c-moll = Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101. Fassung von 1868 ("Linzer Fassung") = 1868 Version ("Linz Version"). Herausgegeben von = Edited by Thomas Roder. (Neue Anton Bruckner Gesamtausgabe = New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition, Serie III: Orchesterwerke, Abteilung 1: Symphonien, Band 1/1 = Series III: Orchestral Works, Section 1: Symphonies, Vol. 1/1.) Vienna: Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen BrucknerGesellschaft, 2016. [Foreword in Ger., Eng., p. vii-viii; score, p. 1-292; appendix, p. 295-305. ISMN 979-0-50025-300-6, ISBN 978-3-902681-35-5. 305.30 [euro] inclusive of both volumes.]

Anton Bruckner. Symphonie Nr. 1 in c-moll = Symphony No. 1 in C minor, WAB 101. Fassung von 1868 ("Linzer Fassung") = 1868 Version ("Linz Version"). Herausgegeben von = Edited by Thomas Roder. Editionsbericht = Editorial Report. (Neue Anton Bruckner Gesamtausgabe = New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition, Serie III: Orchesterwerke, Abteilung 1: Symphonien, Band 1/1 = Series III: Orchestral Works, Section 1: Symphonies, Vol. 1/1.) Vienna: Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, 2016. [Introd. in Ger., Eng., p. 7-29; editorial report in Ger., Eng., p. 31-74. ISMN 979-0-50025-305-1, ISBN 978-3-902681-37-9. 305.30 [euro] inclusive of both volumes.]

In preparation for a performance of his Eighth Symphony, Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) asked conductor Felix Weingartner (1863-1942) to observe the cuts he had marked in the score. As he explained, in its unabridged form the work was valid only for later times, when a small circle of connoisseurs would be able to appreciate it. Bruckner's distinction between the version he was allowing Weingartner to perform and the one he regarded as the ideal instantiation of the work is indicative of a situation that is unique in the history of nineteenth-century source studies. To be sure, it is not entirely unusual for a composer to create more than one version of a particular work. (The multiple versions of Beethoven's Leonora overture, Brahms's B-major Piano Trio, and Sibelius's Fifth Symphony come to mind.) With Bruckner, however, we have a very unusual case in that a significant part of his output is preserved in multiple versions--some of which, incidentally, include revisions and alterations that others made without his consent.

The entangled philological situation concerning the sources and transmission of the composer's works--a situation often referred to as the "Bruckner problem"--is the backdrop against which we can understand the significance of Thomas Roder's edition of the Linz version of Bruckner's First Symphony and, more generally, the need for a third critical edition of his complete works. Thus before discussing the opening volume of this new musicological enterprise, I will address the problematic nature of the Bruckner sources, and of the two critical editions of his complete works that were published in the twentieth century.

In order to keep a record of his progress on the composition and revision of his music, Bruckner meticulously entered dates in his manuscript scores and sketches. These dates show that he often embarked on a new composition shortly after the completion of a work. The dates and other documentary evidence, however, also show that in some cases he started to revise a work as soon as he had "completed" it--that is, soon after he had recorded a date of completion on the score--particularly when the prospect of a performance was on the horizon. Thus the concept of moving on to the next project while continuing to revise a "finished" composition is not necessarily extraneous to a composer whose output could be said to epitomize the notion of the artwork as an entity in flux. Bruckner's penchant for retouching and refining his work notwithstanding, his career as a mature composer can be divided into distinctive periods in which composition and revision alternate. …

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