By Walter Damrosch
MUSICIANS and music lovers generally will read with great interest this full-length biography of Anton Bruckner, Austrian peasant and symphonic composer who is worthy of being included in that hierarchy beginning with Haydn and ending with Brahms.
The author, Werner Wolff, has written this book as a labor of love. For years he was a conductor of opera and symphony in Hamburg, Germany, and he has now settled in America. He was among the first to introduce the symphonies of Bruckner in Germany and to analyze and write about them sympathetically. Our own great musicologist Philip Hale of Boston wrote of Werner Wolff as follows: ". . . I am indebted in a measure for the preceding sketch of the contents of this symphony ( Bruckner Eighth) to the analysis by Werner Wolff, published in the program book of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin, October 29, 1906. I have followed chiefly in the footsteps of Mr. Wolff."
I have known Werner Wolff for some time and am therefore familiar with his professional and family background. He was brought up in exceptional musical surroundings. The home of his parents was the very center of musical life in Berlin, which at that time was considered the musical capital of Europe. His father was the founder of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and to his hospitable house came all the great composers, singers and instrumentalists of that period.