Anton Bruckner/music as Installation Art: Organ Musicology, New Musicology and Situationality

By Wallmann, James L. | The American Organist, July 2013 | Go to article overview

Anton Bruckner/music as Installation Art: Organ Musicology, New Musicology and Situationality


Wallmann, James L., The American Organist


ANTON BRUCKNER, Herman Jeurissen and Peter Planyavsky. Amsterdam: Orgelpark and VU University Amsterdam, 2012. Orgelpark Research Reports, 1. ISBN (ibook/ epub) 9789081869621; ISBN (ibook/pdf) 9789491588013; ISBN (paper edition) 9789081869683.

MUSIC AS INSTALLATION ART: ORGAN MUSICOLOGV, NEW MUSICOLOGY AND SITUATIONALITY, Hans Fidom. Amsterdam: Orgelpark and VU University Amsterdam, 2012. Orgelpark Research Reports, 2.

ISBN (book/epub) 9789081869645; ISBN (ibook/pdf) 9789491588006; ISBN (paper edition) 9789081869690. Available from the publisher at Orgelpark.nl/pages/research_ program/sub/orgelparkresearchreports. The Orgelpark in Amsterdam (see Orgelpark.nl) was established in 2007 and is one of the leading centers for organ music and scholarly study of the instrument. Housed in the redundant Parkkerk adjacent to the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the Orgelpark is a veritable organ museum with the church's own two-manual organ by Sauer (1922; restored to its original tubular-pneumatic action) and, among others, a Viennese salon organ by Molzer (c. 1910), a neo-Baroque Van Leeuwen instrument (1954), a three-manual organ by Verschueren in Cavaillé-Coll style (2009), and the Van Straten organ (2012), built by Orgelmakerij Reil as a replica of the 1479 instrument by Peter Gerritsz for the Nicola'ikerk in Utrecht. The Orgelpark publishes a periodical, Timbres, twice a year, and regularly issues compact discs. In addition to an imaginative program of concerts, the Orgelpark also sponsors a research program under the direction of Hans Fidom. Physical facilities are excellent, the 1918 church structure having been restored and adapted for the Orgelpark in 2004.

The first two volumes in the series "Orgelpark Research Reports" have appeared and are reviewed here in their English editions. The first report contains expanded versions of papers presented by Herman Jeurissen and Peter Planyavsky at the Orgelpark Bruckner Festival, held in early 2012. Jeurissen is principal hornist of the Residentie Orkest, the Dutch symphony orchestra based in The Hague, and his paper is titled "Anton Bruckner, builder of symphonic cathedrals." The secondary literature on Bruckner (1824-96) is not as vast as that on Wagner, for example, but it is nevertheless quite extensive- can we say it is of "Brucknerian" proportions? Most of this scholarship is in German, and a good article in English is welcome. Jeurissen's essay "sketches Bruckner's slow, but gradual, line of development" and thereafter "considerisi his symphonies, often described as musical Cathedrals" (§23). (Paragraphs are numbered for reference because page numbers vary or do not exist in ebooks.) While too short to be a complete overview of Bruckner's oeuvre, Jeurissen's essay gives the reader a good sense of Bruckner's symphonies. I was particularly intrigued by the notion that the Austrian composer's "attention-grabbing general pauses are familiar to any organist without the services of a registrant" (§33) and a possible connection between the improvising organist Bruckner and his constant tinkering with written symphonic scores. I am skeptical of any relationship between the construction of the cathedral in Linz as witnessed by Bruckner and the structure of his compositions (§34); I agree with Jeurissen that the influence of Beethoven and organ improvisation are more important. Further, I would point to the influence of Schubert (specifically, the use of a third theme in his sonata form) and Bruckner's musical quotations. Surely it is significant that Bruckner quotes from Mozart's Requiem in the coda to the final movement of his fourth symphony: "Qua resurget ex favilla" ("On which from ashes shall arise") from the "Lacrimosa" is no accident, given Bruckner's fascination with death and corpses. The author is correct that "striving for an ideal, definitive, let alone 'pure' edition of Bruckner's giant symphonic cathedrals is ideological pie in the sky," but does it follow that "the various versions [of Bruckner's symphonies] can be viewed artistically on an equal basis" (§69)? …

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