CHAPTER II
SCHOOLMASTER AND ORGANIST (1841-54)

BRUCKNER'S first educational appointment was that of assistant schoolmaster at the miserable little village of Windhaag, in the northeast corner of the crown-land ( October 1841). The place was quite near the frontier of Bohemia, and not far from the little town of Freystadt. This first assignment provided useful if bitter experiences. Bruckner received a very paltry salary, and was asked to undertake numerous menial jobs in the fields, in addition to his gratuitous set. vices as deputy organist and sexton. His superior evidently disliked his enthusiasm for the organ and for composition, and resented his reluctance to work in the fields. He made things as difficult as possible. Life seemed bearable only thanks to the haven of friendship offered him by the family of the musical weaver Sücka. With them Bruckner eventually formed a dance band in which he played second fiddle. They were asked to play at country inns, especially for dance entertainmems and wedding celebrations. The local peasantry was as much bewildered by Bruckner's musical accompaniments on the organ as by his absent-mindedness and concentration on intellectual pursuits.

When finally his superior, Fuchs, denounced him for his refusal to work in the fields, he was summoned before the prelate Arneth of St Florian, who sized up the situation very fairly. He transferred Bruckner in January 1841 to the even tinier village of Kronstorf near Steyr. But this was no disciplinary/action, for Kronstorf proved a great improvement. It was half-way between Linz and Steyr, both possesing beautiful organs and inhabited by more enlightened people. Steyr even had a Krismann organ, like St Florian, and at Enns was a master-organist, Leopold von Zenetti, who soon became Bruckner's first authoritative musical mentor. On an old piano, discovered in an attic at Kronstorf, Bruckner practised Bach day in,

-7-

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