SLOW AWAKENING (LINZ, 1855-68)
BISHOP RUDIGIER was a man of iron will-power (as he was to show later in his head-on clash with the Austrian Government), but also of deep-seated humanity, and endowed with a genuine love of music. He accorded Bruckner preferential treatment from the start. He liberally sanctioned his frequent and prolonged journeys to Vienna, and deeply appreciated his skill at the organ. He often invited him to play privately for him on the cathedral organ in times of tribulation and preoccupation. It was Rudigier, also, who sent a priest to look after Bruckner during the months of his nervous breakdown, and while he was taking the waters at Bad Kreuzen. Most important of all, he commissioned the Domkantate and the Mass in E minor, both composed for the bishop's cherished new cathedral and its votive chapel. Rudigier was so strongly impressed by Bruckner's D minor Mass ( 1864) that he confessed he had felt unable to pray during the performance because of its artistic fascination. Bruckner continued to venerate this great priest even after he had left Linz for good. He composed his austerely beautiful antiphon Tota pulchra es especially for the occasion of Rudigier's twenty-fifth anniversary as a bishop in 1878.
Actually Bruckner was in sore need of the bishop's benevolence. He had undertaken a prodigious amount of work, which often came into conflict with his double duties as official organist at the cathedral and at the parish church of Linz. Reflecting on the Linz period later, he said he had studied seven hours daily, in addition to giving many piano lessons, by which he was obliged to augment his income, constantly drained by the costly journey to Vienna.
Apart from these local duties, he travelled once or twice a year to Vienna for as long as six or seven weeks, spending every day from