(Born at Ansfelden, in Upper Austria, September 4, 1824;
died at Vienna, October II, 1896)
BOTH THE ADMIRERS of Bruckner and those that dislike his music lay stress on the fact that he was born a peasant and was essentially a peasant to the day of his death, although the Rector Magnificus of the University of Vienna bowed before him when he presented him with the honorary degree of doctor. The detractors find in Bruckner's peasanthood his salient faults. The former say that by reason of the simplicity and purity of his character Bruckner was as Paul caught up in the body or out of the body, they cannot tell, to the third heaven, caught up into paradise where he heard unspeakable words, which it was not lawful for him to utter, but it was allowed him to hint at them in music. The latter insist that his peasant naïveté is revealed in his interminable chatter, in his vague wanderings, in his lack of continuity and cohesion in the expression of thought.
The wretched game of politics is still played with Bruckner. Because he worshipped Wagner and because Brahms, or rather Hanslick—who was to Brahms both elephantier and thurifer—was opposed to Wagner, the Wagnerites therefore pitted Bruckner against Brahms and proclaimed the former the great successor to Beethoven in the field of absolute music. As a matter of fact, Brahms was neither bitterly hostile toward Wagner nor did he sneer at Bruckner. There was room for both Brahms and Bruckner