Biography of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Austrian composer, born September 4, 1824 in Ansfelden (near Linz, Austria) and died on October 11, 1896 in Vienna.


Coming from a peasant family, the small Anton moved to 11 years to the town of Hörsching to receive music lessons from his uncle, the organist Johann Baptist Weiss. It was he/she who directed him toward religious music and encouraged him to study organ. In 1837 the father of Bruckner died and this had to enter in the Abbey of Sankt Florian as a Chorister to be able to continue with his musical studies. Already at that time, Bruckner was a consummate interpreter of organ and violin. In 1839 he/she left Sankt Florian and decided to go to Linz to study Magisterium. At the end of their studies and following the family tradition, Bruckner was then master of the school in various localities of the high Austria until settling in Linz, in 1855, to fill the post of organist at the Cathedral. Bruckner had already written about fifty religious works, including the Requiem in d minor and the Psalm 114 were at this time.

Perfectionist spirit, Bruckner continued studying with Simon Sechter to improve its technical training until he/she obtained the degree of "Master of music" in 1861. Not content with this diploma, he/she decided to continue studying with Otto Kitzler, cellist of the Linz opera. This encouraged him to become familiar with the contemporary orchestration and the music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer and, later, Wagner, to introduce you to the opera Tannhäuser. Fruit of his studies with Kitzler were the Overture in g minor and Psalm 112.

In 1863 he/she wrote his first Symphony: the Symphony in f minor known as 'Double zero'. But the composer was not satisfied with this work and tried to capture their musical ideas with more success in the Symphony in d minor (1864), called "Die Nullte" ("zero") because they are outside the catalog of his symphonies. In 1866, he/she wrote his first Symphony in c minor which would continue another eight. In Linz, it would produce 40 works notably the Fugue in d minor for organ (1861) and the mass No. 3 in f minor. However, the hard work and the sentimental disappointments led him to the edge of madness.

In 1864 Bruckner attended the premiere in Munich of the Wagner opera Tristan und Isolde, I was very interested in the work of the German composer. This interest in the music of Wagner created it certain problems since the Viennese music community was divided between supporters of Brahms and Wagner. Support for the latter made him earn the enmity of the critic Eduard Hanslick, who initially supported him and even helped him get an annual subsidy of the Court. But from the premiere of the Symphony No. 3 wrote harsh criticism about his work and provoked the social rejection of his music.

In 1868 Bruckner was admitted as a teacher of harmony, counterpoint and Fugue at the Conservatory of Vienna to replace his former teacher Simon Sechter. It began at that time to travel around Europe and met great successes as organist at Nancy, Notre Dame de Paris and the Royal Albert Hall in London. In 1872, he/she began his second Symphony in c minor, and the nine he/she composed his most important works such as the Quintet for strings (1879) sandwiched. Around 1884 success came finally in Austria: received an award from Emperor Francisco José, he/she was admitted as a member final of the Imperial Chapel and named doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Vienna. Ten years later, in 1894, he/she had to leave his professional commitments on medical recommendation. In 1896 the Vienna Philharmonic played its seventh Symphony with great success.

Bruckner died in 1896 because of a crisis of dropsy and, at his request, was buried under the body of the Church of Sankt Florian, one of the first to know.


The great goal that is marked Bruckner consisted of creating a kind of Symphony more ambitious by other composers written above. For this purpose he/she used large structures that would permit you the total expansion of the sound material that was intended to be used and that until now no one had dared to use. This provoked the initial rejection of conductors and orchestras, which were considered bizarre and absurd his innovative symphonies.

In terms of its orchestration, it is characterized by the alternation of the different families of instruments with certain Wagnerian overtones. Its deep spirituality made him to permanently search for the sublime and the approach to God through his work, hence its production includes a large number of religious as masses, motets, Psalms and Te Deum sheet music.

Musically, Bruckner is next to Beethoven, Schumann and Schubert, but includes in its features symphonies as the employment of three themes or thematic groups in the initial allegro, the use of the phrase of eight measures, the growth of the Orchestra until the Wagnerian limits, certain extracts of Austrian folklore motives and a metallic sound in the style of WagnerHe admired who deeply as we know. Despite certain limitations, the sincerity of his inspiration and the almost visual presence of the Alpine landscape that manages to produce his works make him one of the great masters of music. Eminent organist, used all sound combinations and even invented some new for his symphonies.

His work was influential in the music of composers such as Mahler and the Finnish Sibelius.

Links on the Internet; website dedicated to the life and works of the Austrian composer. It contains links to other pages. In English.; website of amateur work of Bruckner. It contains numerous links to other pages. In English.

Selected discography

Te Deum/motets. Performers: Maria Stader, Sieglinde Wagner, the Bavarian Radio Choir, choir of the Berlin German Opera, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Eugen Jochum. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 457 743-2. 1-3 masses. Performers: Maria Stader, Hellmann, Haefliger, Orchestra and chorus of the Bavarian Radio. Director: Eugen Jochum. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 447 409-2. Symphony in d minor "Die Nullte". Performers: Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Director: Sir George Solti. Decca CD 4521602 Symphony No. 2 in c minor. Performers: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Daniel Barenboim. Teldec 3984 21485-2 CD. Symphony No. 2. Performers: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Director: Riccardo Chailly. DECCA 436 154-2. Symphony No. 3 in d minor. Performers: Orchestra of Radio Frankfurt. Director: Eliahu Inbal. Teldec 4509-91445-2 CD Symphony No. 3. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Bernard Haitink. Philips 422 411 CD. Symphony No. 3. Performers: Cleveland Orchestra. Director: Erno Dohnanyi. Decca 443 CD 753-2 Symphony No. 4 in e flat major. Performers: Orchestra of Radio Frankfurt. Director: Eliahu Inbal. Teldec CD 77597. Symphony No. 4 "Romantico". Performers: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Riccardo Muti. EMI 569 795 2. Symphony No. 4. Performers: Orchestra Munich Philharmonic (live). Director: Sergiu Celibidache. EMI CD 5566902. Symphony No. 4. Performers: New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Kurt Masur. Teldec CD 93332. Symphonies 3 & 4. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Karl Böhm. DECCA 448 098-2. Symphony No. 5 in b flat major. Performers: Orchestra Berlin Philharmonic (live). Director: Wilhelm Furtwängler. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 427 774-2. Symphony No. 5. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Claudio Abbado. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 445 879-2. Symphony No. 6 in a major. Performers: Orchestra of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Director: Bernard Haitink. Philips CD 473 301 Symphony No. 7 in e major. Performers: Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Director: Bruno Walter. Sony CD 64482. Symphony No. 7. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Carlo Maria Giulini. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 445 553-2. Symphony No. 7. Performers: Orchestra of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Director: Bernard Haitink. Philips CD 420 805-2 Symphony No 7. Performers: Orchestra of Berlin Radio. Director: Riccardo Chailly. Decca CD 414290-2 Symphony No. 8 in c minor. Performers: Symphony Orchestra of Cleveland. Director: Erno Dohnanyi. Decca 443 CD 753-2. Symphony No. 8. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Herbert von Karajan. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 427 611-2. Symphony No. 9 in d minor. Performers: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Sergiu Celibidache. EMI CD 5566992. Symphony No. 9. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Leonard Bernstein. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 435 350-2. Symphony No. 9. Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Director: Carlo María Giulini. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 427 345 CD.


HOWIE, C.; HAWKSHAW, P.; JACKSON, T. Perspectives on Anton Bruckner. Ashgate, 2001.

RIBERA BERGÓS, J. Bruckner. Madrid, Daimon, 1986.

SIMSON, R. W. L. The essence of Bruckner: an essay towards the understanding of his music. London, Gollancz, 1967.

STORNI, E. Bruckner: the singer of God. Madrid, Espasa Calpe, 1977.

TIMOTHY JACSON, T.; HAWKSHAW, P. Bruckner Studies. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

WATSON, D. The Master Musicians: Bruckner. London, J.M. Dent & Sons, 2000.