Monday, July 16, 2007

Always picked last

Listened to Bruckner's Third Symphony (1877 version) this morning. It was from the recently re-issued box set of the symphonies conducted by Barenboim (an early birthday present).

While reading the set's notes, I found stuff I liked: "In order for it to be fully understood, Brahms's First Symphony seems to presuppose two whole centuries of music history as a living force, whereas Bruckner approached his task with an almost naive insouciance, seeming not to suffer from the oppressive weight of tradition. While his First Symphony is far from denying the age in which it was written, no other composer of his stature has been able to animate the elemental forces of rhythm and melody with such unrefracted immediacy..."

And I also found stuff so banal it would make a first-year musicology student blush: "Even more radically than Mahler, Bruckner appears to suggest that the repertory of Romantic enchantment is wholly exhausted or at least that it has fallen under suspicion in a world of rampant industrialisation."

Then I found this: "With their synthesis of drama, seduction and ecstasy, Wagner's works cast an immediate and almost inexplicable spell on the God-fearing Bruckner, a confirmed bachelor of punctilious habits and petit-bourgeois inhibitions." Which lead me to think: why haven't the "queer musicology" revisionists set their sights on Bruckner? Is there something wrong with him? Man, nobody ever wants to give Bruckner the time of day. The brother can't buy a break.

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