Composers Datebook®

Politically correct Bruckner, circa 1937

Composers Datebook - April 2, 2024


An invitation-only audience attended a historic Bruckner concert in Munich on today’s date in 1932. On the first half of the program, Siegmund von Hausegger conducted Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9, using the posthumous edition prepared by Bruckner’s pupil, Ferdinand Löwe, which contained many edits and alterations. For the second half, Bruckner’s Ninth was performed again — this time as the composer had written it, following the Bruckner’s unpublished manuscript score.

During his lifetime and after his death, Bruckner’s most devoted pupils, Löwe and the Schalk brothers, Josef and Franz, cut and altered his scores to better match the expectations of contemporary audiences, trying to make Bruckner sound more like Wagner — flashier and more dramatic.

The 1932 Munich concert began a five-year debate whether the original or altered Bruckner was preferable. Then in 1937, Germany’s Nazi government announced it would fund a new Bruckner edition based on the composer’s original manuscripts. Like everything else in Nazi Germany, symphonies were viewed through racially tinted lenses. Löwe had Jewish ancestry, and so what began as a musicological project to honor the Austrian composer’s original intentions was appropriated by the Nazis as a crusade to “liberate” Bruckner from what they called “non-Ayran” tampering.

Music Played in Today's Program

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896): Symphony No. 9; Minnesota Orchestra; Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor; Reference 81

On This Day


  • 1803 - German composer and conductor Franz Lachner, in Rain am Lech


  • 1961 - American composer Wallingford Riegger, 75, in New York


  • 1800 - Beethoven: Symphony No. 1, at the Hofburgtheater in Vienna, during a benefit concert for Beethoven (an “Akademie”) conducted by the composer. Also on the program was the first public performance of Beethoven's Septet, Op. 20 (a private performance had already taken place at the home of Prince Schwarzenberg). The earliest documented American performance of some or all of Beethoven's First occurred in the Moravian community of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, on June 13, 1813.

  • 1911 - Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 1, in Paris, with Gabriel Pierné conducting

  • 1932 - Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 (original version), at a private concert in Munich, at which Siegmund von Hausegger first performed the much revised and cut version of this symphony prepared by Bruckner's pupil, Ferdinand Löwe, then the composer's original score. Clemens Krauss conducted the first public performance of Bruckner's original version with the Vienna Philharmonic on October 23, 1932.

  • 1938 - Quincy Porter: Symphony No. 1, by the New York Philharmonic, with the composer conducting

  • 1948 - Hartmann: opera Simplicius Simplicissimus (concert performance), in Munich by the Bavarian Radio

  • 1958 - Mayuzumi: Nirvana-Symphony, in Tokyo

  • 1970 - Rochberg: Caprice Variations for solo violin, by Lewis Kaplan, broadcast live in New York on WBAI's Free Music Store

  • 2005 - Per Norgard: The Will-o’-the-Wisps Go to Town (to texts by Hans Christian Andersen and Susanne Broegge), for soloists, chorus and orchestra, in Birmingham, England, by the Birmingham Symphony


  • 1825 - First documented American performance of Beethoven's Egmont Overture, at the City Hotel in New York during an orchestral program conducted by Joseph Herrmann

  • 1845 - Shortly before his 16th birthday, American composer and piano virtuoso Louis Moreau Gottschalk performs a recital in Paris at the Salle Pleyel. Chopin attends and congratulates Gottschalk on his performance.

  • 1877 - American premiere of Wagner's opera Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), at the Academy of Music in New York City

  • 1914 - Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet conducts Stravinsky's Symphony in Eb in Montreux and begins friendship with Stravinsky. Ansermet would become a famous interpreter and champion of this composer's works. In April 1919, Stravinsky would dedicate a reduced-orchestra version of his Firebird Ballet Suite to Ansermet and his newly-formed ensemble, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.

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About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

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