An invitation-only audience attended an historic Bruckner concert in Munich on today’s date in 1932. On the first half of the program, Siegmund von Hausegger conducted Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, 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second half, Bruckner’s Ninth was performed again—this time as the composer had written it, following the Bruckner’s unpublished manuscript score.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, Ferdinand 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 5-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, even symphonies were viewed through racially tinted lenses. Bruckner’s pupil Löwe had Jewish ancestry, and so what began as a musicological project to honor the long-dead 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 in dMinnesota Orchestra; Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, cond.Reference 81
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