Bruckner, Anton


Bruckner, Anton

Symphony Nr. 9 in D minor, Finale (Completed performance version)

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Anton Bruckner – Symphony Nr. 9 in D minor, Finale (Completed performance version)


”Just a simple remark – if you don’t approve of performing versions of composer’s unfinished sketches, no one is holding your hand to the fire forcing you to listen. In the meantime, those of us with intellectual curiosity, although we know such things as this and other performing versions can never really exist as the composer would have completed them, would still rather hear the sketches in some way rather than having them remain mute in archive drawers. Again: no one is forcing you to listen …”[Bruckner-Fan Dace Gisclard, Houston/USA, 26. 8. 2003,]

In 1983, Nicola Samale and Giuseppe Mazzuca initiated the arduous task of completing the final movement of Anton Bruckner’s IXth Symphony in d minor, originally almost complete in its conception, but nowadays partially lost. A first phase, finished in 1985, was published by Ricordi and subsequently recorded for CD with Eliahu Inbal (Teldec) and Gennadij Roshdestvenskij (Melodiya) conducting. Giuseppe Mazzuca, after the 1985 Ricordi publication, showed no further interest in work on the Finale. At about the same time, Nicola Samale started a collaboration with Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs, and developed with him further phases of the score, recorded, among others, under Hubert Soudant for the Netherlands Broadcasting Company NCRV (Producer: Cornelis van Zwol) and recorded live under Samale himself, released on CD by Melodram Italia. The latter already included important new features – apart from massive changes in instrumentation, also for the first time the realization of a final Halleluja in D major. In 1990, Samale also started to collaborate with the Australian scholar John A. Phillips, who re-checked the philological findings by Samale, Mazzuca, and Cohrs, and correlated them with his own research on the manuscripts. He later published his findings in his thesis (University of Adelaide, 2002) as well as in some volumes within the Bruckner Complete Edtion. Of particular interest is his ‘Facsimile Edition of all Surviving Musical Autographs’ (=FE), which appeared in 1996 in the Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag, Vienna, making available all that survived from Bruckner’s own hand for this movement for the very first time to a large public. It serves as an indispensable reference source for the Conclusive Revised Edition (=CRE). Phillips also edited the next phase of the score, which appeared as a self-publication in 1992 in Adelaide and Bremen. It comprised the earlier results from 1983 until 1989, enriched with further new findings, later becoming known as the performing version by Samale-Phillips-Cohrs-Mazzuca, or SPCM version (= PV 1992).
This version, premiered 1991 by the Bruckner-Orchester Linz under Manfred Mayrhofer, was very successful – almost 40 performances in nine countries, by 17 orchestras under 14 conductors, including a Studio-CD-Production (Bruckner Orchester Linz, Kurt Eichhorn/Camerata Tokyo), a Live-CD-Recording (Neue Philharmonie Westphalen, Johannes Wildner/SonArte & Naxos), a Studio-Radio-Production (BBC) and three Live-Radio-Recordings (Netherlands Broadcasting Company, Hilversum; DeutschlandRadio, Cologne; Bayrischer Rundfunk, Munich) between 1991 and 2003. The Completed Performing Version gained additional support from the ‘Documentation of the Finale Fragment’ (=DFF), edited by John Phillips, first performed by the Wiener Symphoniker under Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Vienna, 1999), and repeated by the same conductor with the Wiener Philharmoniker, performed in Salzburg in 2002 and later issued on CD by RCA/BMG Classics. This production also contained for the first time the Critical New Edition of the first three movements, edited by Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs for the Bruckner Complete Edition.
However, both Samale and Cohrs have had the opportunity to conduct the Ninth and the Finale on various occasions since 1985; each performance brought new insights. Finally, in 2003 they became convinced that a revision of the entire score should be the next step, and Samale, as the initiator of this project, decided to prepare a new edition together with Cohrs. This was published 2005 as Study Score 444 of the Repertoire Explorer series at Musikproduktion Höflich, Munich. Unfortunately, some subsequent performances as well as new manuscript research undertaken by Cohrs in preparation of his dissertation (University of Hamburg, 2009) brought further new insights, requiring various corrections and revisions, to be included in a revised reprint (published in 2008). In this shape, the Finale received its première in Stockholm (8 & 9 November 2007; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding).
Nevertheless, further insights led to a long and fruitful discussion between Samale, Cohrs and Phillips. The motivation to prepare a ‘Conclusive Revised Edition’ we owe to Sir Simon Rattle who decided to perform and record the Ninth including the performing version with the Berlin Philharmonic, and who charmingly wrote to the editors: ”I must say at once what a stunningly impressive piece of work you have done. I have been looking at the sketches in a very on and off fashion for some years, and heard another nameless reconstruction that almost put me off for life … It is undeniably very strange music, but what you have done has a ring of truth, and it is an extraordinary experience. (…) I have programmed the complete symphony with the BPhil in February 2012, also touring .to New York. I feel increasingly convinced by your plastic surgery, and feel that it should be more widely heard and understood. This from a man who has abandoned the Mozart Requiem! Congratulations again on your astonishing journey.”
In fact, already the first two performances of the score under Friedemann Layer (with Het Brabants Orkest, Eindhoven and Breda, Netherlands, 15 and 16 October 2011), but in particular the performances of Rattle (with the German National Youth Orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonie, 23 October 2011, and the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin, Philharmonie, 7 to 9 February 2012, and New York, Carnegie Hall, 24 February 2012) as well as the recording (EMI 9 52969 2, May 2012) brought a fresh and widespread public attention. The more the authors felt obliged to publish then a score which should by all means be considered as their ‘Conclusive Revised Edition’ (unless hitherto unknown, lost score bifolios might turn up in future).
Such a protracted process of development and publication of a score may appear as being confusing to outsiders, however, it is not without precedent in History of Editions. An example taken from literature may serve as an illustration here. The scholar Stefan Schenk-Haupt demonstrated in his comprehensive study on A. Pope and T. S. Eliot (Dulness Never Dies, Europäische Hochschulschriften 399, Peter Lang, Frankfurt 2003) that The Dunciad by Alexander Pope – a book holding a key position in the 18th Century – should not only be understood as ‘work in progress’, being developed between 1728 and 1743 (i. e. ca 15 years), and in at least four working phases, but also has been published during this time in 15 editions corrected or authorized by Pope himself as well as in three further ‘pirate editions’, in all, 18 editions and 59 further reprints, and many of them being available simultaneously on the market. Similarly, the CRE of the Finale represents a ‘work in progress’, which could be considered to be finished only under the condition that all lost score bifolios had come back to light – apart from the fact that a ‘final’ evaluation of details was rendered impossible by Bruckner’s death anyway.
A collaboration of various authors and editors of much different talent and personality may demand much more time to come to conclusive results, including many errors, and new attempts, but it has certainly one advantage opposed to the work of a single author: already at the process of gestation, the collaboration creates a kind of ‘peer reviewing’, of mutual control of the results. The attempt to prepare a performing version of the Finale is also in some ways similar to making a movie: editorial decisions can be compared to the post-production decisions of the director. For the final cut, his earlier function is complete and instead he now has to put himself in the shoes of the audience. His selection and order of the filmed material determines the structure and also influences the effect of the movie on the audience. Sometimes it may happen that, years after the première, film directors decide to prepare a new »director’s cut« of a movie, for reasons which are known to everyone who likes movies; sometimes, new technology makes improvements possible; sometimes a director restores scenes he had to take out earlier on the demand of the producers – but sometimes he may also simply have come to new insights which would help to make the movie more convincing. (For this, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse now: Redux may be a good example.) And it is similarly so in the case of this performing version, which has been fine-tuned over a period of, in all, almost 30 years.
Two equally important approaches are needed to make this music performable – a) the sonic realisation of the surviving manuscripts themselves, as in the DFF edited by Phillips, suitable for workshop concerts, concert introductions or media presentation; as well as b) the completed performing version which would allow at least an approximate impression of the IXth Symphony as a four movement unity. While the DFF allows one to compare the surviving material with its completions in aural experience, listeners want to hear music in a concert, not philology. For this reason one cannot understand the motivation to conflate these two approaches. Philological questions should certainly be addressed in scholarly debate, but what is the point of producing a score which would necessarily still include speculative reconstructions of lost portions, while not making any use of the substantial sketch material that survives for the Coda? Apart from ignoring an audience which does not consist mainly of scholars, this approach could only replace the old legend of a three movement Ninth as being sufficiently ‘vollendet’ by a new myth of an ‘Unfinished’ – this time with an even more clearly audible break.
Other fragments should have taught us that reality may be totally different from legend anyway: Bach’s Kunst der Fuge, for instance, did not only survive in a complete, initial version (Christoph Wolff, Ed.; Peters 1986) much too rarely considered by performers – according to modern research, the famous, incomplete Quadruple Fugue was finished long before the composer’s death, its conclusion being lost on its way to the engraver, who finally decided himself to fill up the space reserved for the missing final section with other, fitting music of Bach. (In 2007, Ton Koopman even assumed that C. P. E. Bach did not include the ending of this fugue in order to maintain the fragmentary character of the work!) The performing version of Contrapunctus XIV by David Schulenberg (1992, the only one based on philological research so far) has even been included in the Bärenreiter Urtext Edition (Klaus Hofmann, Ed., Kassel 1998), but performers almost never dare to play such brave attempts at a completion, and people still prefer the abrupt stop – not to mention the fact that, as Butler pointed out, the Quadruple Fugue was possibly not even the final piece of the cycle; more likely, Bach intended to place the four canons at the end …
Some of the changes presented in this score are the result of new philological research and insight. Others merely represent variants and not necessarily ‘improvements’, but based on now almost 30 years of experience in examining, discussing, editing and performing this music. This also comprises the new elaboration of what were hitherto believed to be gaps within the Second Theme of the Exposition and within the Fugue (now fully established from the original sketches) as well as many refinements of instrumentation, phrasing, articulation, dynamics and tempi. Particularly in the Coda many changes have been undertaken in order to give a more coherent impression of these important final bars. From a fresh re-examination of the manuscripts it was possible to find some convincing new solutions, binding the music better together.
Philological research undertaken during the last decades had already revealed beyond doubt that Bruckner did not leave a pile of disconnected sketches for the Finale, but actually an emerging autograph score, which was most likely finished at least in its primary work phase almost half a year before Bruckner’s death. The surviving manuscripts constitute material from various working phases, which could be combined to a surprisingly complete extent; for a very few bars only no material survived at all. It was possible to cover such gaps not so much by using ‘free composition’, but merely a technique of ‘synthesization’ (similar to reconstruction techniques in forensic medicine and plastic surgery), in which the musical fabric of lost bars can be regained to a certain extent from deductive analysis, observing the material before and after the gap as well as Bruckner’s own, strictly ‘scientific’ approach of composing, hence to dispense with a free composition in the true sense of the expression.
Details of sources for, and for the gestation of the Finale have been provided by the various volumes which appeared in the Bruckner Complete Edition, in particular the FE and ‘Reconstruction of the Autograph Score’ (=RAS), edited by John Phillips. In order to fully understand the reconstruction procedures of this performing version, reference to these sources is indispensable. It may be also of help to consult the comprehensive Musik-Konzepte Vol. 120–22 on the Finale topic edited by Cohrs in 2003 (Bruckners Neunte im Fegefeuer der Rezeption; München, 2003; there in particular the ‘Introduction into the Surviving Sources of the Finale’, prepared by Cohrs and Phillips) and Cohrs’ dissertation Das Finale der IX. Sinfonie von Anton Bruckner (Wiener Bruckner Studien 3, Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag Wien, 2012), which includes a new ‘Presentation of the Fragment’ in score.
The layout of the CRE is based on that established by Cohrs in his New Critical Edition of the Ninth (see preface of that score, p. XXII), but was further modified here for practical reasons. Terminology was used according to the principles given in other volumes of the Bruckner Complete Edition (see in particular RAS, p. XXVff; FE, p. XIXff; DFF, p. XXVIIff). Further information was provided by Phillips in his Commentary on the DFF (see there, p. 85ff). Various tables will be given in the CRE, providing information on concordances, bar numbers, page numbers, source material being used, Tempi and formal analysis of the Finale. Due to the relative availability of the PV 1992 (for instance, in some public and university libraries) and its documentation in publications and CD productions it seemed to be indispensable that the Commentary on the CRE should not only address philological problems and explain the reconstruction and supplementation techniques being used therein, but also refer to the differences and changes in comparison with the PV 1992. The layout of the discussion of sources in the Commentary itself was mainly adapted from the Critical Report on the Ninth by Cohrs (see there, p. XVI). Since the sources for the Finale have been documented extremely well (thanks to the efforts of the Bruckner Complete Edition and Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag), it seemed to be unnecessary to make the layout more complicated by using different sizes of notes, dotted lines or indications in brackets. The interested user of this score should compare it with the FE and the RAS. In order to avoid too much information, the Commentary does not indicate the numerous additions (such as accents, articulation, phrasing, dynamics) sign by sign or note by note, but on the contrary those being left by Bruckner himself. Where it seemed appropriate, the notes provided here include extracts from earlier writings of Cohrs (Musik-Konzepte, CD-Booklets). Annotations have not been included in this practical edition, except indications of the corresponding bifolios from the autograph score.
Thanks are due in the first place to the sponsors and the Guttenberg Foundation, who made possible the typography of the 2005 edition, and to the typesetter Thomas Ohlendorf. Special thanks go to Ken Ward, Editor of The Bruckner Journal, and John F. Berky, the webmaster of, who both helped immensely with publishing materials and information on this performing version. We also wish to thank all those institutions, orchestras, conductors, libraries, scholars, and various other enthusiasts, who have supported this work since 1983, with financial, logistical or moral support, publicity, comments and suggestions, or have even made the distribution, performance or recording of the CPV possible. However, in particular we are indebted to Sir Simon Rattle and the commited players of the Berlin Philharmonic, who brought this score to new life in 2012. To express our gratitude appropriately, we dedicate this Conclusive Revised Edition to Sir Simon Rattle.

3 Flutes (wooden Viennese Flute)
3 Oboes (Viennese Oboe)
3 Clarinets in Bb (Viennese Clarinet; only in the Adagio alternating with Clar. in A)
3 Bassoons (Viennese Bassoon)

8 Horns in F – 7.8. alternating with Horns in Bβ low – (Viennese Horn)
2 Tenor-Tubas in Bb – alternating with 5.6. Hrn. –
2 Bass-Tubas in F –alternating with 7.8. Hrn. –
3 Trumpets in F (large Trumpet of double length)
Alto-, Tenor-, Bass-Trombone
(NB: Slide Trombones by Penzel were used in the Vienna Philharmonic since 1883)
Doublebass-Tuba (Viennese Bass Tuba in F with fourth valve)
3 Timpani (Viennese Pedal-Timpani with natural cover)


Read full preface > HERE

Score No.



Repertoire Explorer






210 x 297 mm