Analytical Tables 2017-04-04T10:27:29+00:00

Analytical Tables to accompany
The Bruckner Brand, Part 1

The Three-Theme Exposition

William Carragan
Contributing Editor, Anton Bruckner Collected Edition, Vienna
Vice-President, Bruckner Society of America

Explanation of the tables

In the timed analysis charts given here, “A” represents the first theme or theme group of the sonata-form exposition, and  “B” the second theme or theme group.  For the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, who uses three theme groups instead of the standard two, this terminology is expanded to “A”, “B”, and “C”, which he referred to as respectively the Einleitung, the Gesangsperiode, and the Schlußperiode. In any case, following the theme groups, “K” denotes the closing section of the exposition or codetta, whether or not it is seamlessly welded to the material preceding it. “A1” is the first of two main themes in the first theme group, while “A2” is a second, contrasting theme still within the first theme group, and usually in the tonic key. The same numeric sequence is used for all the theme groups, as in B1, B2, C1, and C2, also K1 and K2. It is the purpose of this paper to determine whether in the production of any composer previous to Bruckner’s work, a theme normally denoted as B2 could be considered to fulfill the function that the C group does in Bruckner’s music, thus making it a prototype for his methods.

Extending the terminology, “Ak” is the closing division of the A theme group if there is one, and “Ax” a transitional extension, present with many composers but not always with Bruckner. “An” is a new theme brought into the reprised A group, while “N” is a new theme in a development or coda. The lower-case “a” is an accompaniment or ostinato which introduces and precedes the melody of the A theme. In Bruckner there are a lot of those, and they need to be shown in order to make clear where the formal elements begin, and where the recognizable melodies begin a bit later. In strophic themes which display a regular phrase structure, it is often desirable to identify the different phrases of the melody as ф1, ф2 etc. Themes in introductions are notated as “m” or m1, m2 as needed, meaning “motive”; the classic A, B notation does not begin until the onset of the exposition. Most of the developments and codas are divided into sections indicated by §1, §2 etc., with references to the themes indicated as for example (A) or (B1), when they are prominent.

The tonalities are given explicitly, without respect to their structural or harmonic function. The notation “→ C major” means that the passage which begins at the specified measure moves more or less rapidly to the C major triad, and the notation “C major →” means that the C major tonality is established only for a brief time before a harmonic change. The notation “dom. of C major” means that the chord is G major, but at the same time sounds as if it is about to resolve onto C even if it eventually doesn’t. “German” augmented-sixth chords are notated as enharmonically-equivalent flatted seventh chords; pedants must realize that Bruckner the consummate technician occasionally did that too. The notation “6-3” refers to a chord with the mediant of the triad in the bass, and “6-4” means the dominant is in the bass. This is irrespective of what pitch is in the treble. The instruments given in parentheses are those most prominently heard at that moment, sometimes given just to reassure the listener, and sometimes because they are playing significant solos.

Most of the analyses are based on performances available on You Tube, and many of them also include analyses based on the measure numbers of the score. Although performances differ, varying all the way from Sergiu Celibidache to Frederick Prausnitz, if there are tempo alterations in the music, and there often are, the proportions will be given much more realistically by any performance than by the measure numbers. The analyses consist of determining the relative proportions of the main structural elements of introduction, exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda, which are given under the heading “str.” for structure, and establishing the individual positions of the various thematic elements within each structure, given under the heading “thm.” for theme. These structural and thematic analyses are carried out for both measure numbers and timed performances. The heading “score” gives the measure number, the heading “time” the counter reading in You Tube in minutes and seconds, and the heading “dec.” the decimalized time in minutes adjusted to begin at zero. With these resources, it should be possible for the listener to get a very clear idea of the manifold and fascinating treasures in this trove of wonderful music.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

Symphony no. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 (1800), first movement

Georg Solti, Chicago SO

B1 = 40%

After a slow introduction that begins by resolving to the subdominant, this energetic movement continues with a distinct quiet and nervous A1 and a boisterous A2. Then come a lyrical B1, a decisive B2, and a mysterious transition to a loud codetta based on A1 and ending in a strong cadence and a transition first to the repeat, then to the development. The B2 theme could be considered to be functionally like Bruckner’s C themes, but the codetta is traditional.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 2 in D Major, Op. 36 (1802), first movement

Claudio Abbado, Chamber O of Europe

B1 = 39%

The exposition is divided into three almost equal parts. The first is a quiet, hurrying A1 in the tonic D major, a loud A2 derived from it, and a transition on the dominant of A minor. The second is a B1 where a lyrical “question” has a strong “answer” and a strong B2 theme pits heavy chords against quiet more rapid chords. A mention of A1 leads to a third part, a series of codettas which reach the dominant A major repeatedly and ever more quickly. Beyond the mere classification of the theme groups, these procedures have little to do with Bruckner’s methods.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 55 “Eroica” (1804), first movement

Philippe Herreweghe, Radio Kamer Filharmonie

B1 = 34%

This is the work most frequently cited as embodying a precursor to Bruckner’s three-theme exposition. But the B2 theme, which begins at 69%, is of a tenderer and more lyrical character than the B1 theme, and is separated from it by the development of a highly rhythmical and turbulent idea at 51%. These three themes constitute a distinctly un-Brucknerian layout, and the codetta grows organically out of the previous theme at 81%. But the sheer size of this enormous exposition could easily have suggested to Bruckner that he could work on the same scale. Again, it is widely said that Bruckner looked to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as his model, particularly as to the natures of his slow movements and scherzos, even to the identical rhythms of the A theme of the first movement of his Eighth with that of the A2 theme of the first movement of the Beethoven Ninth. Be that as it may, if the inspiration for the three-theme exposition came from Beethoven, it came from the Third, not the Ninth where the B1 theme of the first movement is at an exact 50%.

Analysis
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Leonore Overture no. 2 (1805)

Herbert Blomstedt, Orchestre de Paris

B1 = 52%

Analysis
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Symphony no. 4 in B Flat Major, Op. 60 (1806), first movement

Tamáš Netopil, London Philharmonic Orchestra

B1 = 41%

After the long introduction, a rather extensive A-theme group moves the onset of the B theme to a later position than the beginning of the B theme group of the Eroica. But the structure of the B theme, and the lyrical, then grand codetta melody, place this exciting movement out of comparability with Bruckner’s structures.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 4 in B Flat Major, Op. 60 (1806), finale

Tamáš Netopil, London Philharmonic Orchestra

B1 = 35%

The A2 theme swiftly moves to the early B1 theme, articulated by the oboe and answered by the flute. The place of the B2 theme is taken by a dissonant fortissimo tremolando chord, but the welded codetta in the dominant quickly comes and resolves the exposition in a sudden decrescendo.

Analysis
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Leonore Overture no. 3 (1806)

Claudio Abbado, VPO

B1 = 55%

Analysis
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Symphony no. 8 in F Major, Op. 93 (1812), first movement

B1 =36%

Here Beethoven seems in his second-last symphony to have reverted to the layout of the Eroica. But only seven years separate the two, and it would be thirteen more years before there would be another symphony. The Schubertian B1 is followed by a very different B2, and a distinctive semi-detached codetta which would in turn be Brucknerian if it did not conclude in a very decisive cadence.

Analysis
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Symphonie No 9, George Solti

Symphony no. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 (1824), first movement

Georg Solti, London Philharmonic Orchestra

B1 = 50%

Analysis
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Hector Berlioz (1803–1869)

Overture “Les francs-juges” (1826)

Charles Dutoit, Montréal SO

B1 = 41%

There is a slow, menacing introduction, suggesting the sinister methods of the sealed Vehmic courts of Westphalia where anyone could be accused of any crime in secret, and the only punishment was death. An agitated allegro follows and a jaunty march-like B theme that speaks of joyful escape. The B theme appears in full in the development, but in the recapitulation, only the accompaniment is heard at first. Perhaps the listener’s memory is supposed to add the melody. At any rate, the music grows in infectious excitement, and finally the theme bursts out canonically and there is a triumphant and giddy conclusion. There is not a hint of Bruckner’s form here, but he surely would have approved. The next entry in Berlioz’s œuvre is Waverley, also described here, which has a somewhat more compact and fluid realization of sonata form.

Analysis
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Overture “Waverley” (1828)

Charles Dutoit, Montréal SO

B1 = 34%

Over the years Sir Walter Scott’s writings have served as inspiration for many pieces of music. This one is based on Waverley, the first in a long and unrelated series of Waverley Novels, i.e. novels written by the at-first-unnamed author of Waverley. Though the hero Sir Edward Waverley is an English soldier, the scene is laid in Lowland and Highland Scotland at the time of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Berlioz’s curious concert overture sets the martial scene with great enthusiasm rather than telling the wistful and tragic story. The overture begins with a slow and meditative introduction which the great shouts of the A theme interrupt, leading to the march-like B theme with an oom-pah bass. The B theme is repeated with a shimmering decoration, and brassy chords constitute a possible C theme. But there is no codetta; the music leads straight to an abbreviated recapitulation and a brilliant coda.

Analysis
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Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 (1830), first movement

John Eliot Gardiner, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

B = 66%

Analysis
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Overture “King Lear” (1831)

Alexander Gibson, Royal Scottish National Orchestra (introduction)
Colin Davis, London SO (E.D.R.C.)

B1 = 38%

This intriguing, exciting, seldom-encountered overture seems to be, like Liszt’s tone-poem “Tasso”, a portrait of combined nobility and madness. Its long introduction in recitative style is followed by an allegro section which is also narrative in character, but which additionally exhibits a tightly-constructed sonata form in which there is a distinct, lyrical B2 sandwiched between two statements of B1 in both exposition and recapitulation.

Analysis
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Overture “Le carnaval romain” (1844)

Charles Dutoit, Montréal SO

B =57%

Analysis
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Franz Berwald (1796–1868)

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Singulière, Okko Kamu

Symphony no. 3 in C Major (1845) “Singulière”, first movement

Okko Kamu, Helsingborgs SO

B1 = 67%

Analysis
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Singulière, Okko Kamu

Symphony no. 3 in C Major (1845) “Singulière”, finale

Okko Kamu, Helsingborgs SO

B1 = 22%

Analysis
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Georges Bizet (1838–1875)

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Roma, Roberto Benzi

Symphonie “Roma” (1871), first movement

Roberto Benzi, Orchestre de Bordeaux-Aquitaine
I: A hunt in the valley of Ostia

B = 62%

Analysis
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Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)

Symphony no. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1876), first movement

B1 = 55%

The Brahms First Symphony first-movement repeat is necessary to maintain the balance of the sections of the movement. The repeat seems shocking, because is a sudden heading-back to C minor from the E flat minor with which the exposition concludes. But in that return it first passes through a C-diminished chord and a German sixth before the double dominant (D major 7), the simple dominant (G major 7), and the tonic (C minor). Thus it brings out the character of the first few measures of the exposition which contain a sort of proto-theme of rising notes and harmonic fluidity that lead to the main melody a few measures later. Think of the exposition beginning with the drum beat, not the slightly later melody; the drum beat is where the fast tempo starts after the slow introduction. Then when the development comes, the music does not return to C diminished, but in a true shock to B major. That shock is not properly appreciated unless the repeat has already been taken with its own initial shock. Another reason: in the exposition, there is a really stern and prominent C-minor melody accompanied by heavy chords (A3 in the table), which begins the transition to the second theme group which is in E flat major. That idea is not brought back in the first-movement recapitulation, but Brahms does bring it back in rapid, gleeful C major in the coda of the finale right after the big chorale. So it’s best to get the idea firmly in the minds of the listeners at first, so it will be appreciated at the end. I know this sounds technical, but I’m trying to describe in mere words the logic heard musically by the listener, and that’s always hard. There will soon be a link to a performance here. This piece is after all the quintessential non-Bruckner! I think we listeners got used to players not repeating expositions in the era of 78s, which is when I got started, and we never fully got over it. But at the Marlboro festival, one of our very best musical series, there is a strict rule: all repeats are taken. Following that rule never does any harm.

There is also Snyder’s Rule: exposition repeats never occur in movements where the development begins just like the exposition. Thus there is no repeat in the finale of the Brahms First, nor indeed in the first movement of the Beethoven Ninth.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98 (1885), first movement

B1 = 36%

The A theme, beginning without introduction, soon leads to a martial unison and a surprisingly Brucknerian B1 of stern grandeur. A warm and lyrical B2 eventually appears, and a codetta based on the martial idea that introduced B1 with a calm ending to the exposition. It is almost as if Bruckner had reversed the roles of his B and C themes. Any Bruckner fan must also love Brahms.

Analysis
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Max Bruch (1838–1920)

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Symphony No 1, James Conlon

Symphony no. 1 in E flat Major (1868), first movement

James Conlon, Cologne Philharmonic

B = 69%

Analysis
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Symphony No 1, James Conlon

Symphony no. 1 in E flat Major (1868), finale


James Conlon, Cologne Philharmonic

B0 = 55%

Analysis
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Anton Bruckner (1824–1896)

Symphony in F Minor (1863), first movement

Gerd Schaller, Philharmonie Festiva (2015)

B1 = 38%

The “Study Symphony” is worth every second spent listening to it, playing it, and conducting it. The loud and decisive theme following B1 leads to a quiet but active passage in which the oboe plays a melody which always reminds me of Mendelssohn’s “O for the wings of a dove.” We definitely have a C theme and detached codetta here; Bruckner’s special genius has already taken flight.

Analysis
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Symphony in F Minor (1863), finale

Gerd Schaller, Philharmonie Festiva (2015)

B1 = 38%

In the finale, we have the same situation, with the three-theme layout in play and the detached codetta being a mini-chorale. Thus, though at some distance, the Fifth Symphony is already in view. This symphony, beyond doubt worthy of being performed and recorded with the others, is closely linked to the First, as heard in many places, particularly in the coda of the finale. The other un-numbered symphony, the D minor, or “Nullte” written six years after this and three years after the First, is much closer in style to the later Vienna symphonies.

Analysis
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Overture in G Minor (1863)

Louis Lohraseb, Amadeus Orchestra (Troy, N.Y. 2015)

B1 = 32%

This serious and lovely composition includes one of only four movements which the composer began with a slow introduction. The proportions of the rest of the movement are symphonic in the usual way, and display the three-theme exposition that he had initiated with the F minor symphony composed for Otto Kitzler. Upon its submission, Kitzler asked him to change the ending, which was perhaps a bit giddy at first, but that change, which is what we nearly always hear now, did not affect the exposition. For this study I made calculations using the wonderful performance conducted by Louis Lohraseb in Troy, New York in 2015. His appropriately slow tempo for the B theme is part of the reason for its early proportional occurrence.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 1 in C Minor (original Linz version of 1866), first movement

Georg Tintner, Royal Scottish National O (1998)

B = 36%

For the purposes of this paper, the premiere version of this symphony was analyzed in an edition I prepared from the entries in Haas’s critical report which pertain to the orchestral parts used in that performance. Like the other five outer movements among the first three symphonies Bruckner wrote, there is a clear and distinct C theme. But the defining criterion of the three-theme exposition, the existence of a detached codetta, cannot be applied here. Shortly after the C theme the mood and tempo suddenly change, and there is a huge outburst with a wide-leaping theme in the trombones and a flurrying accompaniment in the strings. A cadence is made in the relative major, but the flurrying continues partway into the development, eventually giving way to treatment of the previous themes before the recapitulation. Technically, it is not possible to promise that this movement is in Bruckner’s form, but everything but this anomalous passage suggests that it is. Perhaps that is why Bruckner referred to this symphony as “the saucy housemaid” and “the broom that sweeps clean.”

Analysis
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Symphony no. 1 in C minor (original Linz version of 1866), finale

Georg Tintner, Royal Scottish National O (1998)

B = 42%

Unlike the first movement of this composition, the finale of the second symphony Bruckner wrote has a vast and polymict development, full of episodes that have little to do with each other except that they sound good together and are all related in one way or another to the themes of the exposition. The true first version, that of 1866 premiered in 1868, now preserved in the unaltered orchestral parts copied for the premiere by Franz Schimatschek, has fuller expressions of each of these episodes. That is the version I prepared at the request of Georg Tintner, which was recorded by him and then over a decade later by Gerd Schaller. The detached and quiet codetta leads into a similar passage beginning the development and just as in the Study Symphony, which anticipates it in many ways, Bruckner’s mature concept of the structure of the exposition is already being used.

Analysis
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Symphony in D minor “Nullte” (1869), first movement

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Nippon Yomiuri SO

B1 = 33%

The seven symphonic movements from the three symphonies and overture of Bruckner’s Linz period all have fairly early B themes, but not as early as most of the Vienna period expositions; in the database fully eleven of the Vienna movements, including the first movement of the Quintet, have earlier-occurring B themes than this symphony, thus providing more room for the C theme and the codetta. In this movement of the so-called “Nullte” (annulierte) symphony there is a distinct energetic theme after B, not sharing any of its lyrical character, and it is in turn followed by a quiet string chorale serving as a detached codetta, to be echoed in the first measures of the development by the winds. We should have no hesitation in calling the energetic, rhythmic idea a true C theme, presented in the manner of the late symphonies. And it is too bad that people condescendingly call this highly effective and well-thought-out piece “Symphony no. 0.”

Analysis
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Symphony in D minor “Nullte” (1869), finale

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Nippon Yomiuri SO

B = 39%

The slow and pensive introduction, the only one he wrote except for those in the Overture and the Fifth Symphony, has an echo in the gentle B theme in C major, while the declamatory C theme in the relative major (F) is closely related to the A theme. The codetta also begins in the relative major, but very unusually cadences in the dominant major (A). A passage in the subsidiary stack of sketches for the finale of the Ninth led me to use this same trick in my completion. It is debatable, but it does make sense.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 1 in C Minor (revised Linz version of 1877), first movement

Georg Ludwig Jochum, RIAS SO Berlin

B = 41%

Analysis
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Leopold Damrosch (1832–1885)

Symphony in A Major (1878), first movement

Christopher Russell, Azusa Pacific University SO

B = 64%

Analysis
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Symphony in A Major (1878), finale

Christopher Russell, Azusa Pacific University SO

B = 46%

Analysis
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Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904)

Symphony no. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 “From the New World” (1893), first movement

Joshua Weilerstein, Danish RSO

B = 45%

Listen to this very exciting performance led by the youngest member (so far) of a remarkable musical family, and while listening appreciate the exposition repeat which helps a lot to give this movement its proper symphonic weight.

Analysis

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Anton Eberl (1765–1807)

Symphony in E flat Major (1805), first movement

Werner Ehrhardt, Concerto Köln

B1 = 40%

This symphony received its premiere in the same concert in 1805 at which Beethoven’s “Eroica” was first performed. It is said that critics preferred it, perhaps because it is only half an hour long with exposition repeats. But in fact Eberl was a very highly-regarded composer at the time, having been a student of Mozart and having gone on to an active career. Indeed some of his works were sold as being by Mozart, even during Mozart’s lifetime. The first movement of the Eberl symphony is full of bright invention, with a long and varied second theme group preceded by a Brucknerian general rest and followed by a strong un-Brucknerian codetta and a stormy development continuing into the substantially developed recapitulation and a scintillating concluding fanfare.

Analysis
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Symphony in E flat Major (1805), finale

Werner Ehrhardt, Concerto Köln

B1 = 43%

This surprising work continues with a funeral march beginning in C minor (!), and a scherzo with a puckish trio which it almost seems that Richard Strauss must have heard. The finale, like that of his mentor’s last symphony, begins with a four-note motto which turns up in the second theme group as well and is played four times in the first ending leading to the exposition repeat and in several other locations. Again the second subject is introduced by a general rest; again the developmental technique extends into the recapitulation; again there is a grand fanfare at the end, but the two movements are very different. Those who hear this symphony might not agree with the early critics, but they would surely enjoy it for what it is, a fluently and elegantly crafted work from an almost completely unknown but most interesting voice.

Analysis
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Louise Farrenc (1804–1875)

Symphony no. 3 in G Minor (1847), first movement

Stefan Sanderling, Orchestre de Bretagne

B1 = 35%

Louise Dumont Farrenc studied with Moscheles, Hummel, and Reicha, and was known as a pianist and composer of piano solos and chamber works involving piano. She did not write an opera, and that may be the reason her large-scale works did not gain and retain fame, but Fétis merely blamed that on the nature of the music world at that time. However, this symphony shows that her work in larger forms is very competitive. In the first movement, there is a short introduction leading to the tonic G minor and the A1 theme begins promptly with considerable vigor, continued by a distinct but similarly energetic A2. The B1 theme features various pairs of winds playing in thirds, and the B2 theme returns with the codetta in the earlier robust texture. But there is a quiet echo of the codetta, which leads to either the exposition repeat or the development. That quiet echo reminds one of the reflective Bruckner codettas. This interesting symphony would be popular on concert programs if people had the opportunity to hear it.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 3 in G Minor (1847), finale

Stefan Sanderling, Orchestre de Bretagne

B = 48%

Analysis
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Johann von Herbeck (1831–1877)

Symphony no. 4 in D Minor (1877), first and second movements

Martin Haselböck, Hamburg SO
Praeludium. Andante con moto ma maestoso

Analysis
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Symphony no. 4 in D Minor (1877), third movement

Martin Haselböck, Hamburg SO
Scherzo. Allegro moderato grazioso, quasi Allegretto

Analysis
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Symphony no. 4 in D Minor (1877), finale

Martin Haselböck, Hamburg SO
Finale. Allegro maestoso, molto moderato

Analysis
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Salomon Jadassohn (1831–1902)

Symphony no. 3 in D Minor, Op. 50 (1876), first movement

Howard Griffiths, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt
I: Allegro appassionato

B1 = 49%

Analysis
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Symphony no. 3 in D Minor, Op. 50 (1876), finale

Howard Griffiths, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt
IV: Allegro fiero, non troppo vivace

B1 = 35%

Jadassohn, a close friend of Reinecke and similarly conservative in outlook, was particularly known as a teacher; my mother studied fugue from his text. The bright major-mode finale of this symphony in D minor runs through a series of strongly declarative strutting themes (Allegro fiero, non troppo vivace) with considerable rhythmic and textural variety, but never stopping the onward march. Which of these themes should be called B1, B2, C, or K is somewhat debatable, but the narrative is continuous and the harmonic transitions are occasionally quite surprising.

Analysis
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Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda (1801–1866)

Symphony no. 7 in G Minor (1841), first movement

Christoph Spering, Das Neue Orchester

B1 = 64%

Analysis
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Symphony no. 7 in G Minor (1841), finale

Christoph Spering, Das Neue Orchester

B1 = 58%

Analysis
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Overture no. 16 in A Minor (1861)

Christoph Spering, Das Neue Orchester

B1 = 68%

Analysis
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Overture no. 17 in F Minor, Op. 242 (1864)

Michael Alexander Willens, Die Kölner Akademie

B = 59%

Analysis
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Franz Lachner (1803–1890)

Symphony no. 8 in G Minor, Op. 100 (1851), first movement

Paul Robinson, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra

B = 40%

This grand and serious symphony in G minor opens with a long introduction and proceeds to a standard exposition with a lyrical B theme and a partially-detached codetta that begins relatively quietly and moves to a firm and decisive cadence in the relative major, B flat. In that way it is an enlargement of classic structures shared by many other symphonies in this study. However large its scale is, it embodies a traditional ideal that was already old when Lachner and Franz Schubert were close friends many years earlier, and seems not to look forward to the methods of Anton Bruckner. But its rather heavy-handed gestures should not keep it out of the concert hall.

Analysis
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Symphony no. 8 in G Minor, Op. 100 (1851), finale

Paul Robinson, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra

B1 = 50%

Analysis
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Adolf Fredrik Lindblad (1801–1878)

Symphony no 2 in D Major (1855), first movement

Stig Rybrand, Norrköping SO

B = 57%

Analysis
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Symphony no 2 in D Major (1855), finale

Stig Rybrand, Norrköping SO

B1 = 44%

Analysis
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Franz Liszt (1811–1886)

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Tasso, Kurt Masur

Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo (1849)

Kurt Masur, LGO

B1 = 36%

This work is one of three of Liszt’s tone poems said by Derek Watson (Liszt, 1989, p. 267) to have elements of sonata form. The others are Les Préludes with its reversed recapitulation and Prometheus with a regular recapitulation, along with the first movement of the Faust Symphony, also in this study. To these three Richard Kaplan (“Sonata Form in the Orchestral Works of Liszt”, Nineteenth Century Music, 1984) adds Orpheus, also with a regular recapitulation. In Tasso the first theme group depicts the poet Torquato Tasso’s brooding and madness, while the second theme group quotes a gondolier’s melody which exactly fits the opening lines of his masterwork, Gerusalemme liberata. After completing the tone poem in 1849, Liszt tucked a development into the form in 1854, describing the poet’s happy days and imprisonment at the court of Ferrara. The final “trionfo” section which acts as an extended coda represents his ultimate recognition as one of the greatest Italian poets, while skillfully incorporating more of his madness into the C major, thus appalling the theorists and delighting the revolutionaries. August Stradal, Liszt’s student and the arranger of Bruckner’s symphonies for piano, claims (“Erinnerungen aus Bruckners letzter Zeit,” in Zeitschrift für Musik 99, November 1932, page 973) that Bruckner did indeed hear this work, and seems to have appreciated it.

Analysis
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Prometheus, Claudio Abbado

Prometheus (1850)

Claudio Abbado, BPO; Stanislav Macura, Czech PO

B = 47%

Analysis
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Les Préludes, Georg Solti

Les Préludes (1854)

Georg Solti, LPO

B = 65%

Analysis
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A Faust Symphony (1857), first movement

Georg Solti, Chicago SO

B = 52%

Analysis
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Carl Loewe (1796–1869)

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Symphony No 2, Golo Berg

Symphony no. 2 in E Minor (1832), first movement

Golo Berg, Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau

B1 = 45%

Analysis
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Symphony No 2, Golo Berg

Symphony no. 2 in E Minor (1832), finale

Golo Berg, Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau

B = 43%

This obscure but ingratiating symphony by the composer of so many well-known balladen (“Des Glockentürmers Töchterlein,” “Archibald Douglas,” “Tom der Reimer”) was performed for the first time in 1834, but then lay completely neglected for 170 years until it was heard for the second time in 2004. The finale is in rondo-sonata form, and begins with a syncopated A theme in the strings. Exceptionally the B theme, related to the first few notes of the A theme, begins in the tonic, but after eight measures it moves directly to the relative major and develops into a stirring march. There is no codetta; the A theme returns as at the beginning, but gives way to a fugato and a lyrical development which leads to the recapitulation of the A theme in the major with an organ-like accompaniment. That in turn is greatly abbreviated, and the horns intone the B theme in noble augmentation. This time the march builds and builds at great length until it passes almost imperceptibly into a triumphant and very noisy coda. If one did not know otherwise, a link could easily be constructed between this music and the marches in the first Bruch symphony, the Lenore symphony of Raff, and the third and seventh symphonies of Mahler, not to mention the third movement of Chaikovsky’s last symphony. Audiences would love it.

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Emilie Mayer (1812–1883)

Symphony no. 7 in F Minor (1856), first movement

Jürgen Bruns, O Kammersymphonie Berlin

B1 = 58%

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Symphony no. 7 in F Minor (1856), finale

Jürgen Bruns, O Kammersymphonie Berlin

B1 = 44%

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Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)

Symphony no. 1 in C Minor (1825), first movement

Claudio Abbado, London SO

B1 = 26%

This composer’s music, always impeccably crafted, had an enormous impact on the musical scene continuing for many years after his death. His stirring and expertly-composed first symphony, written when the composer was 16, used to be heard much more frequently than today. It certainly had a strong effect on Bruckner, who placed an extended pizzicato section just before the coda of the finale of his own Second, also in C minor, which is clearly inspired by the B1 theme of the finale of this Mendelssohn symphony. The codetta, however, is here a final outgrowth of the B2 theme, as is usual in these symphonies, and serves as a triumphant conclusion of the exposition in a new tonality. Bruckner, in designing his three-theme expositions, by contrast uses a codetta lying outside all three themes as a method of quietly and temporarily resolving the accumulated emotional tension before proceeding to the development and what follows it.

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Symphony no. 1 in C Minor (1825), finale

Claudio Abbado, London SO

B1 = 46%

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Symphony no. 3 in A Minor, “Scottish” (1842), first movement

John Eliot Gardiner, London SO

B1 = 43%

This remarkable piece, firmly in the repertory, was first conceived upon the composer’s journey to the tartan-mad Scotland in 1829. Eventually brought to fruition in 1842, it is his longest purely instrumental symphony, and although in it Mendelssohn uses traditional forms, it is strongly descriptive. The first movement seems to portray the misty and windy Scottish landscape in the manner of the Hebrides overture, and the piper in me sees in the second, third, and fourth movements respectively a strathspey with the “Scotch snap”, a slow tragic march, and a reel, marked Allegro guerriero concluding with a joyous 6/8 march. My bagpipe teacher once said, “Perhaps the fiddles have it over us with the strathspey, but in the reel we hold our own.” The dying away at the end of the recapitulation slightly resembles a Bruckner codetta, but the brilliant and surging A-major coda that follows is like nothing anyone else ever wrote. Bruch also used that unusual tempo designation in both the march-finale of his first symphony (in this study) and in the “Scottish Fantasy” for violin and orchestra. It seems that Mendelssohn and Bruch, as well as Loewe and Berlioz, were all under the potent spell of the Knight of Abbotsford.

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Symphony no. 3 in A Minor, “Scottish” (1842), finale

John Eliot Gardiner, London SO
Finale (Reel): Allegro guerriero

B = 44%

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George Onslow (1784–1853)

Symphony no. 4 in G Major (1846), first movement

Johannes Goritzki, Norddeutscher Rundfunk Radio Philharmonie Hannover

B = 48%

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Symphony no. 4 in G Major (1846), finale

Johannes Goritzki, Norddeutscher Rundfunk Radio Philharmonie Hannover
Finale “Le coup de vent” Souvenir du Rhin

B = 44%

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Joachim Raff (1822–1882)

Symphony no. 1 in D Major, Op. 96, “An das Vaterland” (1861), first movement

Samuel Friedmann, Rhenish PO

B1 = 52%

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Carl Reinecke (1824–1910)

Symphony no. 1 in A Major, Op. 79 (1858), first movement

Alfred Walter, Rhenish PO

B1 = 27%

The charmingly intricate first movement of this symphony in A major begins with a slow introduction and has an early B1 theme in C sharp minor making ample room for a B2 theme and welded codetta in E major. Those who have heard of him only through his Undine sonata played in conservatory by every flutist, or the lovely trio in A minor for oboe, horn, and piano, should sample this piece, which in its kindly cheer and eloquent emotionality belies its composer’s reputation as a stodgy academician.

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Symphony no. 1 in A Major, Op. 79 (1858), finale

Alfred Walter, Rhenish PO

B = 50%

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Johann Rufinatscha (1812–1893)

Symphony no. 5 (4) in B Minor, first movement

Edgar Seipenbusch, Capella Istropolitana

B1 = 58%

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Symphony no. 5 (4) in B Minor, finale

Edgar Seipenbusch, Capella Istropolitana

B = 60%

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Symphony no. 6(5) in D major (1865), first movement

Gianandrea Noseda, BBC Philharmonic

B1 = 40%

Rufinatscha was born in 1812 in the South Tyrol, and received musical training in Innsbruck. Before 1840 he moved to Vienna, where he had a long career devoted largely to teaching. However, he also took time to write chamber music, music for the piano, concert overtures, and six (or perhaps five surviving) symphonies. The nomenclature used here for his symphonies is that of the provincial museum in Innsbruck where Rufinatscha’s works are preserved and where many of them have been recorded. In the first movement of this symphony in the grand manner, a stately beginning gives way to romance and mystery (Largo, Adagio, Andante); this is the commencement of a long story, a great epic; the brasses bring a hint of dark menace. Suddenly among these deep ruminations a dotted rhythm is heard, and then to the listener’s surprise, the dotted theme achieves new energy (Allegro con fuoco) and takes on the character of the cheerful first subject of a large sonata form. Fragments of the introduction expand the new landscape, and a repeated downward-leaping figure leads quickly to a lyrical B1 intoned in the woodwinds and answered by the strings. Then a striking new idea emerges as B2, a melody at first tender and yearning, and then upon two repetitions in descending ranges with gradually more complex and enriching countermelodies, becoming vigorous and striding. The codetta tends toward the dominant A major rather than beginning in it, and there are still harmonic excursions before the music leads quietly either to the exposition repeat or the development. Rufinatscha’s way of moving from theme to theme is very subtle; he tends to interleave his entrances so that one is in a new section without knowing how that was achieved. This makes analysis difficult. Commentators have suggested that Rufinatscha is the missing link between Schubert and Bruckner, but those composers never leave you in any doubt where you are, whereas Rufinatscha seems to take delight in keeping listeners on their toes. In this respect he suggests Elgar more than Bruckner, the Elgar who puts you in the thick of things within seconds. Whatever may be its tendencies, which after all are the product of hindsight, this symphony, nearly an hour long, is an amazing contribution from a unique source.

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Symphony no. 6(5) in D major (1865), finale


Gianandrea Noseda, BBC Philharmonic

B1 = 35%

The finale of the Sixth begins with a strong, vigorous A1 and a lyrical A2 which moves toward the submediant B minor, but the early B1 theme develops on the dominant A major, in a passage of some harmonic ambiguity. Eventually the B2 theme sounds out in a rhythmic brass-reinforced chorale, positioned in a majestic and decisive A major, but the codetta is not achieved yet; there is a passage in F sharp minor that leads to a mysterious organ point on the dominant, and then finally comes the short closing group with a decrescendo that leads either back to the beginning or on to the development. An interesting feature is the use of alternate basic pulses, either 4/4 or 6/4, to underpin the various sections. There is as much variety in this exposition as in that of the entertaining finale of Schubert’s “Little C Major”, described below, but instead of that movement’s party-like atmosphere, we have here a formal presentation of monumental, classic grandeur. Codas are outside the field of this paper, but the coda of this movement is unique among all described here; its first section, più mosso, presents the four-note motto of the finale of Mozart’s Jupiter symphony, and section 2 brings back with it the majestic, yearning, striding B2 of the first movement, played three times just as it was there. A third section returns to the A1 of the finale for a glorious conclusion. Listen to it, listen to it.

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Franz Schubert (1797–1828)

Symphony no. 6 in C major, D. 589 (1817), finale

Herbert Blomstedt, Staatskapelle Dresden
Finale: Allegro moderato

B1 = 37%

Most of Schubert’s work up to 1821 was designed for private performance in the musical circles of which he was a much-appreciated member. This symphony, the “little C major”, is one of the most ambitious products of those years, and its substantial sonatina-form finale produces a dizzying array of unrelated themes which give the impression of a street fair. The first of these melodies to depart from the tonic begins abruptly with a drunken and delirious theme in A flat, and the organ-grinder goes on as long as he can until formal restrictions (or the riot police) force him to descend to the stable dominant, G major, and an eventual welded codetta. Other uses by Schubert of this form, which has possibilities quite different from the standard sonata form, can be found in the finale of the “Trout” Quintet, discussed below, and in the first movement of the fully-sketched Symphony no. 7 in E of 1821.

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Trout, L’Archibudelli

“Trout” Quintet in A Major, D. 644 (1819), finale

L’Archibudelli, Jos van Immerseel

B1 = 39% 

On a summer visit to Steyr in Upper Austria, which is also an important Bruckner location, Schubert received a commission from the local iron baron and amateur cellist Sylvester Paumgartner to write a quintet which had to be for violin, viola, cello, contrabass, and piano, and which had to have reference to Schubert’s already-famous song about how a fisherman was able to catch an elusive trout by muddying the waters so that the fish could not see the hook before taking it. The finale is in sonatina form of a particularly simple type, in which the exposition with its early B1 theme is made to conclude in the subdominant rather than the customary dominant, so that it could be simply duplicated a fifth higher as the recapitulation, beginning in the dominant and naturally concluding in the tonic. It is very clever and makes a wonderful conclusion to this charming work, but Bruckner never would have done anything like that.

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Symphony no. 7 in E major, D. 729 (1821), first movement

Orchestration by Brian Newbould
Neville Marriner, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields

B = 50% 

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Symphony no. 7 in E major, D. 729 (1821), finale Allegro giusto

Orchestration by Brian Newbould
Neville Marriner, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields

B = 40% 

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Symphony no. 8 in B minor, D. 759 (1823), first movement

Gerd Schaller, Philharmonie Festiva

B1 = 39% 

The opening movement of the B minor symphony has very similar proportions to the putative finale, which is described below, and the subtle quotation of the rhythm of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony can be heard here and in every other movement of the completed symphony. The B theme group has the famous melody alternating with strange and menacing tremolando chords. The elements cannot be separated into B and C themes, but they sound Brucknerian, and the codetta theme, directly derived from the famous melody in canon, is detached as Bruckner would have done it. Great interest should be placed by Brucknerians in this movement, not only because it received its world premiere in the same year as the composition of Bruckner’s First Symphony (not his first symphony), under the leadership of his mentor and close friend Johann Herbeck.

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Symphony no. 8 in B minor, D. 759 (1823), finale

Completed by William Carragan
Gerd Schaller, Philharmonie Festiva

B1 = 38% 

It is widely accepted that the sonata-form first entr’acte from the incidental music to Chezy’s lost potboiler Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern is at least a relic of the planned finale of the B minor symphony, although it is too short to serve as the whole finale by itself. Thus in my completion of that symphony, I added another selection from the Rosamunde set as a slow introduction, fashioned an exposition repeat, and slightly extended the conclusion. I did not change the exposition, however, and thus timings of the exposition can legitimately be admitted to this study. The exposition contains a bewildering array of themes, but what is certain in the fog is that the codetta leads to a climax, making it not according to Bruckner’s practice. All four movements of the completed work contain abundant rhythmic references to the four-note motto of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony; Schubert, once in denial, had by that time come to admit that Beethoven was on the right track.

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Grand Duo I, Claudio Abbado

Grand Duo (“Gastein Symphony”), D. 812 (1824), first movement

Orchestrated by Joseph Joachim
Claudio Abbado, Chamber Orchestra of Europe

B1 = 41% 

This monumental sonata for piano duet, completed shortly after the abandonment of the B minor symphony, has been regarded for a long time as a symphony manqué. It was orchestrated at Brahms’s suggestion by Joseph Joachim, and then by the Bruckner editor Fritz Oeser and by Raymond Leppard and doubtless by others, though it is not as unidiomatic for the piano as Tovey says it is. The first movement has a doubled A theme and a tripartite B theme, concluding with a loud codetta also derived from the B theme as in the first movement of the B minor symphony. The internal relationships, the welded B-theme codetta, and the exposition repeat are all quite removed from Bruckner’s methods.

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Grand Duo (“Gastein Symphony”), D. 812, finale

Orchestrated by Joseph Joachim
Claudio Abbado, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Finale: Allegro vivace

B = 47% 

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Symphony no. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (1826), first movement

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, VPO

B1 = 29% 

This enormous composition was formerly thought to have been completed in Schubert’s last year along with three very long piano sonatas, three collections of piano pieces, the massive cello quintet, and countless songs; scholars now assign it to a time two years earlier which makes a bit more sense. The first-movement B1 theme in E minor at 29% is followed by a very unusual B2 theme beginning in E flat at 65% featuring the trombones as melody instruments. The trombone passage in turn grows continuously into a well-defined series of codettas in G major initiating at 85%. Like Beethoven’s “Sinfonia eroica”, described above, this movement is not composed according to Bruckner’s methods, but it is certainly conceived according to his scale of operation, and could reasonably be considered to be one of his inspirations if it can be shown that he knew of it.

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Symphony no. 9 in C Major, D. 944 (1826), finale

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, VPO
Finale: Allegro vivace

B = 44% 

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Piano Trio no. 2 in E flat Major, D. 944 (1827), first movement

Horszowski Trio

B1 = 25% 

Written as a funerary tribute to Beethoven, this trio was printed and sold out and reprinted before Schubert’s death only a year later. Thus, despite this work’s large size and considerable difficulty, one may expect that every musically-literate household in Vienna had a copy of it. Bruckner seems to have seen it, as suggested by a striking resemblance of the main theme of its slow movement to that of the slow movement of his own Fourth Symphony, the movements even being in the same key, C minor. (This theme was also beloved of Stanley Kubrick, who used it in the soundtrack of his film Barry Lyndon.) In the first movement of the Schubert trio, the B1 theme is in B minor with mournful repeated chords, related by a diminished fourth (the ear hears a major third) to the tonic of E flat. However the cheerful and lyrical B2 theme and codetta are in the dominant tonality of B flat major and resolve there. So far Bruckner is suggested strongly, but the codetta is connected directly to the B2 theme which is not as Bruckner would have done it.

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Piano Trio no. 2 in E flat Major, D. 944 (1827), finale

Horszowski Trio
Finale: Allegro moderato

B1 = 31% 

The finale of this amazing piece is if anything even more grand than the opening movement described above, and shares with it a relatively early B1 theme with a texture of plaintive repeated notes, now in C minor. The B2 theme, however, is in a bold and scurrying B flat major with a welded codetta; again one could call it a C theme, but the triumphant cadence is not Brucknerish. The development is an enormous structure in which the cello theme from the second movement, the theme Bruckner seems to have liked so much, is re-introduced, eventually to be combined with the B1 theme in a passage of great poignancy just before the retransition leading to the recapitulation. Sadly, Schubert was told by the publisher Probst that he had to shorten the finale, and he cut out two large sections of the development. Since then, despite the publication of the complete manuscript version in 1975, almost a century and a half after its composition, one usually hears the cut version. The performance used for the timings in this paper was given at Bard College in 2014 by the Horszowski Trio, using the complete version, thus preserving the deeply moving combination of the cello theme with B1. The two passages cut for the publication are heard on You-Tube in a recording of this performance from 40:33 to 41:44 and from 42:41 to 43:36. The cut was ill-advised, but Schubert knew he had not long to live. Bruckner could not have found a finer inspiration for his own exalted music.

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Robert Schumann (1810–1856)

Symphony no. 4 in D Minor (revised version of 1851), first movement

Philippe Herreweghe, Frankfurt RSO

B = 52%

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Symphony no. 4 in D Minor (revised version of 1851), finale

Philippe Herreweghe, Frankfurt RSO
Finale: Lebhaft

B1 = 37%

The finale of the D minor symphony is introduced using a mysterious and initially ominous crescendo arising directly from the scherzo, much as in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. In the early version of 1841 a swift scurrying passage leads to the brilliant A theme in D major; in the 1850 version the scurrying passage is omitted. There are many other distinctions between the two versions, with an exposition repeat added in 1850 which contributes significantly to the weight of this movement. It might be Brucknerian except for the triumphant end of the codetta. The coda is remarkable for its eager stepped increases of tempo.

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Louis Spohr (1784–1859)

Symphony no. 9 in B Minor, “The Seasons” (1850), first movement, “Der Winter”

Albert Walter, Slovak State SO

B = 45%

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Symphony no. 9 in B Minor, “The Seasons” (1850), finale, “Einleitung zum Herbst,” “Der Herbst”

Albert Walter, Slovak State SO

B = 25%

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Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900)

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In Memoriam, Richard Hickox

Overture “In Memoriam” (1861)

Richard Hickox, BBC Philharmonic

B0 = 49%

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Robert Volkmann (1815–1883)

Symphony no. 1 in D Minor, Op. 44 (c. 1866), first movement

Werner Andreas Albert, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie

B1 = 48%

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Symphony no. 1 in D Minor, Op. 44 (c. 1866), finale

Werner Andreas Albert, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie
Finale: Allegro molto

B = 67%

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Richard Wagner (1813–1883)

Symphony in C Major (1832), first movement

Heinz Rögner, RSO Berlin

B = 46%

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Symphony in C Major (1832), finale

Heinz Rögner, RSO Berlin

B = 52%

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Rienzi, Klaus Tennstedt

Overture to “Rienzi”

Klaus Tennstedt, LPO

B1 = 46%

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Overture to “Der fliegende Holländer”

Herbert von Karajan, BPO

B =25%

According to the composer, the first part of the overture represents two ideas: “Driven along by the fury of the gale, the terrible ship of the ‘Flying Dutchman’ approaches the shore, and reaches the land, where its captain has been promised he shall one day find salvation and deliverance; we hear the compassionate tones of this saving promise, which affect us like prayers and lamentations.” Though the overture is explicitly narrative, its symphonic character is manifested in a mostly classic exposition with a contrasting semi-welded codetta and the reappearance of the B theme in a free recapitulation. The influence of this composition on the beginning of Bruckner’s “Wagner” Symphony is undeniable.

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Siegfried Idyll (1870)

B = 47%

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Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826)

Overture to “Euryanthe” (1823)

Wilhelm Furtwängler, BPO

B = 44%

This grand overture opens without introduction as a festive and confident first group quickly presents one motive from the opera after another in quick succession. This leads to a cadence, sustained wind chords punctuated by drum beats, and the big tune, that of Adolar’s aria in Act II, “O Seligkeit, dich fass’ ich kaum,” as he imagines the approach of his beloved Euryanthe journeying homeward. The boisterous music returns, constituting a long series of codettas. The development brings forward dark and troubling music from the ghost scene, but leads to a regular recapitulation. This could be taken for a very strong finale of a symphony if one did not know the story. The complex and improbable play and libretto by Helmine von Chezy has been blamed for the rarity of the full opera’s performance, but fans of Il Trovatore (and who isn’t?) have no right to complain. As with Schumann’s practically unknown opera Genoveva, there is really nothing wrong with it. Unbelievers must read Tovey’s substantial and attitude-adjusting essay.

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Overture to “Oberon” (1826)

B1 = 45%

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