For the first publication of the Third Symphony, undertaken by Theodor Rättig in 1878, a new copy score was prepared and is now preserved in the National Library as Mus.Hss. 34611 (movements 1, 2, 4) and 6058 (scherzo). Considering this manuscript with the others, the histories of two details, one near the beginning of the first movement and one at the end of the scherzo, illustrate Bruckner’s known methods of revision, and also exemplify some of the chaos surrounding the development of the second version. The first of these cases is in the first theme group of the first movement. Following Beethoven’s example in his Ninth Symphony, and building on features of his own Second, Bruckner conceived the first theme group in two melodic ideas: a striking triadic trumpet melody which ever so slightly suggests Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, and a stern unison with a rather complex rhythm and a meditative continuation. Each of these is developed twice, the first time in a wave of sound with the trumpet theme and the unison both in the tonic D minor, and then a second wave beginning in the dominant A major with the unison starting in B flat major. In the 1873 version, the second wave begins after two rest measures, and in the 1889 final version it begins immediately with the cadence that closes the first wave, the two rest measures having being eliminated. In the Oeser score of 1878 depending on Mus.Hs. 36411, the rest measures are already eliminated, but in the Nowak score representing Mus.Hs. 19475 in its condition of October 1877, they are still present with no indication to be deleted. So too they must have still been there in the 1876 version. Two measures later, a pair of accompanimental measures preceding the
trumpet entrance were already crossed out in 19475, and the clarinets and bassoons lowered by an octave in the following four measures. That could have been done in the revision of summer 1877, or it might be an earlier compositional process carried out in the work of 1876.