Bits of Bruckner Six turn up in a crypt

Much excitement among those who spend their lives trying to save Bruckner scores from his meddlers.

The conductor Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs has discovered a long-lost set of parts for the sixth symphony in the St Florian monastery, where the composer grew up in the choir and where he lies buried.

Here’s what he has announced:


bruckner's grave

After Anton Bruckner had finished his Sixth Symphony, a set of handwritten parts was copied which were to be used for a read-through of new repertoire by the Vienna Philharmonic (6 Oct 1882) as well as for the ensuing first performance of the Adagio and Scherzo, which was directed by Wilhelm Jahn (11 Feb 1883). This set of parts was believed to be entirely lost, as confirmed by Leopold Nowak in his Critical Report (1986, p. 49). To his own surprise, Benjamin-Gunnar Cohrs found a remnant of it in the archive of the Monastery of St. Florian – a part for Bassoon I in the hand of a copyist, with autograph annotations, and with the pencil indication “Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien” on the first page by an anonymous hand. Cohrs´ furtherresearch in the Archive of the GdM in Vienna then brought to light the full set of parts, with only the Bassoon I part missing which is today in St. Florian. Earlier researchers had overlooked it, perhaps because it is held under the same signature as the dedication copy (XIII 37.730), but stored at another location in the archive stacks. The set of parts comprises all the wind instruments, timpani, and strings in single copies (except the viola, of which six copies survive!). The copyist responsible has yet to be identified. Most of the parts reveal autograph corrections as well as some pencil annotations by orchestral players.


Nachdem Anton Bruckner seine Sechste Sinfonie beendet hatte, wurde ein handschriftlicher Stimmensatz kopiert, der sowohl für eine Novitätenprobe der Wiener Philharmoniker (6. Oktober 1882) wie auch für die Erstaufführung von Adagio und Scherzo unter Wilhelm Jahn verwendet (11. Februar 1883). Bisher wurde angenommen, daß dieser Stimmensatz verschollensei, wie Noch Leopold Nowak im Revisionsbericht zur Sechsten vermerkte (1986; S. 49). Zu seiner Überraschung entdeckteBenjamin-Gunnar Cohrs jedoch einen Überrest davon im Archiv des Stiftes St. Florian – eine Stimme für Fagott I aus Kopistenhand, mit autographen Eintragungen, sowie auf der Titelseite mit dem anonymen Bleistift-Vermerk “Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien”. Cohrs´ weitere Suche im Archiv der GdM in Wien brachte dann den gesamten Stimmensatz zutage; es fehlt nur die in St. Florian befindliche Fagott-Stimme. Frühere Forscher hatten dies übersehen, vielleicht deshalb, weil der Stimmensatz unter der gleichen Signatur wie die Widmungs-Partiturkopie indiziert ist (XIII 37.730), aber im Archiv-Magazin an einem anderen Standort verwahrt wird. Der Stimmensatz besteht aus allen Bläserstimmen, Pauken und je einer Streicherstimme (mit Ausnahme der Viola, von der sechs Exemplare erhalten sind). Der Kopist muß noch identifiziert werden. Die meisten Stimmen enthalten einige autographe Korrekturen sowie auch Bleistift-Anmerkungen von Spielern.

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    • I always feel there are two perfect unfinished symphonies, Schubert 8 and Bruckner 9 and sometimes I even wonder if the composers realised this. When put either side of the interval in the same concert they make one of the most satisfying concerts I could wish for.

  • 6 viola parts, of course, because the parts were distributed and used, and not collected, and they didn’t have enough viola parts. if you make 8 parts of each instrument, you hand out 6 for each section except there are only two stands of violas on hand… maybe.

  • ==strings in single copies (except the viola, of which six copies survive!)

    Come on, there’s got to be a 19th century viola joke in here !

  • great!.. now if only someone could find the missing sheets to the last movement of Bruckner’s Ninth!

  • From a textural point of view one of the few straightforward Bruckner Symphonies… No longer the case, alas.

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