Pope Benedict on Bruckner
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    On Saturday, after a performance of Bruckner's Ninth Symphony.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181

    VATICAN CITY, 22 OCT 2011 (VIS) - This evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Bavarian State Opera gave a concert in honour of Benedict XVI. The programme included the Ninth Symphony and the "Te Deum" by Anton Bruckner, played by the Bavarian State Orchestra and the "Audi Jugendchorakademie", conducted respectively by Kent Nagano and Martin Steidler.

    At the end of the performance the Pope rose to thank the musicians. Listening to Bruckner's music, he said, "is like finding oneself in a great cathedral, surrounded by its imposing structures which arouse emotion and lift us to the heights. There is however an element that lies at the foundations of Bruckner's music, both the symphonic and the sacred: the simple, solid, genuine faith he conserved throughout his life".

    "The great conductor Bruno Walter used to say that 'Mahler always sought after God, while Bruckner had found Him'. The symphony we have just heard has a very specific title: 'Dem lieben Gott' (To the Beloved God), almost as if he wished to dedicate and entrust the last and most mature fruit of his art to the One in Whom he had always believed, the One Who had become his only true interlocutor in the last stage of his life", the Holy Father said.

    "Bruckner asked this beloved God to let him enter His mystery, ... to let him praise the Lord in heaven as he had on earth with his music. 'Te Deum laudamus, Te Dominum confitemur'; this great work we have just heard - written at one sitting then reworked over fifteen years as if reconsidering how better to thank and praise God - sums up the faith of this great musician", Pope Benedict concluded. "It is also a reminder for us to open our horizons and think of eternal life, not so as to escape the present, though burdened with problems and difficulties, but to experience it more intensely, bringing a little light, hope and love into the reality in which we live".
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    Pope John Paul II expressed similar feelings about Anton Bruckner in 1979, when the Holy Father attended a performance of the Bruckner fifth symphony by the Chicago Symphony under Sir George Solti at Holy Name Cathedral:

    Pope John Paul II ... was moved to tears ... at a special concert in Holy Name Cathedral. The Pontiff wanted to hear the mighty Solti and the CSO while he was in town, but a strictly “religious” concert seemed a bit much in that John Paul was celebrating a couple of sung Masses every day of his grueling tour. The Bruckner Fifth was the perfect compromise, in that the work was fully symphonic and yet was a work steeped in Roman Catholic faith. The comparison of a large Gothic cathedral is often made to the large Bruckner Symphonies in terms of proportion and spirituality, and the analogy is particularly appropriate in the case of the mighty Fifth Symphony.

    Sadly, the demanding schedule of that day caused a delay of the Pope's schedule. The concert was begun before the Pope could arrive (at about 9 pm.), and an intermission inserted after the second movement of the Bruckner symphony, during which the Pope praised the music and faith of Bruckner.

    I still recall listening to the broadcast of that performance.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    The concert was begun before the Pope could arrive (at about 9 pm.), and an intermission inserted after the second movement of the Bruckner symphony, during which the Pope praised the music and faith of Bruckner.

    Someone was clearly thinking of HH's health - if the speech had been delayed to the end he would have had a short night's sleep. There's little wrong with Bruckner's symphonies that a good editor couldn't have sorted out. The exquisite motets don't have that problem and are all the better for the discipline of text and time.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,902
    The Te Deum is marvelous. Huge. C Major/affirmation (of course). The "In Te, Domine..." fugue is every bit the prayer, querulous, insistent, the very antithesis of presumption.

    And the ending! Straight-on power stuff........non confundar, indeed!!! Sang it over 20 years ago and it has staying power.
  • Mark P.
    Posts: 248
    The motets Ave Maria, Christus factus est and Locus iste are well known. Less well known is Bruckner's setting of Asperges me, which, to me, is more telling. After ancient-style polyphony and Gregorian psalm verse, it breaks into a glorious Gloria Patri--one of the most beautiful I've ever sung. But, and characteristic of his style, the composition ends with the repeat of the austere Asperges me.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,370
    You don't have to convince me of Bruckner's worth - I've been a disciple of his since I was in high school!!
    Thanked by 1ZacPB189