Five essential works by Bruckner

We choose the best works by the musical architect

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Symphony No. 4, ‘The Romantic’

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Bruckner’s main contribution to music was his huge symphonic output. No. 4 is a good place to start, a paen to the romanticism of nature.

Recommended recording:
Berlin Philharmonic/Günter Wand
RCA 74321687162

Symphony No. 7

Bruckner’s most successful symphony. The first movement unfolds with extreme intensity, while the pained slow movement steals the show.

Recommended recording:
Vienna Philharmonic/Herbert von Karajan
DG 439 0372

Symphony No. 8

Written in 1887 and amended in 1890, this huge work is Bruckner’s most religious symphony. The slow movement is a spell-binding glimpse of eternity.

Recommended recording:
Berlin Philharmonic/Günter Wand
RCA 74321828662

Symphony No. 9

Although incomplete, this great work is more approachable than the Eighth – from the menacing opening of the Scherzo to the sublime final-movement Adagio.

Recommended recording:
Vienna Philharmonic/Carlo Maria Giulini
DG 427 3452

Motets

Bruckner was a fine church musician and virtuoso organist, and these a cappella motets are among the finest written in the last couple of centuries.

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Recommended recording:
Corydon Singers/Matthew Best
Hyperion CDA 66062