While unappreciated and controversial during most of his life, Anton Bruckner is today regarded as the greatest symphonist between Beethoven and Gustav Mahler - in terms of originality, boldness and monumentality of his music. The image of Bruckner the man, however, is still extreme instance of the tenacious power of prejudice. No less a figure than Gustav Mahler coined the apercu about Bruckner being "a simpleton - half genius, half imbecile". The author is out to correct that misperception. His thesis in this study is that contrary to what has hitherto been asserted, there is an intimate relation between Bruckner's sacred music and his symphonies from multiple perspectives: biographical data, sources and influences, the psychology of creation, musical structure, contemporary testimony and reception history. Additional chapters assess important Bruckner recordings and interpreters and the progressiveness of his music.
Constantin Floros is professor emeritus of musicology at the University of Hamburg and a prolific writer on diverse subjects. He is an honorary member of the Anton Bruckner Institute in Linz and of the Austrian Society for Music Research. Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch is professor emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Indiana University. A specialist in English and European Romanticism, he has worked as a translator since his retirement.
Contents: Who was Bruckner? - Neurosis - Libido - Emotionality - Persecution Mania - Religiosity - Personality and xuvre - Music as Religious Confession - A new Dramatic Conception of the Mass - The Fiction of "Absolute Music" - Originality and Modernity - Imaginations.