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  1. 2015.11.20 Symphony No. 5 in B♭ major, WAB 105

Symphony No. 5 in B♭ major, WAB 105

Composition of the Day 2015.11.20 09:00

Günter Wand on Bruckner's fifth:

"The religious convictions and feelings of another human being should be taboo for us. Nevertheless, Bruckner was always described as an elderly altar-server with a censer and that always hurt me terribly, because for me this music is absolutely great music. Of course, it enters metaphysical and cosmic areas and they are certainly part of that music. But these implications become clear when the music is played as it's written, not when—for long stretches—one aims for especially sublime parts. If you play it like that, the coherence and symphonic form are lost and I believe that for many years this has been deeply misunderstood. I'm certainly not one of those who doubts the mysticism, the metaphysics, the solemnity of this music. But it doesn't consist only of these things. It's a symphonic work by a composer of unique greatness. When this purity is there, it evokes in people feelings that bring them to tears and can raise them above this world. That's the reason for the misunderstanding. There is architecture. It is an edifice of ideas, but then there are parts which touch the heart.

I find that when the right tempo is suddenly disrupted by a rubato then the whole thing collapses. That makes it very difficult. There are huge paragraphs in the fifth symphony. It lasts about 75 minutes. So you must be aware at the start of the work what's going to happen at the end. One has to imagine an arch spanning the whole work. The movements are connected by the use of themes. The third movement starts with the opening theme of the second movement; the finale takes up the theme from the beginning of the first movement: So everything is inter-connected."

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