Bruckner's 8th Symphony Essay

705 Words 3 Pages
With a sense of mystery, highly acclaimed New York Philharmonic conductor Lorin Maazel opened Bruckner’s 8th symphony with a tremolo on the strings and then repeats this tremolando in forte while the brass gloriously brought in the first major theme. Amidst the bright colors and amazing acoustics at Disney Hall, the audience sat in eager anticipation; many of the present members were experienced with Bruckner’s pieces and Wagnerian style. Sitting next to me, David Barry of the LA Philharmonic Board of Directors gave me an introduction to the history of Disney Hall, the LA Philharmonic musicians, and Anton Bruckner. He quickly detailed several prominent musicians’ profiles, including that of the only timpanist at the concert, and then, he …show more content…
This astounding range of emotions, within just a few bars, was so new to me; at first, I was afraid that I misunderstood the music. I had never heard music with such a strong Romantic style before, but as the concert went on, I let the music wash over myself and lead my imagination to experience Bruckner’s dazzling array of emotions portrayed in this work.

Maazel’s brilliant portrayal of Bruckner’s swaying emotions was evident as the pizzicato on the strings transitioned into the brass, fiercely bellowing the third theme. With my inexperience, I was rather uncomfortable with the sudden and almost jarring shifts in the mood at first, but gradually, I began to appreciate how Bruckner alternated between his themes, using them, as Mark Swed of the LA Times noted, as gigantic melodic building blocks to construct a massive “cathedral of sound.” Despite the complex, intertwining development of the three themes, the first movement vanishingly surrendered itself, as elusively as the introduction.

In the subsequent scherzo, David Berry explained some of the influences of Beethoven, my favorite composer, had on Bruckner’s piece. Although I didn’t really understand much, the second movement’s numerous reiterations of the bold principal theme left me feeling as if I were caught in a powerful thunderstorm of divine glory, a contrast of loving compassion for the
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