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Truth Changes its Mind: The Six Editions of Bruckner's Fourth

To my knowledge, there are no fewer than six versions of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony. They are:

The 1889/90 First Edition. The Hass Edition of 1936. The Nowak Edition of 1953 using the 1886 copy. The Nowak Edition of 1974 using the 1876 manuscript. The Nowak Edition of the “volkfest” finale from 1981. The Korstvedt Edition of 2004.

All of these assume themselves to be authentic according to the very hand of Bruckner. Who knows? Since none of the editors of these versions ever spoke to Bruckner about it, there’s a ton of circumstantial evidence.

There are corrections based on Bruckner’s letters, the dates on pictures of Bruckner with a score next to him, and the inclusion or exclusion of Bruckner’s signature. The truth about Bruckner’s Fourth keeps changing its mind.

I tend to prefer the first edition from 1889/90. If I were to guess, I’d say the San Diego Symphony will perform the 1953 Nowak Edition. I’m just going off of more recent recording practices.

What are some of these differences? Here’s an example.

In the clip of Furtwängler conducting the 1889/90 version the strings jump up the octave before playing their descending figure at the 1:24 mark. In the Nowak Edition conducted by Böhm the strings stay down the octave before playing their descending figure at the 1:46 mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAGoKwl3mK4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVtT1KFydlY&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLE47B9F6792F30D51

I must admit the octave leap works for me and I find the Nowak version to be a little disappointing. Ah, but did Bruckner intend that octave leap? Was it a fabrication of one of Bruckner’s collaborators with whom Bruckner worked on revisions for the Fourth in 1887?

The collaborators were Ferdinand Löwe, Franz Schalk and Joseph Schalk. In May of 1887, Franz Schalk wrote his brother Joseph and claims that Löwe had re-orchestrated much of the Fourth without Bruckner’s approval.

The debate rages—in the dusty corners of small dark rooms that haven’t seen the light of day since 1887. God bless Bruckner fans.

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To my knowledge, there are no fewer than six versions of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony. They are:

The 1889/90 First Edition. The Hass Edition of 1936. The Nowak Edition of 1953 using the 1886 copy. The Nowak Edition of 1974 using the 1876 manuscript. The Nowak Edition of the “volkfest” finale from 1981. The Korstvedt Edition of 2004.

All of these assume themselves to be authentic according to the very hand of Bruckner. Who knows? Since none of the editors of these versions ever spoke to Bruckner about it, there’s a ton of circumstantial evidence.

There are corrections based on Bruckner’s letters, the dates on pictures of Bruckner with a score next to him, and the inclusion or exclusion of Bruckner’s signature. The truth about Bruckner’s Fourth keeps changing its mind.

I tend to prefer the first edition from 1889/90. If I were to guess, I’d say the San Diego Symphony will perform the 1953 Nowak Edition. I’m just going off of more recent recording practices.

What are some of these differences? Here’s an example.

In the clip of Furtwängler conducting the 1889/90 version the strings jump up the octave before playing their descending figure at the 1:24 mark. In the Nowak Edition conducted by Böhm the strings stay down the octave before playing their descending figure at the 1:46 mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAGoKwl3mK4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVtT1KFydlY&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLE47B9F6792F30D51

I must admit the octave leap works for me and I find the Nowak version to be a little disappointing. Ah, but did Bruckner intend that octave leap? Was it a fabrication of one of Bruckner’s collaborators with whom Bruckner worked on revisions for the Fourth in 1887?

The collaborators were Ferdinand Löwe, Franz Schalk and Joseph Schalk. In May of 1887, Franz Schalk wrote his brother Joseph and claims that Löwe had re-orchestrated much of the Fourth without Bruckner’s approval.

The debate rages—in the dusty corners of small dark rooms that haven’t seen the light of day since 1887. God bless Bruckner fans.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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