“The Fourth Symphony [by Anton Bruckner] had the longest, the most complex composition of every symphony” wrote the American musicologist B. M. Korstvedt. Reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, this work carries all the vital impulse of the composer who, determined, could not help but search for perfection.
In fact, Bruckner labored through seven versions and revisions between 1874 and 1888! Called by Brucker himself “Romantique”, the Fourth depicts a day in the life of an aristocrat of the Middle Ages: "Medieval city—On proud horses the knights burst out into the open" for the first movement’s Allegro; “Neglected love” for the second; “Dance tune during the lunch break while hunting” for the third’s Scherzo. Only the fourth and final movement, a joyful Allegro moderato, does not have a programmatic description, as if Bruckner wanted to adhere to a non finito (“not finished”) aesthetic!
Browse recordings of Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major "Romantic", WAB 104
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The Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major, called “Romantic” by Bruckner himself, is a pinnacle of classical music of all ages. Consisting of four movements, the work portrays a rural scene, a picturesque medieval life. In a letter addressed to Paul Heyse, Bruckner writes about the form of his 4th symphony, “In the first movement, [...] the horn that proclaims the day from the town hall! Then life goes on; in the Gesangsperiode the theme is the [bird]song of the great tit Zizipe. 2nd movement: song, prayer, serenade. 3rd: hunt and in the trio how a barrel-organ plays during the midday meal in the forest”. Come and be swept away by the “Romantic” Symphony No. 4, a Bruckner masterpiece, played by the most prestigious orchestras in the world, such as the Bamberg Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra!