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Ed. by Timothy L. Jackson & Paul Hawkshaw. pp. xv + 301. (Cambridge University Press, 1997, [pounds]40. ISBN 0-521-57014-X.)
This book has its origins in the International Bruckner Conference 'Perspectives on Anton Bruckner: Composer, Theorist, Teacher, Performer' held at Connecticut College in the USA in February 1994. The essays fall into two main categories - 'Historical Studies' and 'Analytical Studies' - and, according to the editors, have the primary function of 'identifying prejudices which have coloured perceptions [of Bruckner] and which continue to be influential in many quarters', thereby challenging us, 'on the centenary of his death, to consider Bruckner, his music, and its sources from a fresh perspective'. Many of the controversial issues raised at the conference have since been discussed at other conferences and in the pages of the Musical Quarterly and 19th Century Music as well as in the more specialized Austrian journals. But it is particularly valuable to have in a single volume such a wide-ranging series of essays reflecting the views of many of the scholars currently at the cutting edge of Bruckner research.
Both Paul Hawkshaw, in 'Anton Bruckner's Revisions to the Mass in F minor', and Benjamin Korstvedt, in '"Return to the pure sources": the Ideology and Text-Critical Legacy of the First Bruckner Gesamtausgabe') address the 'versions problem'. Hawkshaw, who is working on an edition of the original 1868 version of the F minor Mass for the Gesamtausgabe, makes the necessary distinction between Josef Schalk's alterations to the work which found their way into the first edition of 1894 but were later removed by both Haas and Nowak in their editions for the 'old' and 'new' Gesamtausgaben (published in 1944 and 1960 respectively), and those changes concerning pitch, orchestration and general structure which Bruckner himself made after 1868. Haas and Nowak included some of these changes in their editions but did not provide an accompanying critical apparatus. Hawkshaw argues convincingly that the changes Bruckner introduced were eminently practical, the result of hands-on participation as organist in performances of the work in the Hofkapelle, and stresses that they do not present the picture of an 'insecure, adulation-seeking composer with a counting mania' (a reference to the 'rhythmical supervision' to which the Mass and several of his symphonies were subjected in the mid 1870s) but, on the contrary, reveal 'a professional composer at work systematically "fine-tuning" his score throughout a quarter century of performances and meticulous self-analyses'. Hawkshaw supplements his historical survey of the revisions with lists of the manuscript sources for the Mass and of the distinguishing features of the first version preserved in the 1868 copy score and altered during the early revision stages, and also with reproductions of sketches and pages from the 1868 copy score and a later copy score prepared between 1877 and 1881 and revised in 1881 and 1893-4. As neither Haas nor Nowak had access to this 1868 copy score - 'the only surviving reading of the earliest complete version' - Hawkshaw's description is all the more valuable.
Benjamin Korstvedt examines the …