With the 4th Symphony, which Bruckner himself christened the „Romantic“, the seemingly labyrinthine network of different versions reaches its climax: he composed the work in 1874, revised it between 1878 and 1880, and for this version wrote the so-called „Volksfest“ (public fair) Finale, which was to be replaced shortly afterwards by a new final movement. Including the further revision in 1888 this makes three autonomous versions and a total of four versions of the Finale.
The elements of popular celebration as an expression of Romantic patriotism – Bruckner set to music rural idylls, hunts and feast day conviviality - permeate not only the „Volksfest“ Finale. These grew out of the same fertile soil as the male choral societies so typical of the 19th century, to which the composer felt so deeply connected – he had been a member and then choirmaster one of the Linz choral societies, the Liedertafel „Frohsinn“. The symphonic choral piece Helgoland, composed in 1893 for the 50th anniversary of the Vienna Male Voice Choir while Bruckner was working on his 9th Symphony, also stands in this tradition. The performance, by the only full-time professional male choir in the world, must have been a rare and impressive occasion.
Anton Bruckner (1824–1896)
Symphony No.4 in Eb major , WAB 104 (1877–78) „1878/80 Version“ with the new Finale (1879–80)
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„Volksfest“-Finale (Allegro moderato) Es-Dur der Sinfonie Nr. 4, WAB 104 (1878)
Helgoland. Sinfonischer Chor g-moll für vierstimmigen Männerchor und großes Orchester, WAB 71 (1893)
Eesti Rahvusmeeskoor (National Male Choir of Estonia, RAM)
Eesti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester (State-owned Symphonic Orchestra of Estonia, ERSO)
Neeme Järvi | Conductor