Over the years, I’ve appreciated Bruckner’s Symphonies 4 through 9. The 5th was the one I first appreciated, swept away toward its stratospheric, gleaming dimensions.
If you buy Adam Zagajewski’s book Without End: New and Selected Poems, you’ll find a poem titled “Anton Bruckner.”
The poem opens onto a rural Austrian setting:
At daybreak, the smell of clover rises from low meadows
Baroque churches impress the ground
Peasant carts ride through fog, geese quietly lament.
The Danube flows over flat stones, rehearsing
elocution like a timid Demosthenes.
Later, we see the youth himself:
At the door of a whitewashed house, a boy is standing
with an ugly face and a too thick neck.
He is good and pious, but unappealing to girls.
A small bundle is on his back, heavy boots on his feet.
Raindrops fall from the roof in a quizzical key.
Finally, we’re with the composer-to-be as he begins both a physical and a metaphorical journey toward otherworlds of music:
And in that breathless race, which is not a flight,
the shimmering Danube will vanish, and the church of Linz
with its double belfries, and even great Vienna, with the gold grain
of the Emperor sown in fertile gardens, will be left behind
as meaningless as a dot on the map.
Anton Bruckner is leaving home.
Posted by Tim Buck