Anton Bruckner's Sketches and Drafts

A Comparative Study

Bruckner scholarship has taken a strong interest in the composer's sketches and drafts from its very beginning. As a result, a number of studies have been carried out on Bruckner's compositional procedures on the grounds of single works. Apart from Symphony No. 3 (Röder 1987 and 1997), most scholars have concentrated on the Symphonies No. 8 (Röthig 1978 and Hermann 2008) and No. 9 (Sonntag 1987), for which the largest quantities of sources have survived. There is but one study on Bruckner's working methods that covers manuscript sources from a longer period of time (Hawkshaw 1984). However, the complete corpus of Bruckner's extant preliminary material, which comprises all genres in Bruckner's oeuvre and all stages of his development as a composer, has never been subject to in-depth investigation and still remains uncataloged.

The project aims to satisfy this desideratum in three steps: catalog, analysis, and edition. As a first step, an extensive catalog of sources will be compiled. It will list all extant sources, present their contents, and provide pertinent bibliographical information. In step 2, the corpus of sources will be both philologically scrutinized and hermeneutically contextualized. The primary method employed will be the method of comparison. The analysis will focus on how the music was distributed on the paper (including changes of the writing ductus), how different writing implements were employed and, furthermore, how Bruckner made use of figured bass, metrical numbers, dynamics, articulation signs, tempo indications, lyrics, and other verbal comments and annotations in the process of sketching and drafting. Also, the way Bruckner was influenced by his teachers and the treatises he used as well as parallels between Bruckner's working methods and those of other symphonic composers of his time will be subject of investigation. Most of Bruckner's sketches and drafts, except those for Symphony No. 9, remain available only in editions that do not meet modern philological standards, if they are published at all. Therefore, important examples from the material will be edited as step 3 of the project.

In sum, the findings of this project will form the hitherto most comprehensive picture of Bruckner's working procedures, their context, and their development throughout his career.

Download Project Poster (PDF, 657 KB)