„BRUCKNER STAIRCASE OLD CATHEDRAL“
Exhibition to Anton Bruckner‘s Linz years (1855-1868)
The time that Bruckner spent in Linz - from 24th December 1855 to the end of September 1868 – was to be an important phase in his decision-making and development: he exchanged the monastic village environment of St. Florian for that of the secular and urban, he took the bold step from teacher to professional musician, and he committed himself to the most rigorous training in musical theory. This was also the period when his encounter with the music of Richard Wagner stimulated and freed him on his way towards a personal musical language.
These years were to be decisive for a shift in the main focus of Bruckner’s artistic output as well: in his first major work, the Mass in D Minor (WAB 26) we can already hear the future symphonist at work. In both St.Florian and Linz it was a treasured instrument – an organ with a wide-ranging palette of sounds - which gave Bruckner inspiration and an ideal medium for his work.
The Bruckner Organ in the Old Cathedral in Linz
On 2nd October 1856 Bruckner laid before his employer, Bishop Rudigier, “some remarks on the condition of the cathedral organ for the purpose of possible necessary repairs” . These measures, begun in the guise of repairs, turned into a major restoration of the Franz Xaver Chrismann organ - albeit undertaken gradually in small steps – with which Bruckner pressed ahead single-mindedly. This “repair”was carried out by the Ottensheim organ builder Josef Breinbauer, and was completed in eleven years. Bruckner was to leave his beloved organ in the Old Cathedral behind only a year later, immortalizing himself with the words “Lebe wohl” carved into the organ case.
One can easily understand that the sound of the organ, built by Chrismann between 1764 and 1766 in the Italian tradition of the early Baroque, no longer corresponded to Bruckner’s ideals. Curiously enough the characteristic Baroque features – the compass of the manual and pedal registers with a short octave and repeating pedal – remained untouched. Otherwise the Baroque Chrismann organ was romanticized. We can therefore see that Bruckner followed the earlier playing practices and clearly mastered them.
Visits to the Bruckner Staircase are only possible as group guided tours.
Information: Tourist Information Linz
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Guided tours of the organ and organ concerts for groups