Monday, April 25, 2011

Saucy maid leads to apocalypse

Here's something I just learned about Bruckner's symphonies: they all have names. I was under the impression that the Fourth went by the nickname "Romantic" and you might designate the Ninth the "Unfinished" but that was as far as it went. I haven't seen any other titles on any of the recordings I own. But no, I'm ripping a recording of the First and here it is in Windows Media Player: "The Saucy Maid". LOL srsly? as Bruckner himself might have said.
Well, it turns out Bruckner did refer to his Symphony no.1 as "das kecke Beserl" which does indeed mean "the saucy maid", but it's not like it's the official title or anything and I don't think anyone's going to mistake this music for Rossini or Offenbach.
Then I try ripping the Second symphony and it turns out this one is called "Symphony of Pauses". Hmm, not bad. As the notes to Daniel Barenboim's recording on Elatus put it, "The orchestra falls silent with highly suspicious frequency".
So obviously now I have to know has everything been given a title? Google leads me to a discussion on Talk Classical, and there they all are:
Saucy Maid; Symphony of Pauses; Wagner; Romantic; Tragic; Philosophic; Lyric; Apocalyptic; Unfinished.
Poor Bruckner. Bad enough that nobody knows which editions of his symphonies to perform, but he also gets lumbered with a bunch of lame titles he didn't ask for. Try doing that to Beethoven and see how long you'd last.

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