ANTON BRUCKNER (1824 -1896) CRITICAL COMPLETE EDITION
Published under the aegis of the Austrian National Library
and the Internationale Bruckner-Gesellschaft
General Editor: Leopold Nowak†


The Beginnings

Anton Bruckner’s friends and pupils repeatedly requested the Master’s approval for retouchings and changes which, often of a quite intrusive nature, affecting form, instrumentation and articulation, were intended to make his quite unprecedented sound-world more accessible to contemporary audiences.
We have every reason to be grateful to these friends and pupils for their missionary zeal; after all, the motivation behind the changes was the wider propagation and promotion of Bruckner’s music.
In order to smooth the path for his works to be performed and published, Bruckner did give his provisional agreement to adaptations designed to bring his music closer into line with the prevailing spirit of the times. But his agreement was only provisional – when he entrusted his manuscripts to the Imperial and Royal Court Library (the present-day Austrian National Library), he bequeathed his music to us in the form in which he 'according to his last will and testament' wished it to be passed on to posterity.

Symphonie Nr. 5After Bruckner’s death, the glaring discrepancies between the autograph manuscripts and the music being heard in concert led to a call for a critical complete edition to provide the basis for authentic performing material. In 1929 the International Bruckner Society (Internationale Bruckner-Gesellschaft, IBG for short) was founded in Vienna; 1930 witnessed the publication by Filser, Augsburg, of the first works in the Complete Bruckner Edition (Bruckner-Gesamtausgabe), namely the Requiem and the Missa Solemnis (Haas). On 2 April 1932, Siegmund von Hausegger gave two consecutive renditions of the Ninth Symphony. In the first he used the only printed edition then in existence, which had been produced with the intention of making Bruckner’s music sound Wagnerian and consequently differed quite radically from Bruckner’s manuscript; the second performance was based on the autograph musical text as prepared for the Complete Edition.

In 1933, by which time the Filser publishing house had ceased to exist, the International Bruckner Society founded the Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag (MWV; literally 'musicological publishers'), specifically to publish the Bruckner Complete Edition. Robert Haas, Director of the Music Collection of the Austrian National Library, was appointed General Editor, with Alfred Orel as his right-hand man; in 1937, Leopold Nowak joined the house as co-General Editor. The preparatory work which had already been under way for many years previously made it possible for numerous volumes to be published in quick succession.

Chronology of the Bruckner Complete Edition 1934-1944 (General Editor: Robert Haas)
1934Symphony No. 9 (Orel)
  Four orchestral pieces (Orel)
1935Symphony No. 1, 'Linz Version' and 'Vienna Version' (Haas)
 Symphony No. 5 (Haas)
 Symphony No. 6 (Haas)
1936Symphony No. 4, Second Version (Haas)
1938Symphony No. 2, as a hybrid of the first and second versions (Haas)
1939Symphony No. 8, as a hybrid of the first and second versions (Haas)
1940 Mass in E minor, Second Version (Haas - Nowak)
1944Symphony No. 7 (Haas)
 Mass in F minor (Haas)

After the Anschluss of 1938 had incorporated Austria into Hitler-Germany, the MWV and IBG were dissolved; the Complete Edition was transferred to Leipzig, where the stocks of the publishing house were destroyed in an air-raid in 1945, shortly before the end of the war.

The Bruckner Complete Edition since 1951

After the end of the war, the IBG, MWV and Bruckner Complete Edition returned to Austria; in 1951, Leopold Nowak, now General Editor, brought out the first volume of the New Bruckner Complete Edition, a corrected reprint of Alfred Orel’s edition of the Ninth Symphony. In the first instance, Nowak devoted himself to revising the scores which had been edited before 1945, incorporating newly-discovered sources and eliminating printing errors. It soon became clear that Nowak’s veritably philological faithfulness to the musical texts bequeathed by Bruckner to posterity (repeatedly revised by the composer, it must be remembered) was quite incompatible with Haas’s attempts to produce a kind of 'ideal version' of the Second and the Eighth by mixing the composer’s versions. True to his principles, Nowak published the Symphony No. 8 in its two quite decisively different versions in two separate volumes, and furthermore published a revised Symphony No. 7 in full accordance with the 'last will and testament' autograph, replacing the earlier edition in which Haas had decided to ignore the amendments Bruckner had effected by sticking new music in over the old, or by erasing the old with a razor-blade.

Chronology of the Bruckner Complete Edition 1951-1989 (General Editor: Leopold Nowak)
1951Symphony No. 9 (Nowak)
Symphony No. 5 (Nowak)
 
1952Symphony No. 6 (Nowak)
1953Symphony No. 4, Second Version (Nowak)
Symphony No. 1, 'Linz Version' (Nowak)
1954Symphony No. 7 (Nowak)
1955Symphony No. 8, Second Version (Nowak)
String Quartet in C minor (Nowak)
1957Mass in D minor (Nowak)
1959Symphony No. 3, Third Version (Nowak)
Mass in E minor, Second Version (Nowak)
1960Mass in F minor (Nowak)  
1962Te Deum (Nowak)  
1963String Quintet with Intermezzo (Nowak)  
1964Psalm 150 (Grasberger)  
1965Symphony No. 2 (Nowak)  
1966Requiem (Nowak) 
1968Symphony No. 0 (Nowak)  
1972Symphony No. 8, First Version (Nowak)  
1973Study Symphony in F minor (Nowak)  
1975 Symphony No. 4, First Version (Nowak)
Missa Solemnis in B flat (Nowak)
 
1977 Mass in E minor, First Version (Nowak)
Symphony No. 3, First Version (Nowak)
 
1980Adagio No. 2 of Symphony No. 3 (Nowak)
Symphony No. 1, 'Vienna Version' (Brosche)
 
1981Finale (1878 version) of Symphony No. 4 (Nowak)
Symphony No. 3, Second Version (Nowak)
 
1984Smaller sacred works (Bauernfeind - Nowak)  
1985Rondo for String Quartet in C minor (Nowak)  
1987Cantatas and choral works with orchestra (Burkhart - Führer - Nowak)  
1988Solo piano music (Litschauer)  

In 1989 ill health forced Leopold Nowak to step down as General Editor of the Bruckner Complete Edition, and he asked Herbert Vogg, General Manager of the MWV, to supervise the production of the still outstanding volumes of music. This task – thanks to the cooperation and hard work of a number of prominent Bruckner researchers – was brought to completion in 2001.

Chronology of the Complete Bruckner Edition 1990-2001
(General Manager: Herbert Vogg)

From 1990 on, reprintings incorporated revisions, primarily on the basis of Rüdiger Bornhöft's lists of misprints. These revisions were also incorporated into the study scores of the symphonies published under licence by Eulenburg from 1992 to 1996.
1994Symphony No. 9: Finale fragment (Phillips)
Piano works for four hands (Litschauer)
1995Symphony No. 1: Fragment of the original Adagio; the older Scherzo (Grandjean).
Abendklänge for violin and piano (Litschauer)
1996Symphony No. 9: Finale fragment. Facsimile volume (Phillips)
Four orchestral pieces (Jancik and Bornhöft)
Overture in G minor (Jancik and Bornhöft)
March in E flat major (Bornhöft)
Magnificat (Hawkshaw)
Psalm 146 (Hawkshaw)
Psalm 112 (Hawkshaw)
1997Psalm 114 (Hawkshaw)
Psalm 22 (Hawkshaw)
Songs for voice and piano (Pachovsky)
1998Symphony No. 9, Monograph on the 2nd movement: Drafts, older Trio (Cohrs)
Organ works (Horn)
Letters 1852-1886 (Harrandt – Schneider)
Requiem. New edition (Nowak - Bornhöft)
2000Symphony No. 9. New edition (Cohrs)
2001Secular choral works (Pachovsky - Reinthaler)
2002 Symphony No. 9. Finale. Documentary score (Phillips)
2003 Letters 1887-1896 (Harrandt – Schneider)
2004 Symphony No. 4, Third Version 1888 (Korstvedt)
2005 Symphony No. 2, First Version 1872 (Carragan)
Messe F MInor. New edition (Hawkshaw)
2007 String Quintet / Intermezzo. New edition (Gruber)
Symphony No. 2, Second Version 1877 (Carragan)
   

Vocal scores were produced for the vocal works where they had not yet been made, and volumes hitherto only available in large format were published as study scores. With the exception of the piano works, the songs and the secular choral works, the entire Bruckner Complete Edition is now available in study scores.

Nowak himself entrusted the editing of the Second Symphony in two separate volumes (to replace Haas's hybrid edition) to William Carragan. Scores and parts of both versions are now available.

The Ninth – a symphony in a category of its own
The crowning glory of Leopold Nowak's life's work was to have been a new edition of the Ninth, the 1951 edition of which was only in fact a corrected reprint of the pre-war Orel edition. The task of revising and completing Orel's 'Sketches and drafts for the Ninth' of 1934 was one which Nowak was putting off until after the conclusion of the Complete Edition. Only a few days before he passed away, Nowak entrusted the Australian Bruckner scholar John A. Phillips with the task of reviewing and preparing this extensive material for publication.
Phillips's reconstruction of the Finale fragment contained no additions whatsoever and was accompanied by a detailed commentary. Merely the presentation of the extant score, short score, and movement sequence pages made it a sensation. It shows a remarkably bold movement at an advanced stage of composition and in part with full instrumentation, but certain of the paginated manuscript sheets are no longer extant and the composition becomes noticeably thinner towards the end of the recapitulation. In order to demonstrate to a wider public what compositional stage Bruckner had reached, Phillips prepared the Finale fragment with the greatest care for performance in concert, leaving gaps for verbal commentary. This documentation was given its first performance by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Nikolaus Harnoncourt in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein in November 1999.

When Benjamin Gunnar Cohrs, who, like Phillips, had decades of experience of working on Bruckner's Ninth and its sources, was drawing up the critical report on the three completed movements of the symphony, the abundance of new detail which had emerged provided a compelling argument for producing a new score. Bruckner habitually left putting in the final dynamic and agogic nuances until after the completion of the whole work, and was prevented from doing this not only in the Finale but also in the three 'complete' movements. New findings related to this fact are taken into consideration in Cohrs' new score, which also contains a detailed commentary section, incorporated in a way that does not interfere with the general look of the score itself. For ease of reference, the page-breaks of the Nowak edition have been retained.

An the extensive of extant source material is being prepared for publication in monographs on the individual movements and in a single additional textual volume covering all four movements. Benjamin Gunnar Cohrs' monograph on the second movement has already appeared.

Critical reports
For Nowak, it was a matter of the highest priority that all Bruckner's compositions should be made available in transparent and reliable musical editions. The accompanying critical reports were to be scientific but nevertheless 'readable', suitable for use in musical practice. Old age prevented Nowak from bringing this aim to fulfilment. As the following list shows, however, the critical reports for the vast majority of the volumes of the Complete Edition are now either in print or in preparation:

Symphony No. 1, all versions (in preparation, Röder)
Symphony No. 2, all versions (in preparation, Carragan)
Symphony No. 3, all versions (Röder 1997)
Symphony No. 4, all versions (in preparation, Korstvedt)
Symphony No. 5 (Haas - Nowak 1983)
Symphony No. 6 (Haas - Nowak 1986)
Symphony No. 7 (Bornhöft 2003)
Symphony No. 8 (Hawkshaw 2014)
Symphony No. 9, 1st, 2nd and 3rd movements. (Cohrs 2002)
  Monograph on the second movement (Cohrs)
Studiensymphonie (Nowak 1981)
Studiensymphonie (Nowak 1981)
Symphony No. 0 (Nowak 1981)
Solo piano music (Litschauer, in the reprint of the 2000 volume)
Piano works for four hands (Litschauer, 1994 volume)
Organ works (Horn 2001)
Abendklänge (Litschauer in the 1995 volume)
Rondo for String Quartet (not yet commissioned)
Four orchestral pieces (Bornhöft in the 1996 volume)
Overture in G minor (Bornhöft in the 1996 volume)
March in E flat major (Bornhöft in the 1996 volume)
String Quartet in C minor (Nowak 1956)
String Quintet / Intermezzo (in preparation, Gruber)
Requiem (Bornhöft 2000)
Missa Solemnis in B flat (Haas - Nowak 1977)
Mass in D minor (Bornhöft 1999)
Mass in E minor (in preparation, Hawkshaw)
Mass in F minor (Hawkshaw 2004)
Te Deum (not yet commissioned)
Psalms and Magnificat (Hawkshaw 2002)
Smaller sacred works (Nowak 1984)
Cantatas and choral works (not yet commissioned)
Songs for voice and piano (Pachovsky in the 1997 volume)
Secular choral works (in preparation, Pachovsky)

New orchestral parts for the symphonies
New orchestral parts are now available for the following symphonies: Nos.2/1, 2/2, 3/2, 3/3, 4/2, F 4/3, 5, 6, 7, 8/2, 9.
New orchestral parts are being prepared for the following symphonies: Nos. 3/1 and 8/1.

For further information on the history of the Bruckner Complete Edition, see:
Leopold Nowak, Die Anton Bruckner-Gesamtausgabe. Ihre Geschichte und Schicksale (Bruckner-Jahrbuch 1982/83; MV 203);
Herbert Vogg, Ein Versprechen wurde eingelöst (Bruckner-Jahrbuch 1997-2000; MV 209);
Mitteilungsblatt der IBG: 'Studien und Berichte' No. 56, June 2001.

Further details are published in the general catalogue of the Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag and in the special catalogue devoted to Anton Bruckner.