Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Bruckner, most famous today for his vast, sprawling symphonies, was also a significant church musician, becoming the organist of the Linz cathedral and eventually the court in Vienna. Bruckner subscribed to the Cecilian Movement in choral music, which attempted to restore Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony to Austrian sacred music.

The text of Os justi comes from Psalm 37: 30-31. This four-part setting, completed in 1879, is an extraordinary motet in the Lydian mode. It is remarkable in that it achieves its harmonic power and lushness without ever using a single sharp, flat, seventh chord, 6-4 chord or chordal combinations of more than five simultaneous notes. Bruckner's infusion of Romantic feeling into a spare choral language in the spirit of the Ceclian movement is truly unique.  Composed in ABA’ form, the central main section in counterpoint is interrupted by a chordal passage, and the work ends with a chant-like "Alleluia."  

©Ryan Turner

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