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In Bruckner’s Fourth: Let your imagination run wild

Friday’s Valor concert puts our orchestra in the spotlight performing Anton Bruckner’s epic fourth symphony, titled “Romantic.”

Bruckner noted that the symphony’s story begins with dawn rising over a medieval city. “Knights sally forth into the countryside on their spirited horses” for a hunt, dancing and midday feast “surrounded by the magic of nature.” All the while, in “a rustic love scene,” a boy in love attempts to climb through his sweetheart’s window for a rendezvous.

But it seems Bruckner may have crafted this narrative only after he wrote the symphony to fit in with the style of musical colleagues like Franz Liszt and Robert Wagner.

Richard Freed writes for the Kennedy Center that, when pressed for details, Bruckner could only say, “I’m sorry, but I have forgotten what it was about.” Freed continues, “Since the music came before the program, it is just as well that Bruckner forgot parts of his after-the-fact scenario and thereby relieved listeners from being concerned with it. The title ‘Romantic’ is program enough, and it suits the spirit of the work in both its original form and its subsequent ones.”

So without the constraints of Bruckner’s storyline, we invite you to let your imagination gallop wildly into the woods. Close your eyes and create your own romantic narrative. Where will Bruckner’s Romantic Symphony take you?