< Back to the Music and MIDI Page
< Portuguese version
The Several Versions of Bruckner's Symphonies (a synopsis)
This is a short text meant to be used as a quick reference
for simple questions about
the multiple versions of Bruckner symphonies. I compiled it for my
own use but came
to believe it could be useful for other people with the same doubts
I had at the time I
started looking into the problem. Almost everything that is in it I
learned from the
very knowledgeable discussions of David
Griegel, Henry Fogel and Juan Cahis in
rec.music.classical. Of course
they aren't responsible for the mistakes it may contain.
Also, I apologize for my far from perfect English.
An excellent Bruckner
Discography is mantained by John F. Berky. A link to the
relevant part of the Discography is provided below, for each version
of the symphonies.
Symphony in F minor "Study Symphony"
Original version (and the only one), begun in 15th
February and completed in 26th May 1863. First performance by
Franz Moissl in 18th March 1924. Published by Nowak .
Symphony in D minor "die Nullte" ("no.
Original version (and the only one), completed in 1869.
It's doubtful that there ever was a former score (1863) of this symphony,
as it was believed. First edition [1924, Universal] by J. Wöss, not
reliable for it has changes introduced by Wöss. First played in 12th
October 1924 in Klosterneuburg under Franz Moissl. Critical edition by
Symphony no. 1 in C minor
Original 1866 version, composed in Linz between May 1865
and April 1866. First performance in Linz on 9th May 1868, conducted by
Bruckner. Haas didn't publish a score of it but provided a description.
A complete reconstruction was prepared by William Carragan in 1998.
1877 version, also called the "Linz Version" (misleadingly,
since Bruckner had left Linz in 1868). It is the result of a rhythmic revision
made in 1877, but includes perhaps some slight changes made as far as 1884.
This is the version commonly performed. The Haas  and Nowak 
editions of this version have no significant differences.
Revised version prepared by Bruckner in 1889/1891, also called
the "Vienna Version". First performed in Vienna in December 13th
1891 by Hans Richter. The modern critical edition of this version is by
G. Brosche .
The First Edition of the symphony, published by Doblinger in 1893 under
the supervision of Hynais, uses this revised version, although with some
few changes in relation to the manuscript score of 1891 (some of these
changes were accepted by Haas as authentic in his edition  of the
Symphony no. 2 in C minor
1872 version (First concept version), composed between
11th October 1871 and 11th September 1872. Critical
edition by William Carragan for the Bruckner Society.
1873 version (First performance version) prepared for the
first performance on 26th October 1873 by the Vienna P.O. under
Bruckner. There were many changes in this revision. The order of the inner
movements was reversed; in the Adagio, the horn solo at the end was changed
to a clarinet solo and a violin solo was added. The repeats were canceled
in the Scherzo and Trio, a passage in the Finale was completely rewritten,
and a fourth trombone was added in the final few bars to reinforce the
bass line. Critical version by William Carragan (still unpublished).
1876 version, prepared in 1875-76 and performed on 20th
February 1876 also by the Vienna P.O under Bruckner. There weren't many
changes this time. In the Finale, some material from the 1872 version,
cut in 1873, was restored, the new passage added in 1873 was shortened,
the fourth trombone was removed from the final bars and, instead, unison
strings were introduced at the very end.
1877 version, presents more significant changes. Compared
to the 1872 version, there is a cut in the first movement (although this
cut might have been made in 1876). There was also a cut made in the Adagio,
and the violin solo was removed. The Scherzo was modified slightly, with
some bars being repeated at the end of the Scherzo and its reprise. In
the Finale, the new passage (which was shortened in 1876) was removed and
replaced with yet another passage. The final few bars were changed again,
mainly in the trumpet parts. And the last few bars of the first movement
were stretched out a bit.
Neither Haas  nor Nowak  editions represent pure versions.
Contrary to what is still commonly said, Haas doesn't present the original
version, but is based primarily on the 1877 version, with some elements
of the 1872 version. The Nowak edition is actually a close approximation
to the 1877 version as long as the cuts are observed and an error in the
trumpet parts at the end of the first movement is fixed. The new definitive
edition by William Carragan  removes from the Nowak edition the anomalies
that had remained from Haas.
1892 version, with slight revisions made by Bruckner between
1891 and 1892. The final bars were stretched out a little bit further,
and new trombone parts, similar to the 1877 trumpet parts, were introduced
near the very end of the Finale. This last version is used in the First
Edition, published in 1892 by Doblinger under the supervision of Hynais
and later republished many times. The Doblinger edition was considered
inauthentic for a long time, but now it is recognized as being a more accurate
realization of the 1877 version than either the Haas or Nowak editions.
Symphony no. 3 in D minor
Original 1873 version, composition begun 23rd
February 1873, full score completed 31st December 1873. An early
draft was presented to Wagner in Bayereuth in September 1873, when the
Finale still hadn't been orchestrated. A complete fair copy was later sent
to Wagner in the Spring of 1874, and this is the basis of the Nowak edition
1874 version, represents, accordingly to Bruckner, "a considerable
improvement of the first version". Unpublished and unrecorded.
1876 version, is the result of a rhythmic revision; only
the Adagio of this version has been published so far - Nowak
1877 version, composed 1876-77. The Wagner quotations are
suppressed, the Finale is shortened and the Scherzo gets a new ending.
First performance in Vienna on 16th December 1877, under Bruckner's
direction. The First Edition was published in 1880, by Rättig, with
some small differences from the autograph of the 1877 version, like the
elimination of the coda of the Scherzo. (In fact the Coda is marked "not
to be printed" in the autograph.) There is no surviving Haas edition of
this symphony, and the first critical edition for the Bruckner Society
was prepared by Oeser in 1950. Oeser edition is a mixture of the 1877 version
and the 1880 edition, for it's based on the autograph score, but follows
the printed score by leaving off the coda of the Scherzo. The Nowak edition
of the 1877 version (incorporating the coda of the Scherzo) appeared in
1981 and has since then become the most favoured edition of the work.
1888/89 version is a revision made with the help of Franz
Schalk during the years 1888-89. The work was further shortened, and the
Coda of the Scherzo dropped again. Changes in the orchestration modified
the whole climate of the work, bringing it closer to the sound world of
the last symphonies. This version was published with some modifications
by Rättig in 1890 (Second Edition). First performed on December 21st
1890 by the VPO under Hans Richter. The critical edition of this version
is Nowak's . Before the recent prominence of the 1877 version, it
was the most played version.
Symphony no. 4 in E flat "Romantic"
Original 1874 version, composed between 2nd
January and 31st October 1874, orchestration finished on 22nd
November. Edited by Nowak .
1878 version - The Scherzo and the Trio were substituted
by completely new pieces. The first movement, the Andante and the Finale
were thoroughly revised. This 1878 Finale (Volksfest) was published
separately by Haas [1936 app.] and Nowak .
First Performance version - In 1880 the Finale was replaced
by the one we know today. This was the version used in the first performance,
conducted in 20th February 1881 by Hans Richter. Unpublished
1881 version - Revisions were made just after the first
performance, including a cut in the Andante and a nontrivial reworking
of the Finale. This was the version played (with some cuts) at the second
performance of the work on 10th December 1881 by Felix Mottl
in Karlsruhe. Usually called "1878/1880" version. Published by Haas .
(In 1944 Haas prepared another edition, which is actually a mixture of
the 1881 and 1878 versions).
1886 version - Some small modifications, before sending the
score to Anton Seidl in New York. It is possible that the modifications
were completed in 1882. The version published by Nowak  was based
on this score, found at the Columbia University. Also usually called "1878/1880"
Revised version 1887-88, prompted by Loewe but now thought
to be chiefly the work of Bruckner himself. This is the version used in
the First Edition of the symphony, published in 1889, with some alterations,
by Guttmann in Vienna. Performed in Munich (Levi?) on 10th December
Symphony no. 5 in B flat
Original version composed from February 1875 to May 1876.
The later revision was made on the same score, so it is not possible to
recover this original version, although Haas provided some indications
to this effect
1878 version A thorough revision was concluded in November
1878. The Haas  and Nowak  editions of this version don't present
any significant difference between them.
Revised version made in 1892-4 by Franz Schalk and employed
in the first performance of the work (Graz, April 8th 1894).
It was published in 1896 by Doblinger (First Edition of the work). Bruckner
had very little to do with this revision, that introduces large cuts especially
in the Finale.
Symphony no. 6 in A
Original version composed from September 1879 to September
1881. It was never modified by Bruckner. The Haas  and Nowak 
editions don't present any significant differences.
Slightly revised version by C. Hynais for the publication
by Doblinger in 1899 (First Edition). Although Hynais work was careful,
the final printed text contains many errors and changes introduced by an
unknown hand. Another edition of this version, prepared by Wöss, was
published in 1927.
Symphony no. 7 in E
Original version composed from 23rd September
1881 to 10th August 1883. First performance in Leipzig (by Arthur
Nikisch) on 30th December 1884. The later revision was made
once more over the original text, so that an exact edition of the original
1883 version cannot possibly be made, although the Haas edition 
restored some parts of it.
1885 version - Some changes were introduced by Bruckner
under the influence of Schalk, Loewe, and Nikisch (among others the inclusion
of cymbals, triangle, and timpani in the Adagio). These changes were made
shortly after the first performance, and are incorporated in the First
Edition of the work, published by Gutmann . Some of the changes in
tempo and dynamic, although not in Bruckner's hand, were sanctioned by
Nowak in his edition  and put between parentheses. If they are skipped,
little difference remains between Haas and Nowak. The percussion is likewise
maintained by Nowak in the Adagio, while Haas omits it. A famous passage
is the cymbal clash (with triangle) at the climax of the Adagio, which
some conductors play, others don't.
Symphony no. 8 in C minor
Original version, composed from October 1884 to August
1885. Many and important revisions take place until 3rd July
1887. The first publication of this rarely performed version was by Nowak
1890 version, prepared by Bruckner and Josef Schalk. The
critical edition is Nowak . It includes a re-writing of the end of
first movement (so that it gains a soft ending instead of the loud ending
of the original version), and substantial changes in the Adagio and the
Trio. Also, some cuts were made with advice from Schalk. The Nowak edition
includes all these changes and cuts, and considers them as representing
the final decisions of Bruckner. Haas edition , if we leave aside
some minor complications, can be said to be basically a combination of
1887 and 1890 versions. Haas accepted the re-writings and changes as being
Bruckner's genuine decisions, but restored all the cuts introduced under
the alleged influence of Schalk. Because of that, it is somewhat longer
than Nowak's. This, among all Bruckner symphonies, is the one that presents
the largest differences when it comes to the Haas or Nowak editions, and
the preferences of conductors are evenly distributed among them.
Revised version of 1892, prepared for the publication of
the First Edition by Robert Lienau, in that same year. Further cuts were
made at the suggestion of Schalk, who also introduced changes of dynamics,
phrasing, and orchestration. This was the version played in the first performance,
by Hans Richter, in Vienna on 18 December 1892.
Symphony no. 9 in D minor
At the time of his death in October 1896 Bruckner had completed the
first three movements and left copious sketches for the Finale.
Original version The first three movements were composed
between September 1887 and November 1894. Critical edition by Orel .
Nowak  just corrects some few very minor typographical errors in
the Orel edition.
Revised version of 1903 by Loewe, for the First Edition published
by Doblinger in the same year. It contains a large amount of changes never
authorized by Bruckner.
It was the performance of this 9th Symphony in 1932 by the Munich
Philharmonic under Siegmund von Hausseger at a semi-private concert in
both the Loewe and the Orel editions that provided the impetus for the
support and funding of the Bruckner Society to prepare authentic versions
of all of the symphonies.
The Finale Completions
There are two performing editions of the Finale, one by William Carragan,
published in 1984, other by Samale, Phillips, Mazzuca and Cohrs, in 1992.
Of this later version, there is an earlier draft, by Samale and Mazzuca
to the Music and MIDI page