commentary to opus 91b

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Adagio "In memoriam Anton Bruckner" for large orchestra, op 91b (1989/1992)


Instrumentation: - - Timp., Perc. <3> Hrp., Strings

First performance: September 8, 1996, Linz, Brucknerhaus, Brucknersaal
Bruckner Orchester Linz / Ingo Ingensand

Duration: 10 Minutes

Publisher: Schott Music


Erwin Horn gave me the idea of orchestrating the 2nd movement of my Organ Fantasy, op. 91a. It was in the nature of such work that changes and additions were made, resulting in the present orchestral version.
The first 4 notes of the Adagio of Bruckner's 9th Symphony play an important role in both the linear and harmonic components of the movement. A four-bar chorale-like chord series, which I wrote down as an 8-year-old boy after hearing a Bruckner Symphony, provides the contrast whether in the pp range or at the climax of a 20-bar Passacaglia, whose bass notes are taken from a third theme. A syntactic idea at the medial section of the movement (bar 93 from a total of 142) is abruptly interrupted. A 10-bar phase in p follows. Immediately, the line of the chorale is resumed in tutti and again interrupted. Reflections on the 3rd theme, which recalls gestures of Bruckner's, and a final, guarded quotation from the chorale build a bridge to the coda. Above the held note e', various building blocks of the movement are touched upon. This Adagio dies away in extreme pp.
The work was written in September, 1992.

Bertold Hummel

The chorale idea in the Adagio "In memoriam Anton Bruckner" deserves particular attention. It sounds as if Bruckner had invented it - ppp misterioso - , and yet it came from the pen of the 8-year-old Bertold, who returned home full of impressions from Bruckner's 3rd Symphony and decided he would become a composer. The first thing he put down on paper was this bold chorale idea, which now achieves its fulfilment in his Bruckner Fantasy.

This homage to the master of St. Florian culminates in this chorale after a long build-up to the full forces of the orchestra.

Erwin Horn



Fränkisches Volksblatt, 7th November, 1996

The opening of the programme with Bertold Hummel's "in memoriam Anton Bruckner" for large orchestra, op. 91b set the atmosphere perfectly for the Symphony that followed it. It is striking that Hummel is both an excellent artist in instrumentation and also a master of the musical language of Bruckner. One hears idiomatic Bruckner, mixed with Hummel's unmistakable writing, nothing less than a small masterpiece with no need to hide itself in Bruckner's shadow. Symphonic music in every way, permeated with subtle refinements. Hummel even includes a hint of Tristan melody (Wagner was for Bruckner a god on earth), in unison of course, and typical eruptions neutralise each other in Hummel's Adagio to produce a gently flowing Tranquillo.


Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 9th September, 1996

Hummel's Adagio in Memoriam Bruckner is a densely woven gathering and re-working of Bruckner motifs with am independent component of personal thoughts over their musical significance.

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