The Symphony No. 4 in E flat major is one of the most paradigmatic works of the symphonic writing of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896). Written in 1874, it became especially famous for its subtitle, "Romantic", which refers to the medieval ideal of love that Bruckner loved and appreciated so much in Wagnerian operas, especially Siegfried and Lohengrin. That would explain the elegiac character of the first movement, which aims to place us in the atmosphere of a society governed by the knightly code of honour and its challenges. In fact, Bruckner himself described the beginning of the symphony as the awakening of a day in a medieval military camp, announced by the horns, which soon leads to the image of knights heading toward the fight. The symphony maintains the operatic tone in the second movement, written as a declaration of love, with an undeniable air of pastoral serenade. After this lyricism, Bruckner quickly introduces us into a lively hunting scene, which we can imagine perfectly following the calls from the brass. In the final movement, we find the image of a fantastic knight meeting his own fate: the Brucknerian orchestra reaches levels of total intensity, moving between the battle and calm, between despair and bliss of the perfect warrior.
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 4 "Romantische"