An unusual Bruckner signature
Autograph Signature after the Vienna Premiere of Bruckner's 7th Symphony
Elusive autograph signature from the influential Austrian composer and organist who has signed on the verso of a menu, Vienna, 21/3/1886. The menu, printed on cardstock, features an embossed Coat of Arms and is inscribed in another hand "Erinnerung vom Festmahl nach der 1 Aufführung von Bruckners VII. Symphonie in Wien durch Philharmoniker im großen Musik-Ver. Saal" ["in memory of the feast after the first performance of Bruckner's VII. Symphony in Vienna by the Philharmonic in the great Music Hall." The verso features the printed menu dated "Vienne le 21 Mars 1886." Autograph material of any kind from Bruckner is extremely rare. Sold together with a vintage postcard photograph.
The 7th Symphony was performed for the first time publicly in Vienna on March 21, 1886, conducted by Hans Richter. "When the Seventh Symphony was introduced to Vienna, it had become a sort of obligation upon the composer's adopted city. Sensational reports of some of the performances elsewhere reminded Vienna that the composer they had hardly noticed through the years was being discovered as a symphonist to be reckoned with. Thus Bruckner was for the first time included in the subscription programs of the Vienna Philharmonic. Circumstances were otherwise unfavorable, for the Wagner haters were necessarily Bruckner haters, and a succes such as the new Symphony had had in Leipzig, Munich and Graz could not be countenanced. The concert began at 12:30 (What was lunchtime in Vienna?) and traversed an overture by Méhul and a piano concerto of Beethoven before the audience was subjected to the difficult new work. It was evident when the first movement had ended that the audience had passed judgement in advance and that that judgement was not undivided. There were demonstrations of applause, but also many departures. After the long adagio and after the scherzo both the applause and the exodus increased. At the end Bruckner was called out four or five times. He beames with joy and made short and awkward bows, murmuring 'Kuss d'Hand, Kuss d'Hand.' A laurel wreath was presented by the Wagner-Verein. At a Fest-Bankett given in the Spatenkeller by that Society, Hans Richter admitted in a congratulatory speech that he had approached the new Symphony with mistrust which was replaced by glowing enthusiasm, a feeling shared by every player from the concertmaster to the timpanist as they had given the best they knew in the performance. Bruckner shed tears when he was presented with a bust of his god, Richard Wagner. A telegram from Johann Strauss Jr. was read: 'Am much moved - it was the greatest impression of my life.'"
(James Lyons, BSO program Notes 11/21/67) (11932)