Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Maier, Elisabeth. "Der Choral in den Kirchenmusik Bruckners." In Bruckner Symposion: Anton Bruckner und die Kirchenmusik, ed. Othmar Wessely, 111-22. Linz: Anton Bruckner-Institut, 1988.

Scholars have disagreed over the extent of Gregorian chant’s influence on Bruckner’s sacred works, with some arguing that Bruckner’s church compositions are fundamentally rooted in the techniques of chant, and others claiming that any correspondences between Bruckner’s sacred music and Gregorian chant is coincidental. A more nuanced approach demonstrates that Bruckner’s use of chant melodies and chant-like procedures varied considerably and included direct quotation, use of alternatim, and modeling his melodic phrase structure on chants. Of the works based directly on Gregorian chant melodies, Bruckner’s Veni Creator Spiritus, WAB 50, is a useful example of nineteenth-century chant harmonization practices, while the paraphrase Ave regina coelorum, WAB 8, is an original composition derived from an existing chant melody. Other works, such as Tota pulchra es, WAB 46, and Ecce Sacerdos, WAB 13, feature more indirect allusions to the Gregorian chant tradition—for instance, setting the piece in the Phrygian mode, or adopting a call-and-response format between a single voice and full choir—which could be considered “unconscious borrowing.” It is unclear how deeply Bruckner’s use of chant and chant-like procedures was intertwined with nineteenth-century movements in reforming sacred music, and the aesthetic significance of these borrowings—particularly for the congregations who first heard Bruckner’s sacred works—warrants further study.

Works: Bruckner: Veni Creator Spiritus, WAB 50 (114-15), Ave regina coelorum, WAB 8 (115-16), Inveni David, WAB 20 (117), Tota pulchra es, WAB 46 (118-19), Ecce Sacerdos, WAB 13 (118-19), Salvum fac populum tuum, WAB 40 (119), Windhaager Messe, WAB 25 (119), Asperges me, WAB 4 (120), Tantum ergo, WAB 41 (120), Ave Maria, WAB 7 (120), Pange lingua, WAB 33 (120-21).

Sources: Anonymous (chant): Veni Creator Spiritus (114-15); Anonymous (chant): “Alleluia” from Missa de Sancta Maria ab Adventu usque ad Nativitatem Domini (115); Anonymous (chant): “Alleluia” from In medio ecclesiae (117); Anonymous (chant): “Alleluia” from Officium in festo Immaculatae Conceptionis Beatae Mariae Virginis (118); Anonymous (chant): Tonus solemnis (118); Anonymous (chant): “Kyrie” from Kyrie Deus sempiterne (119); Attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas: Pange lingua (120-21); Anonymous (chant): “In Festis Beatae Mariae Virginis” from Antiphonale Monasticum (120).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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