Holy Smoke

Calm fire: the consolation of listening to Bruckner

31 min listen

In This Episode

Here’s an episode of Holy Smoke to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anton Bruckner later this year. This embarrassingly eccentric genius was, perhaps, the most devoutly Catholic of all the major composers – but you don’t have to be religious to appreciate the unique consolation offered by his gigantic symphonies. On the other hand, it’s hard to appreciate the unique flavour of Bruckner without taking into account the influence of the liturgy on his sublime slow movements and what the (atheist) composer and Bruckner scholar Robert Simpson called the ‘calm fire’ of his blazing finales. If you make it through to the end of this episode, you’ll hear exactly what he meant.

Produced by Patrick Gibbons