Having sung Bruckner for the first time this year, I knew that I had to find some way to shoehorn him into my Advent Calendar! He’s another of the romantic composers, and his harmonies are so deliciously lush, and every line gets the most beautiful melodies. Also, I’ve decided that he is great-great-uncle Bruckner, because my great grandmother was a Brukner and from Vienna and a singer, and really, how many professional-level musician Bru(c)kners could really have been wandering around Vienna in the late 19th – early 20th century anyway? He must be some kind of relative.
(of course, I wouldn’t be saying that if my great-grandmother’s surname had been Rutter)
Anyway, the tricky part here was finding something Advent appropriate. I did find Virga Jesse Floruit, which is pretty much a Christmas anthem (and I certainly recommend it to your attention if you listen to this one and need more Bruckner afterward), and quite appropriate, but it didn’t quite speak to me. But then YouTube led me to this one, and it turns out that I *had* in fact sung Bruckner before and had inexplicably failed to notice that he was my cousin. This anthem is really intended for Lent (being about how Christ was obedient even unto death on the cross for us, and for this reason his name is above all other names), but I have it on excellent authority that Lenten texts can be appropriate for Advent, this being a season of fasting and reflection too.
And to be honest, having heard this anthem again, there was no way I wasn’t going to include it, because it is Cousin Anton (I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me calling him that) at his best. It’s dramatic and lyrical and exciting to sing and has some absolutely heart-stopping moments (and in the alto line, too!) – I love that bit right at the end after the huge climactic chords when the parts come back in one by one on the ‘qui est super…’ – it sends shivers down my spine.