Music and Vision homepage



TREVOR HOLD has dragged
from oblivion some music
you will not know.

6. Bruckner's
Cabaret Songs


These pieces could well be dubbed 'The Sins of My Old Age'. For it was not until the last year of his life that the fastidious Bruckner, dreamily counting doorknobs in a Vienna street, inadvertently found himself inside a night-club at the height of a cabaret. So fascinated was he by what he saw and heard that he put aside his Ninth Symphony, took out fresh manuscript paper and threw off half-a-dozen songs in one sitting. These quickly became regular items in the repertoire of such artistes as Hannes Rauch and Elsa Seeman, though it is doubtful if any of them were aware of the distinguished composer of the songs, as Bruckner, wisely perhaps, had circulated them under a pseudonym.

Most of the songs are unsuitable for concert performance owing to the salaciousness of their texts, but some deserve to be more well-known, notably 'Mit wem warst du letzte Nacht?' and 'Hallo, wer ist deine Freundin?', the latter with its endearing pasodoble rhythms. Pithy and to the point, at once witty and wryly humorous, these songs shed a completely new light on their composer. One song even makes sly reference to the current ragtime hit, 'Turkey in the Straw'. Had Bruckner lived, who knows?, he might have incorporated a cakewalk into the unfinished Finale of his Ninth Symphony and so achieved the distinction of being the first European composer to use authentic negro folk-music!


Copyright © Trevor Hold, December 30th 1999


 << Music & Vision homepage            Schoenberg's 'Rhapsody on Greensleeves' >>