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Paul Hawkshaw creates new critical edition of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony

Paul Hawkshaw

Paul Hawkshaw 

On April 6, The Yale Philharmonia, led by Principal Conductor Peter Oundjian, will perform Bruckner's Seventh Symphony using a new, critical edition created by Yale School of Music Professor Emeritus of Music Paul Hawkshaw. Oundjian recently explained that Hawkshaw "has spent years ... in Vienna going through the autograph (manuscript) ... of this piece," and that members of the orchestra "are aware that they are experiencing this edition for the first time, and this is the first live performance. ... it's a great privilege."

Hawkshaw created a new edition of (the first version of) Bruckner's Eighth Symphony in 2017, and Oundjian and the Yale Philharmonia performed that work, using Hawkshaw's edited score, that same year. Creating a new score for the Seventh Symphony, Hawkshaw said, was "more complicated than the Eighth." Whereas he had access to the autograph score and two complete copies of the Eighth, Hawkshaw only had access to the single autograph manuscript of the Seventh.

"(Bruckner) engaged a student of his, Franz Schalk, to help prepare the manuscript for printing," Hawkshaw said. And Schalk made unauthorized changes before it was published in 1885 in Vienna. Subsequent editions were created in 1944 and 1954 by Robert Haas and Leopold Nowak, respectively. Haas removed much of what Schalk had added,  including many important things authorized by the composer. Nowak largely returned that material to the score in editorial brackets as though it were optional. "Finally, we now have a score that's going to look like and sound like Bruckner wanted it to sound—something that resembles what Bruckner had in his mind in 1885," Hawkshaw said. 

"I really love the music," Hawkshaw said, explaining that he was introduced to Bruckner's work by Georg Tintner, who conducted the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, in which a young Hawkshaw played. 

Hawkshaw's work has been published under the auspices of the Austrian National Library and the International Bruckner Society—on whose editorial board he sits—with the patronage of the Vienna Philharmonic. Hawkshaw will next turn his attention to the composer's Second Symphony. All the new scores are part of an ongoing project to publish definitive editions in The New Anton Bruckner Collected Edition

The Bruckner Journal and the Bruckner Society of America will hold their biennial Readers Conference, sponsored by the Yale School of Music, on April 6 and April 7. Learn more about the Yale Philharmonia's April 6 program here