Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) is today recognized as a leading symphonic composer of the Viennese school, in the direct lineage of Beethoven and Schubert. Nine of his eleven symphonies are mainstays of the late Romantic orchestral repertory, with the three mature masses and Te Deum representing the nal owering of the Austrian symphonic choral tradition as exemplied by the festive mass-oratorios of Haydn and Schubert. A less familiar side of Bruckner's work is found in his many smaller, occasional pieces for choir, some with instrumental accompaniment; all of which, in dramatic contrast to the symphonies, take only a few minutes in performance. The short choral works, both sacred and secular, date from all periods of Bruckner's creative life, which is to say from his rst known work (as a child of eleven!), a Pange Lingua of 1835, to the last completed opus, Helgoland of 1893. In most cases, the motets and choruses demonstrate a development of Bruckner's skill and imagination which parallels that seen in his better-known symphonies.
The most remarkable of these minor masterpieces, such as the Ecce sacerdos magnus or Das deutsche Lied, contain a microcosm of Bruckner's expansive yet potent symphonic technique, and in performance can overwhelm both performer and listener alike with a sense of trenchant power straining to burst the bounds of compact form. An important inuence peculiar to this area of Bruckner's creation is that of the golden age of Catholic church music as represented by Palestrina and other Renaissance masters, whose use of counterpoint is translated by Bruckner into the harmonic language of the late nineteenth century, producing a musical hybrid of austere beauty, archaic yet forward looking.