Benjamin M. Korstvedt
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2000
Online Publication Date:November 2009
Subjects: Nineteenth-century music
Robert Haas's edition of the Eighth Symphony is a problem. It was one of the last of his Bruckner editions to appear, and it represents his editorial approach at its most extreme. Despite its label of “Original Version,” Haas's edition does not strictly follow either the 1887 version or the 1890 version, but instead is an editorial conflation that incorporates some elements derived from the 1887 version into the text of the 1890 version. Haas justified this procedure on the basis of what he understood to be the story of the symphony's creation and revision. He believed that Bruckner was crushed by Levi's response to the 1887 version and contended that in its aftermath Bruckner was subject to manipulation, if not coercion, by Levi and Josef Schalk. In the preface to his score, Haas wrote darkly of Bruckner's “forced promise [abgezwungene Versprechen]” to revise the symphony and of the “coerced cuts [abgenötige Kürzungen]” found in the revised version. Because of this supposed taint of external influence (what Haas called “fremden Einfluβbereichs”), Haas felt called upon when preparing his edition, which is based primarily on the 1890 version, to “reach back to the first version in some passages, in order to restore the authentic sound and sense.”
Compared to the 1890 version, Haas's score contains sporadic minor changes in the orchestration, which are derived from the 1887 version, in the first movement, the Finale, and more extensive ones in the Adagio.