There is no better demonstration of the late Romantic style than the music of Bruckner. This was a composer who worked on a grand scale – each of his most well-known pieces is a leviathan of classical composition, huge in size, scale and length. Although the composer wrote in other genres, such as choral music and songs, it is the symphonies that cement his place as one of the great Romantic composers.
Bruckner was, however, far removed from the image of the Romantic composer as a revolutionary rebel, instead demonstrating a simplicity of demeanour and a rare humility towards other musicians. He was a devoted follower of Wagner, aligning himself against Brahms and dedicating his Third Symphony to the Master of Bayreuth. His reputation was blighted by seeming indecision about authoritative versions of his works, no doubt related to being a late developer, finding his voice in his 40s and only achieving fame in his 60s. He was most influential upon Gustav Mahler who referred to Bruckner as his “forerunner”, with the orchestral drama and epic scale of his symphonies clearly exerting a power upon the younger composer.