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Motet Notes

Anton Bruckner: Locus Iste


Although mostly known for his nine symphonies, Anton Bruckner’s compositional output includes sacred masterworks as well. Bruckner assiduously studied the music of Renaissance Italian polyphonic masters such as Palestrina and German Baroque composers, especially Bach. Locus iste was written in 1869, to celebrate the dedication of the votive chapel of the cathedral at Linz, where Bruckner had been the cathedral organist. The chorus’s opening phrase is a solidly spaced C major chord, but then the harmony becomes transparently chromatic. The texture thins in the middle of the piece at irreprehensibilis est (“it is without reproach”) until the symmetry of C major returns.

© Ryan Turner