Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, strongly polyphonic character, and considerable length. Bruckner's compositions helped to define contemporary musical radicalism, owing to their dissonances, unprepared modulations, and roving harmonies. Bruckner was greatly admired by subsequent composers including his friend Gustav Mahler, who described him as "half simpleton, half God".
Coming from a small farmer's village, Bruckner started his music education early, which he continued for a long time. Due to a mix of insecurity and eagerness to learn, Bruckner rushed from one study into another and he showed himself as a fanatic, but also remarkably talented, student. He started composing at an early age, but he considered everything before his 39th as mere practice. Bruckner never became a stable composer and relied on in short phases of creative energy. After these phases, he would spend ages revising his work. In particular his symphonies received countless revisions and new editions, which was also due to his insecurity, he was quite sensitive to criticism.
The premier of his Third Symphony was a disaster: a large part of the audience left the concert hall and a devastating review appeared afterwards. Luckily, appreciation for his work grew and at the time of his death, even the great Brahms attended his funeral.