The Angry Corrie 19: Jul-Sep 1994

12 Differences between Bruckner's 5th and
Bruach na Frithe

  1. In 1875-6, Anton Bruckner, composer, completed his 5th Symphony. At around the same time, Sir Shug Munro, Queen's Messenger, began thinking of compiling his eponymous Tables - which would soon propel the peak of Bruach na Frithe into the public consciousness. A similar process recently occurred when, the day after Deacon Blue's last and final gig, "Rikki" Ross's beloved Dundee Utd finally won the Scottish Cup. Some things, it seems, simply cannot co-exist.
  2. Bruckner hailed from Austria - a country infamous for its higher-than-average proportion of fascists. Bruach na Frithe is to be found on Skye, an island thankfully free of racists - at least until the brownshirted ranks of Settlerwatch recently began to swell.
  3. Bruckner's 5th (or "Fantastic") marked a critical point in his symphonic development, moving away from the wilful provincialism of his youth to the noble maturity of his later years. Bruach na Frithe also marked a critical point in the hillclimbing development of TAC's very own Perkin Warbeck, it being his first Munro. Oddly, Bruckner's greatest and most loyal supporter was an Austrian conductor called Johann von Herbeck.
  4. There is considerable confusion over the number of symphonies in Bruckner's oeuvre. Although the accepted wisdom states there to be (of course) nine, there is also a No. 0, along with an obscure F Minor symphony. Confusion also abounds over the number of Munros on the main Cuillin ridge. Although 11 in total, Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Da Dubh Bheinn Bheinn Da Mhor both lie on adjoining spurs. On misty days, all the peaks tend toward obscurity.
  5. Bruckner's 9th symphony (or his 11th if you count the other two) was left unfinished. Many have been the scramblers blithely crossing Bruach na Frithe towards the end of their ridge traverse, only to meet their nemesis at the awesome Tooth and having to similarly leave the ridge unfinished.
  6. Bruckner was, for a time, Professor of Composition at the Conservatory in Wien. In June 1987, to mark Maggie's third election victory, a small band of Loch Slapin Conservatives took a bottle of Blue Nun up Bruach na Frithe to celebrate.
  7. Perhaps the easiest route to Bruach na Frithe goes by way of the Bealach nan Lice. Bruckner spent his later years in sad isolation, nary a lumber in sight, due to his wild Germanic hair being chronically infested by these self-same parasites.
  8. Bruckner also wrote several hill-related motets, including Ecce sacredos magnus (a homage to the chairman of SNH), Os justi (on deciding not to climb Lui or Dubhchraig), and Asperges me ("I would like some asparagus please").
  9. Derek Watson FRCM on Bruckner's 5th (The Master Musicians series, JM Dent 1975, p113): "Bruckner seems to link heaven and earth in one immutable visionary span." Walt Poucher FRPS on Bruach na Frithe (The Magic of Skye, Constable [surely "Gendarme"? - Ed.] 1949, p28): "This scene is best observed in the late afternoon when the sun is in the west, for the lighting then clearly delineates its salient features. The distant serrated skyline sweeps over the southern section of the range and discloses the dominance of Sgurr Alasdair at its centre."
  10. Other hills named after famous composers include Sgurr Schumann (also on the Skye ridge), and Beinn Jammin-Britten. Also, any landowner encountered during the new all-year-round stalking season (or in the Kilpatricks - see p14) is likely to utter the words "Bach Orff" - or worse.
  11. It is not known if any composers have ever climbed Bruach na Frithe. But visit the summit any fine day in summer and you'll see plenty of straightforward posers - all wearing acres of Think Pink, Rohan and Jack Wolfskin.
  12. Like most composers, Bruckner ended up writing something called Te Deum. Anyone who has ever descended from the north end of the ridge in the rain will know what this is all about. The lights of the Slig bar never seem to get any closer...

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