Joseph Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was an Austrian composer whose classical career began later in life. He was nearly 40 before he began composing in earnest. His best known works are his nine symphonies, the last of which remained incomplete at his death. He was greatly influenced by Beethoven and Wagner.
Like many classical composers, Bruckner's father was his first music teacher. (The elder Bruckner had inherited his post as a teacher and music was part of the curriculum.) Bruckner learned to play the organ at an early age. His father died when Bruckner was 13 and he was sent to a monastery to study choir. While there, he also learned to play the violin. Despite his musical gifts, his mother was determined that he should become a teacher.
By age 21, Bruckner was teaching at the monastery he'd attended, and became the church organist shortly thereafter. Some years later, he would become organist for the Linz Cathedral. A decade later, Bruckner would realize two significant musical developments. He would become professor of music theory at the Vienna Conservatory and his first major work, Symphony No. 1, would premiere. The latter would be a disappointment to the composer as it received more criticism than critical acclaim. Bruckner made a variety of revisions to the piece. At least four other versions of the work exist.
Bruckner frequently revised his works, often several times over a period of years. Sometimes, this was a direct result of criticism from friends and colleagues with Bruckner acquiescing to recommendions when wrestling with a particular piece. Especially after his death, it became difficult to distinguish between Bruckner's original works and those adapted by someone else. This coined the phrase "the Bruckner problem."
One example: The most loved Bruckner symphony is likely his Symphony No. 7 in E major. It was written in 1881-1883 and revised in 1885. As Bruckner began working on this symphony, Wagner's death was imminent. Legend has it that Bruckner wrote the climactic cymbal clash in a movement featuring a Wagner tuba and at the moment of Wagner's death. While Bruckner eventually decided against the cymbal clash, the piece is often performed with it.