Nathan Pell, Key Profiles in Bruckner’s Symphonic Expositions
Symphony VI: Finale
mm. 65–97 | mm. 97–113
It is certainly no coincidence that the extended third divider that occupies the consequent of the second theme rests on the (locally tonicized) harmony of E, the eventual dominant of the symphony. Although this E has no prolongational relation to the structural dominant of m. 139 (not shown here, but see Example 4), it functions as a sort of “resonance frequency” as I exerts a pull on III: yet another form of tonal agency inherent in the work’s voice-leading fabric (which I discuss in footnote 28). Furthermore, Bruckner denies C major tonal stability by withholding a V–I cadence into m. 97. Instead a bass motion in thirds yields to a wandering passage (mm. 81–89) that ultimately regains the tonic plagally (mm. 89–97). Figures C–F show this “wandering” section in greater detail. Recall from [5.3] above that none of the finales discussed here contains a firm cadence in the key of the second theme, a fact which further underlines the second theme’s intermediate status in the overall key profile.
Measures 65–97: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwängler, 1943