Locus iste had its premiere at the dedication of the Votive Chapel of the newly built Linz cathedral, in the same service as the Mass in E minor. Bruckner had been appointed organist at the old cathedral in 1856, and the Bishop, Josef Franz Rüdiger—a highly conservative but very humane man—had soon become an important artistic and spiritual father-figure. The text celebrates a sacred place: for liturgical purposes this would have been the new cathedral, but Bruckner may well have been thinking of St Florian—his true spiritual home, to which he often returned in later years (especially at times of crisis). As in the symphonies, the proportions of Locus iste are carefully calculated. Take the silence before the final ‘a Deo factus est’: where most composers would be content to put a simple pause, Bruckner preserves his proportions by carefully measuring out five beats. Elegant symmetry is as vital here as in a great medieval cathedral—or, indeed, in the chaste but reassuringly contained environs of St Florian.
from notes by Stephen Johnson © 2007