For the Pange lingua of 1868 Bruckner returned to the text that had inspired him as an eleven- or twelve- year-old. In character it is relatively simple and hymn-like, with little rhythmic counterpoint; but the exploitation of the colours of the Phrygian Mode to match the dark mystery of the text is very telling. Astonishingly, when Witt published Pange lingua, he took it on himself to ‘correct’ the music extensively, in the process softening some of its most expressive dissonances—to Bruckner’s extreme displeasure. Needless to say, it is the unbowdlerized version that is performed here.
from notes by Stephen Johnson © 2007