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Fritz BRUN (1878-1959)
Symphony No. 4 in E major (1925) [57:01] Rhapsody for Orchestra (1957) [10:08]
Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Adriano
rec. Moscow, 2008/13
Volume 6 - Brun Orchestral Series GUILD GMCD7411 [67:09]
Volumes 9 and 10 in the Brun-Adriano-Guild series were surveyed here recently in
a composite review. However I had overlooked Volume 6 which I introduce here. The site has now reviewed all the Adriano-Guild-Brun CDs.
Brun's Symphony No. 4 is in three long-breathed movements that run for not far short of an hour. A most poetic yet always mobile Poco mosso con tranquillità launches the symphony. Brun's ideas are philosophical and meditative. This topography is shot through on rare occasions with sturdy lightning strokes à la Brahms (7:00). After a troubled Mosso con rabbia the finale (Andante - Allegro energico - Tranquillo - Wuchtig) is at times a showcase for the brass benches. They ideally capture the bolts and tempests of the movement and are superbly caught by the engineers. This central movement has tremendous bite and casts a black and fearful shadow. At times it briefly gives way to a golden Straussian exuberance. The symphony ends in a blaze of power that is part Brucknerian and in part redolent of Bruno Walter's Symphony in D Minor (1909).
The Brun Symphony No. 4 was premiered in Zurich by the Tonhalle Orchestra conducted by Volkmar Andreae, whose own works have been recorded by Guild (reviewreview).
From a quarter century after the Symphony No. 4 comes the Rhapsody for Orchestra. It’s a product of the same year that saw the death of Brun's younger friend, Othmar Schoeck. Brun himself was to die two years later. It's stirringly atmospheric with a dense cantabile of strands and a strong string-instrument 'signature'. It is backward-looking in style, romantic and still speaks of a composer tightly gripped by a language that has served him well and with which he is still quite infatuated. The music is by no means as static as I have suggested. It rises several times to some furiously animated Brahmsian protests but knowing Brun we are not surprised when these episodes fall back into a predominance of gloriously aureate and expansively rolled out tone.
The liner-note by Adriano with editing by Ian Lace is again highly detailed and very welcome too. It's in English and German. The music is well played as expected and the recording is to match.
Brun is pictured with a memorably fearful or quizzical expression in the photograph on the rear of the booklet.
This is one of the strongest Brun discs from the Adriano-Guild series. It shows that this composer, with his reputation for pictorial-contemplative writing dancing in attendance, has a gift for lively, gritty dramatic backbone. It's a good place to start exploring this composer.