Guild Records has become an essential label for listeners eager to discover exceptional unknown repertoire, especially for those with an interest in orchestral music of the Romantic and Post-Romantic eras. A perfect case in point is the ongoing project to record the complete symphonies of Swiss composer Fritz Brun (1878-1959). With this latest release of his First Symphony along with the Overture to a Jubilee Celebration, Guild now has made available Brun’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 5-7 and 9-10. All of the recordings in the series are performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra under Adriano.
Brun’s First Symphony was a student work, composed to fulfill requirements for his graduation from Cologne Conservatory. It was premiered in 1902, when Brun was twenty-four years of age. It’s a remarkably mature work, virile, bold, often foreboding and grim but not without its moments in the sun. Structurally, it is rather loose and rhapsodic. The influences I hear are pretty equal measures of Brahms and Dvorak, but Wagner and Bruckner are present too. At the same time though, you can hear that this is music of a later time. In this early symphony, Brun already displays great accomplishment in the areas of orchestration and harmony. Opening in rollicking fashion, the sample in the sidebar from the album is the symphony’s third movement.
The music is well recorded, although I found it to be a little on the ‘live’ side for my taste. Overall the performances are passionate and assured. In the biography from the album notes the writer expresses conductor Adriano’s conviction that ‘Much more good music has been written than certain musicologists and critics would care to admit.’ Exploring this ‘good music’ seems to be a guiding principle for Adriano in his selection of recording projects, and in the case of this Brun cycle, he clearly proves his point.
The distinguished Lucerne-born composer Fritz Brun (1878-1959) was arguably the most important Swiss symphonist of the 20th-century, completing no fewer than ten symphonies in the course of his long life. This outstandingly-recorded new CD offers the world premiere recording of Brun’s very First Symphony … The much later Overture to a Jubilee Celebration (1950) was written for the inauguration of the new concert hall of Radio Berne, and shows the composer in his most joyful and attractive vein.
Fritz Brun (18 August 1878 – 29 November 1959)
Fritz Brun was a Swiss conductor and composer of classical music. He was a student of Franz Wüllner at the conservatory at Cologne, and studied piano and theory there until 1902. The following year he became a piano teacher at the music school in Bern.From 1926 to 1940, he was the vice-president of the Swiss music society Tonkünstlerverein. His compositions include ten symphonies, of which a complete series is in progress (as of 2012) on the Guild Music CD label
Born in 1944, conductor-composer Adriano lives in Zürich. As a musician he is mostly self-taught. In the late 1970s he established himself as a specialist on Ottorino Respighi and he has made many recordings of obscure or neglected symphonic repertoire. He has also initiated and recorded a series of fifteen CDs mainly of European film-music composers, and has created and directed a series of classical music videos. All of Adriano’s over forty recording projects have found wide recognition and his commitment is known to be strong and uncompromising.
Moscow Symphony Orchestra
The Moscow Symphony Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in the capital today. Since its inception in 1989, the orchestra became an active participant in the musical life of Moscow, having performed under famous Russian and foreign conductors such as Arthur Arnold, Vladimir Ziva, Sergey Stadler, Arnold Katz and with outstanding soloists.