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Album at a Glance

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Guild Music Record Label - Guild Music: Mission:“a world-wide reputation for quality, in seeking young gifted musicians, in premiere recordings of unjustly neglected music, in superb modern sound.”
Release Date: 2013-11-12


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Fritz Brun: Symphony 1; Overture to a Jubilee Celebration / Moscow SO, Adriano


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.