If you've been following and collecting the splendid series of recordings being issued by Guild Records of the symphonies by Swiss composer Fritz Brun, you likely need little encouragement to acquire this most recent release beyond an awareness it exists. In this issue, Brun's Fourth Symphony (1925) has been programmed alongside the composer's Rhapsody for Orchestra (1957). All but one of the installments in the Guild series is performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, as is the case here, and all are conducted by Swiss-born conductor and composer Adriano.
Fritz Brun (1878-1959) composed ten symphonies between the years 1901 and 1953. He was a gifted symphonist and he concentrated on this talent; his oeuvre is primarily orchestral. In addition to the symphonies, there are a couple of concertos, one each for piano and for cello, and some chamber works. Brun's music is written in a neo-romantic style, displaying influences of Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner and Reger. He is one of a rather large body of composers who have emerged on recordings in recent years, whose desire it was to extend the romantic tradition in a natural and unquestionably conservative way (Salomon Jadassohn, Louis Glass and Marcel Tyberg, for example). While certainly not deaf to the trends of his time, Brun wrote music that is consistently tonal, melodic and engaging, richly orchestrated and dramatic.
While more than thirty years separate the two works on this recording, little stylistic change is evident. The sample provided for you to hear is from the opening movement of the Symphony No. 4. If you're enjoying it, you'll be pleased to know that Guild has invested significantly in this little known, yet highly deserving composer, having recorded a half dozen albums in all of his orchestral music.
The very welcome series of recordings of the music of the outstanding Swiss composer and conductor Fritz Brun on the Guild label have awakened international interest in the art of this fine musician, and this latest release in the series contains two of his most significant orchestral works, taken from different eras in Brun's long composing career. Here are two brand-new recordings of these major scores, splendidly performed in Moscow by one of the most significant conductors who has made a special study of this music. The result is another fine addition to a landmark series.
Fritz Brun (18 August 1878 – 29 November 1959) was a Swiss conductor and composer of classical music.
Brun was born in Lucerne. 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 1909 until 1943, he led the symphony concerts of the Bernischen Musikgesellschaft, and was conductor of the choral society and lieder group there. From 1926 to 1940, additionally, he was the vice-president of the Swiss music society Tonkünstlerverein. In June 1941 Brun retired, except for occasional returns to conducting. He dedicated his first violin sonata to violinist Adele Bloesch-Stöcker.
In 1912 Brun married Hanna Rosenmund, and three children were born to their marriage. He died in Grosshöchstetten.
His compositions include ten symphonies, of which a complete series is in progress (as of 2012) on the Guild Music CD label.
Swiss-born conductor-composer Adriano lives in Zurich. As a musician he is mostly self-taught. In the late 1970s he established himself as a specialist on Ottorino Respighi and he has conducted many other recordings of obscure or neglected symphonic repertoire. He also initiated and recorded a series of fifteen CDs mainly of European film music composers, and created and directed a series of classical music videos. All of his recording projects (47 in total) have found wide recognition and his commitment is uncompromising.
In Adriano’s opinion, music history should be revised to show that it is not just the story of the so-called great composers, and that it should not be neatly classified into traditions and categories. Much more good music has been written than certain musicologists and critics would care to admit. Adriano’s compositions include Concertinos (with string orchestra) for celesta, for harpsichord and for Ondes Martenot; a Concertino for piano, strings and percussion, Obscure Saraband for organ, tubular bells, timpani and strings and a clarinet quintet entitled Thoughts and Associations.
The Moscow Symphony Orchestra was established in 1989. During the following years the orchestra not only survived the period of economic difficulties, but strengthened its position and became one of the top Russian orchestras. Since 1996, the MSO has performed an annual series of concerts in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Famous Russian and foreign conductors of the orchestra include Vladimir Ziva, Sergey Stadler and Arnold Katz, and it has performed with outstanding soloists such as Yuri Bashmet, Victor Tretyakov, Vadim Repin, Alexander Knyazev and Alexander Rudin. Apart from its educational work and its extensive concert programmes the orchestra has been widely acclaimed for its outstanding recordings, with over a hundred since 1994, principally for Naxos and Marco Polo. International awards for its recordings include CD of the month by the American magazine CD Review, the prestigious French Diapason dʼOr and the Chairmanʼs Choice at the Cannes Classical Awards. The orchestra has toured in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Western Europe. Its chief conductor and artistic director is Arthur Arnold.
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Fritz Brun: Symphony No. 5 in E-Flat Major: I. Chaconne
Fritz Brun: Symphony No. 4 in E Major: I. Poco mosso, con tranquillità (excerpt)