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Brun: Symphony No. 5 / Symphony No. 10

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 13, 2009
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 5 in E sharp major: 1. Chaconne
  2. Symphony No. 5 in E sharp major: 2. Gehetzt, phantastisch
  3. Symphony No. 5 in E sharp major: 3. Langsam
  4. Symphony No. 10 in B major: 1. Allegro non troppo
  5. Symphony No. 10 in B major: 2. Mosso
  6. Symphony No. 10 in B major: 3. Adagio
  7. Symphony No. 10 in B major: 4. Vivace


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Moscow Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Adriano
  • Composer: Fritz Brun
  • Audio CD (January 13, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Guild
  • ASIN: B001GLHSV6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Douglas M. May on July 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a fan of the old Olaf Henzold/Lucerne Symphony recording of the Brun 2nd, I had always wondered why more of his music hadn't been recorded. Certainly that early work is a charmer, with a pastoral quality suggesting the world of the Brahms 2nd, and a beautiful adagio slow movement.

The works on this disk perhaps explain why Brun continues to be neglected--especially the Symphony No. 5, which, to put it bluntly, is poorly served by the performance of the Moscow Symphony and Adriano. This is dark, extremely chromatic and tortured music that needs precise rhythmic articulation and dynamic contrast in order to make sense at all. Instead, we are subjected to sloppy entrances, flaccid phrasing, and intonation (especially in the brass and low strings) that suggests this is more of a read-through than a sufficiently rehearsed performance. Surprising for Adriano, who has done many fine things on Marco Polo, and who along with Leon Botstein and Werner Andreas Albert never fails to unearth fascinating and neglected repertoire.

In spite of the sloppy playing and indifferent recording quality, there seemed to be enough going on in this Symphony to warrant repeated hearings. And after my 5th time through, I am happy to report that this Symphony is a lot more interesting than I first thought. It is, in fact, the most original work by Brun I have heard, and the most troubling. In this work, Brun forcibly melds the worlds of Brahms and Reger with those of Berg and Hartmann--and if the results aren't pretty, they are at least unique. The Brahmsian gestures of the Bruns 2nd Symphony are still there, but constantly undermined by relentlessly chromatic harmony, string figures woven of close intervals, and claustrophobically dark orchestrations.
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Format: Audio CD
This is one more disc in a series on the Guild label in which Adriano and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra appear to be attempting to record the full symphonic cycle of Fritz Brun, a Swiss composer who lived from 1878-1959. Of the recordings in this set that I've heard, I think the Symphony No. 1 perhaps appeals to me most -- it's vigorous and has a few things to say, I suppose. The pair on this release, the Nos. 5 and 10, have the principal flaw that Late Romantic symphonic music by also-ran composers tend to possess: Aimlessness. The No. 5 starts out almost incoherent, but it still retains some intrigue through a good part of the first movement. After that, however, I just never heard a second shoe drop. Much the same can be said of the No. 10, only perhaps in reverse -- After a rather meandering and boring first three-and-a-half movements, a shoe finally drops, sort of, in the final minutes. I can't say that I hated this music, but I do have a heck of time trying to remember it a while later. As an untrained layman, I can really criticize the playing -- the forces involved seem to give these compositions a decent reading, but the source material just isn't that special. If you like to overdose on the music of, say, Felix Draeseke, however, then this might be up your alley.
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