FRITZ BRUN (1878-1959): Symphony No. 6 in C, Symphony No. 7 in D.
Catalogue Number: 12N001
Reference: GMCD 7372
Description: As with the last release in Guild's Brun series exactly three years ago (12K001), we have here music of an elemental power which seems to emanate from regions a bit beyond those of mere mortals doing business on the surface of the earth. We called the Fifth (1929) "craggy, pessimistic, emotionally draining". Whatever demons were pursuing the composer continued to demand release in the Sixth of 1933 (not the arrival of Nazism since Brun was Swiss and living in Berne) which begins with an ethereal baroque-like chorale which metamorphoses into a dirge, followed by a brutal, nightmarish witches' dance of a scherzo. A short Andante amabile follows before a very striking Chaconne finale (the longest movement of this 34-minute symphony) of which the conductor states "Brun's inventive, dramatic, contrapuntal and instrumental skills are quite sensational; gourmet avant-garde listeners [he means avant-garde in the 1930s, of course] will probably be gobsmacked." Can't top that for a description. In contrast, the first three movements of the Seventh (1937) are sunny and bright. The first movement has a positively Elysian feel to it, as if it were the last statement of a composer utterly at peace (of course, Brun's last symphony, his Tenth, is just that, all the way through). But little hints of trouble pop up now and then to keep things simmering until the 16-minute finale (out of 41 minutes for the whole symphony) arrives with three brassy Brucknerian climaxes punctuating music of much more striving and turmoil and a secondary theme of a more Elgarian warmth. The motivic working out of the initial theme of the symphony, borrowed from Brun's friend Othmar Schoeck's opera Venus (slightly altered) is utterly masterful and this monumental finale provides a richly satisfying conclusion to a remarkable symphonic experience. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Adriano.