ELISABETTA BRUSA (b.1954): Symphony No. 2, Simply Largo.
Catalogue Number: 12W009
Description: Another thoroughly tonal, neo-romantic symphony (see also 04Q013, the equally fine First Symphony) from a composer whose intent is "always try to express basic human emotions" and adheres unreservedly to the Romantic ideals of symphonic thinking. An incisive, pounding motif announces the opening of the symphony, which is bold and dramatic, with much powerful brass writing. The movement is in sonata form, the introductory declamatory chords recurring to mark the various sections. As the movement reaches its climactic conclusion, it increasingly resembles a triumphant Brucknerian peroration. There is something of Bruckner about the sombre, heavy-treading slow movement, massive and cumulative, though some brightly chiming percussion add an original timbral contrast. The Scherzo and Trio are energetic and spirited; the trio, more than the scherzo, containing some unmistakably Brucknerian gestures. The turbulent finale begins and ends with a gesture borrowed from Beethoven’s 9th, with storms and struggle in between, arriving at a calm resolution before the final triumph. Simply Largo is an anguished in memoriam piece, emotionally intense and passionately grieving without sentimentality. Tonal and harmonically sumptuous but wayward, this powerful piece sums up Brusa's æsthetic and her emotionally gripping idiom. Ulster Orchestra; Daniele Rustioni.