FRIEDRICH BRUK (b.1937): Symphonies No. 22 “In the Ocean” and No. 23 –In the Ingrian Mode”.

Catalogue Number: 09Y003

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: TOCC0645

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Volume 3 of this valuable series continues its exploration of his remarkable, ongoing symphonic odyssey, commenced when he was already an accomplished composer in his sixties. His broadly tonal, colourfully orchestrated symphonic vocabulary yields works which, while not explicitly programmatic, concern themselves with specific cultural associations, such as the persecution of the Jews in the 20th century (04V009), and the effects of historical hardships on his own multicultural background (03T010). In these two most recent symphonies he casts his inspirational net further, exploring environmental concerns in No.22, and the culture of the Ingrian peoples of his adopted homeland of Finland in No.23. In both cases, the composer’s characteristic use of multiple themes, often tumultuously superimposed or juxtaposed in evolving forms and giving the impression of a teeming plethora of ideas falling over one another in their breathless anxiety to be heard, is central to his style. This thematic effusiveness, combined with the expert and idiosyncratic handling of very large orchestral forces is reminiscent of Havergal Brian (whose music Bruk's largely does not resemble); the only other composer who sounds like an influence, and this only in fleeting gestures or sonorities, is Shostakovich (apart from an odd reminiscence of the opening of Sibelius 4 at the very beginning of the "Ocean" symphony). Bruk's use of highly colourful, extravagantly large percussion sections is also a defining characteristic, for example the striking punctuation of tubular bells in No.22, sounding an alarm call while acting as "paragraph breaks" between different "scenes". Both are powerful, determined works, raising their voices in warning on behalf of threatened ecosystems or cultural identities with vehemence and articulate protest. Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra; Māris Kupčs.


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