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Little-known music of all eras => Discussion of obscure composers => Topic started by: Gauk on January 13, 2019, 04:53:33 pm



Title: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Gauk on January 13, 2019, 04:53:33 pm
I was in hospital in July 2015 and started listening to the symphonies of Fritz Brun in the cycle by the Moscow SO cond. Adriano, on the Guild label, which I could access on Spotify via my can't-tell-you. I always meant to go back and listen again, but I find that not only are the CDs no longer in the Guild catalogue, they have all been pulled from Spotify. That surprised me - I always assumed that Spotify only ever added things, not removed them. At least some of them have been ripped onto YT, so the performances are not completely lost. These are significant works in the post-Bruckner manner.

It looks like the third (on Sterling) is the only one of the cycle currently available.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Holger on January 13, 2019, 05:03:56 pm
These recordings will be re-released as a CD box by Brilliant Classics in April as Adriano pointed out in a discussion on the Unsung Composers forum. So no need to worry – in a few months these powerful works should be available again.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on January 13, 2019, 06:29:34 pm
I bought all the Brun symphonies on Guild whilst they were available from that company :)

I agree that they are powerful works although their somewhat sprawling nature makes them a little difficult to come to terms with I found.

Well, well.....so Unsung Composers is still going is it ::)


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Holger on January 13, 2019, 06:47:33 pm
I bought all the Brun symphonies on Guild whilst they were available from that company :)

So did I! Actually I bought most of the discs as soon as they appeared on the market.

I agree that they are powerful works although their somewhat sprawling nature makes them a little difficult to come to terms with I found.

Well, well.....so Unsung Composers is still going is it ::)

Brun's symphonies are perhaps not really an easy listen, they do have their edges and Brun's language is somewhat "knotty" in general, but I have always immensely enjoyed them, possibly (up to some degree) right because of the peculiarities I just mentioned. Maybe the Seventh is a good start with its journey from the initial "Nachklang" movement on to the stormy and massive finale which is full of conflict, though leading to an optimist and vigorous conclusion. I also like the last two symphonies a lot. Adriano, as far as I remember, called the last one a kind of "Spring Symphony". I think I agree but would maybe tend to add it's early spring which I hear in the music, when nights are still cold and everything is still a bit restrained.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Gauk on January 13, 2019, 07:41:49 pm
That's good news!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 15, 2019, 05:39:58 am
I listened to Brun's Symphony No. on Youtube today It is the craziest symphony I have ever listened to (not in a good way), it sounds like it was written by a committee: no consistency or general style at all, and seemingly completely new material every section.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Jolly Roger on January 17, 2019, 08:18:10 am
For me, his cycle of symphonies had no real staying power..and I did spend a lot of time listening to all of them, hoping they would float my boat. Perhaps my expectations were too high, so listen with lowered ones. The music was pleasurable but certainly not top shelf for me.
I will try again soon..


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on April 10, 2019, 06:48:42 am
Try also the Piano and Cello Concertos! They are more accessible :-)
Symphonies 1 and 2 are more Romantic and melodic. A great work is also No. 8; but Brun's most original and intense are Nos 5-7. I agree that they need to be listened over and over again to be understood and appreciated.
But one should never compare music by an unknown composer to those we already know; I find this an unfair attitude.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on April 10, 2019, 12:20:44 pm
Adriano's point is well made although I think it not unreasonable to relate (rather than compare) an unknown composer's music to another in order to establish some sense of historical and idiomatic context for those who do not know the music but are intrugued to know roughly what it "sounds like".
And we are honoured by his new membership of this forum😁


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on April 10, 2019, 02:30:38 pm
Thanks, Dundonnell - my pleasure :-)
To "relate" is OK, but there are many reviewers of unknown or forgotten music having no further instrument in their heads than the "comparing" one, making them desperately looking for quotations or imitations of great composers. The Brun case is a similar one: since in earlier reviews and encyclopaedias it was written that his music has a Brahmsian (or even a Brucknerian) provenience, this stigmatized him. Even today, my CDs are reviewed that way: most authors generalized, writing about one or two CDs even before they knew what kind of music was to come! Already after the release of the second CD, David Hurwitz wrote than my Brun committment was a lost cause - and another US reviewer came to the conlcusion that this music was a proof that we Swiss must have not enough sex!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on April 10, 2019, 02:43:00 pm
Swiss music is, in my opinion, shockingly neglected. Quite apart from Fritz Brun (whose music you have done so much you save from disappearance) there are composers like Conrad Beck and Willy Burkhard- to name but two- whose music is largely ignored on cd but who certainly merit recognition.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on April 10, 2019, 03:08:49 pm
There is more than that on CD: look what I have recorded on the Sterling label: Hermann Suter, Pierre Maurice, Jaques-Dalcroze (3 CDs). And on Marco Polo/Naxos, there is Fäsy and Honegger.
I have more projects in petto, but cannot find any sponsors... In total, as far as I remember, I conducted over CDs with Swiss music. Over here, this seems not to make a great impression...
Coming back to my opinion on some reviewers: I forgot to mention those who, because just they don't like a piece, they just find it bad. This is also unfair.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on April 10, 2019, 03:34:26 pm
There is more than that on CD: look what I have recorded on the Sterling label: Hermann Suter, Pierre Maurice, Jaques-Dalcroze (3 CDs). And on Marco Polo/Naxos, there is Fäsy and Honegger.
I have more projects in petto, but cannot find any sponsors... In total, as far as I remember, I conducted over CDs with Swiss music. Over here, this seems not to make a great impression...
Coming back to my opinion on some reviwers: I forgot to mention those who, because just they don't like a piece, they just find it bad. This is also unfair.
Indeed you have.....and I have the Suter symphony in my collection (as well as all the Brun cds with their absolutely marvellous booklet notes- a model of the in-depth information the listener needs!).
The most sympathetic reviews can usually be found on Musicweb, written by people who actually like the music. I gave up on printed music magazines when reviews became so short as to be meaningless.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Toby Esterhase on April 10, 2019, 11:24:01 pm
Swiss music is, in my opinion, shockingly neglected. Quite apart from Fritz Brun (whose music you have done so much you save from disappearance) there are composers like Conrad Beck and Willy Burkhard- to name but two- whose music is largely ignored on cd but who certainly merit recognition.
Dear Dundonnell
 Jean Daetwyler,Bernard Reichel,Otmar Nussio and Renato Grisoni should deserve more attention.
Best


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: dhibbard on April 11, 2019, 12:42:23 am
actually I did buy all but one CD... Ha... didn't know that the Unsung Composers forum was still going... it seemed to be just conversations between the 2 moderators.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on April 11, 2019, 07:18:06 am
Since about 15 years, for example, I am trying to find some money to record Oboussier's wonderful Symphony and the Symphonies of Charles Chaix: no chance!

Incidentally: The complete Fritz Brun Box from Brilliant Classics is out now:
https://www.brilliantclassics.com/articles/f/fritz-brun-complete-orchestral-works/

(It's a reprint of all Guild and the Sterling CDs, plus a historical bonus album). Have a look at what I have done of the (downloadable) booklet...


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Gauk on May 13, 2019, 09:41:00 pm
Coming back to my opinion on some reviwers: I forgot to mention those who, because just they don't like a piece, they just find it bad. This is also unfair.

This is a pet hate of mine. Just because you like something doesn't make it good, and just because you dislike something doesn't make it bad. I think most critics are not actually capable of judging the quality of a work, and just go by personal taste. Plus, of course, the assumption that a composer outside the standard canon must be bad, or he wouldn't be neglected. Whereas anyone famous must be good. It's the same in the visual arts, and its refreshing when you see an art critic lay into, say, Damien Hirst. I have a theory that Picasso, in his late years, actually tried to produce bad drawings to dare art critics to call him out - which none would dare do, of course.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on May 15, 2019, 07:45:09 am
Indeed, Gauk :-)
Funny enough, most typically "hate" reviews of my Brun CDs were always coming from the USA; particularly from such high-nosed magazines like Fanfare and American Music Guide.
One (US) reviewer even wrote that, listening to Brun's music, one feels that we Swiss do not have enough sex. This was a review of just a particular CD, after only two CDs had been issued. Amateurish and unfair overall judgements like this prove that even so-called "serious" music magazines need boulevard-like practices in order to reach its/more readers.
Last week, incidentally, my Brilliant Classics Brun Box was on first place of jpc's Germany classic charts.

Here again the link to the online booklet:
https://www.brilliantclassics.com/media/1621710/95784-brun-booklet-download-file.pdf

Brun's music is always a challenge; one must be ready to make one's brains working - and re-listen again and again, in order to find access to an often unpredictable, rather wild and very personal world. But there is also a lot of lyricismy in it!
Already the fact that Brun had advocate-conductors like Hermann Scherchen, Felix Weingartner, Carl Schuricht, Volkmar Andreae, Robert F. Denzler and Othmar Schoeck proves that there must be something good about it.
After Weingartner had performed Brun's Third Symphony at the Vienna Musikverein in 1925, he was himself astonished to realise that it was well-received by such a conservative audience. And this, Brun's perhaps most bulky, awkward (and longest) Symphony! The program booklet of this concert had an elaborate work's introdution and many note examples - which is quite a sensation. The concert management had even agreed to more rehearsals, considering its extremely difficult string writing.
As far as this Symphony is concerned too, one US reviewer wrote about my recording that we had a sloppy playing and that it was a result of poor preparation. That we were not always "together". Would he have been able to read music and to consult the score, he would have reacted differently. Obviously he did not like the piece. The string parts of the first movement are really crazy and rapidly vary from tonal to strangely dissonant - and are often polyrhytmic: triplets against duplets (not to speak about higher uneven tuplet values) and pointed notes. The composer (who was a passionate mountain-climber) intended to describe menacingly sliding moraines and gneiss...
Last but not least, I am not writing in this forum because my love for Brun's music is totally blind-folded. I am still in a position to approach it critically. I admit, for example, that some of his last movements are not totally satisfactory, as, for example, just the one of his Third. But also in the Finale of his Ninth I I feel that the composer did not really knew where to go - and this is such a pity, since the opening theme of this Finale is superb! He had lost his chance.
Only Symphonies 2-4 had been published. Seeing what happens in the Finale of the Fourth, the publisher did not want to take further risks. In other words, practically all of Bruns' work are still in manuscript form. With the help of a good editor, Brun should have perhaps given the chance to revise some movements/passages. But once a Symphony was finished, he was already thinking of the next one - and nobody complained anyway. Swiss reviews were always positive. In Berne there was just one particular writer, who attacked him - but he was well-known for that, so everybody knew in advance what was coming. Brun also used to get infamous anonymous postings in his letterbox. I also discovered a few personal notes by the players of his orchestra (on the backsides of instrumental parts) - they were humorous, but also very insulting. Well, Brun's string players really had to prepare at home and to concentrate; their parts were very demanding!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on May 15, 2019, 05:57:54 pm
I agree with the general thrust of the points made by both Gauk and Adriano.

It has often puzzled me that certain music magazines seem to make it a regular practice to have particular types of music reviewed by those critics who have never made much of a secret that their tastes lie elsewhere. "Gramophone" used to (and may still-I gave up buying the magazine years ago) entrust reviews of new cds of the music of Penderecki to Arnold Whittall. Mr. Whittall never concealed his firm conviction that Penderecki had betrayed his musical destiny after about 1974 and that everything he wrote after that time was post-romantic, mediocre music. This opinion about Penderecki's music is a valid point of view but it has so coloured Whittall's writing that one could anticipate almost to the very language used his reception of each new cd. It became-at least for me-tediously predictable. I would far rather read a review by someone in general sympathetic to the idiom of the music being reviewed. If then the reviewer identifies weakness in the music then such a judgment carries more weight.

I don't find Fritz Brun's music easy to grasp on first hearing, or, necessarily, on second or third......but that does not mean that it is without merit. Similar concentration and study is required to fully appreciate the music of composers like Edmund Rubbra or Vagn Holmboe. But, as the secrets are unlocked, much of distinction is revealed and the effort is rewarded.

I also do not think that Adriano could complain of the fair-minded, indeed generous, reviews of his Brun recordings on, for example, Musicweb- albeit that most were written by Ian Lace, a fellow Brun enthusiast. He complains about hostile reviews from the USA. I have not read these reviews but take him on trust. There MAY be a cultural issue here. My experience would suggest that the British (and, perhaps, Northern Europeans in general) tend to express strong adverse opinions in a less blunt form than do some Americans, with at least some pretence of civility. This is a vast generalisation-of course-but I know that some Americans find British attitudes, at times, bordering on the arrogantly superior and respond by acerbic and abrasive rejoinder. This (usually) friendly exchange of has traditionally characterised the relationship between the British and American armed forces. I have no doubt that British music critics can be as savage and destructive as their American counterparts but it is unlikely that any reputable critic would make such a ridiculous assertion about the sex life of the Swiss. From whichever country however such an assertion stemmed it can only be treated with the contempt it deserves!

....and, before I am accused of being anti-American ;D, I have almost always found the Americans I have encountered unfailingly polite and courteous- indeed far more so than many Brits (who can be dour, unfriendly and downright rude!). I have many American friends and would not wish to give any of them any offence!!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on May 15, 2019, 09:22:00 pm
@ Dundonnell
I do not really "complain" of reviews, I just realize and compare.

For your information, besides Ian Lace, following other authors reviewed Brun CDs on MusicWeb International:

Rob Barnett
Rob Maynard
E. Marshall-Luck
Gary Higginson
Philip R. Buttall
Jonathan Woolf

That thing about Swiss sex life was in an article of "Fanfare" by Martin Anderson:
A conductor friend of mine, looking through the scores of several Brun symphonies, reported that they were “typically Swiss – all sex and no orgasm,” and I have yet to find the Brun work to prove him wrong.
I quote this in order to correct my previous assertion. I just wonder what he meant by "several" - since only Symphonies 2-4 have been published. All other are in manuscript form.

David Hurwitz in two of his "Classic Today" reviews:
1: Adriano clearly believes in the work, but then people believe in all kinds of strange things, never mind Fritz Brun’s Third Symphony. The sonics are fine, but it’s really a lost cause.
2: Brun’s spasmodic syntax must be as frustrating to the musician as to the listener. For penitential souls only (on Symphony No.9).


I read all kind of reviews with great interest and amusement and I actually never feel offended - unless they contain personal attacks. And I collect them just for the Fritz Brun archive - and my own :-)

This is a special case, a typical example of Swiss provincialism:
A couple of years ago a (male/female) host duo made a presentation of my recording of Brun's Fourth Symphony on Swiss Radio's Channel Two. The gentleman started mentioning the orchestra and the conductor, then suddenly the lady interrupted, asking him: "Adriano?? Is he still around??" After having been informed with "yes", she chuckled and said "oh well...". And that was not her only chuckling. This encouraged me to complain at the Ombudsman's bureau - so the duo got a dressing-down by their superior. But in an e-mail, the head of department wrote to me: "One must accept the host's self-irony and, in order to keep our listeners with us, we need to use an entertaining tone. The important thing now is that you are satisfied, Mr. Adriano". Besides this, I also had complained that the arrogant duo had not even bothered to consult my booklet and had quoted from an erroneous Wikipedia article on Brun. My reply to the manager was a document quoting over a dozen scandalised mails I had received from friends and fans who had witnessed that broadcast.
I think one just has to react sometimes to such kind of trash...




Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on May 17, 2019, 01:28:41 pm
I suppose that it rather depends on what one means by the word "complain". In drawing our attention to puerile statements such as those you instance I would naturally conclude both that you were complaining about the absence of genuine musical criticism in favour of bald, blunt and crude assertion. I would also argue that you have every right to feel aggrieved by such puerility and, by drawing our attention to it, share your reaction.

It is not surprising to read the name of David Hurwitz in this connection. What is surprising and disappointing (and rather makes a nonsense of my "defence" of British music critics!) is to learn that the comment about the Swiss and sex came from Martin Anderson. Anderson's record lable, Toccata, has issued a very great deal of music by neglected composers. This, inevitably, varies in quality but gratitude for the efforts and products of Toccata do not excuse such a facetious approach to music criticism.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on May 17, 2019, 05:24:11 pm
Mr. Anderson's (and his "conductor friend's") generalizing, rather xenophobic statement must therefore also apply to two other "typically Swiss" composers like Jaques-Dalcroze and Sutermeister, who are now being released on his label.
And, in case his "conductor friend" had really consulted Brun's manuscripts, he did not do this seriously enough. One can find quite a few terrific climaxes in Brun's Symphonies and in his Symphonic Prologue - which could be interpreted as "orgasms"...


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Gauk on May 18, 2019, 11:48:27 am
Accusing Brun of "spasmodic syntax" reminds me rather of all the negative remarks about Havergal Brian, another composer whose style does not yield up easily to casual listening, but whose music is highly rewarding for those who make an effort to understand Brian's way of thinking. To go from an antipathy to Brun to damning the Swiss en bloc is frankly bizarre.

Incidentally, on the subject of rescuing neglected Swiss composers, it seems to me that a lot of French composers have been very poorly treated. André Gedalge is one case in point. Then there is a fantastic symphony by Louis Thirion which is completely unknown.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on May 19, 2019, 08:19:10 am
Yes indeed, Gauk :-)

Not to speak about quite a few Swiss French composers for which I am struggling since years.
One interesting CD - which I had wanted to do, but had been refused by Marco Polo is:
https://vdegallo.com/de/produit/swiss-symphonic-composers-vol-1-denereaz-volgograd-symphony-orchestra-3/

It was produced in 2008, 20 years after I had had proposed it.

This could be a "pendant" to my own crazy CD with Ernset Fanelli's "Tableaux from Le Roman de la Momie".
https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.225234

I also intended to continue with Jacques Ibert and Sylvio Lazzari on Marco Polo, but that is another - and rather unpleasant story...
I am a great fan of Havergal Brian!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Gauk on May 19, 2019, 10:13:00 am
I have the Fanelli CD!

Alexandre Dénéréaz I have added to my listening list.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Greg K on May 31, 2019, 07:12:24 pm
For myself, Anderson's "sex and the Swiss" remark seems just a flippant and throwaway witticism he became unduly infatuated with and thus irresistibly inserted into the review rather than some grave offense of style and judgment you're all berating him over.

I'll admit to finding it a bit humorous, however critically worthless.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on May 31, 2019, 09:24:31 pm
For myself, Anderson's "sex and the Swiss" remark seems just a flippant and throwaway witticism he became unduly infatuated with and thus irresistibly inserted into the review rather than some grave offense of style and judgment you're all berating him over.

I'll admit to finding it a bit humorous, however critically worthless.


From my own-very brief-meeting with Martin Anderson I would describe his humour as "robust" ;D

I would also wish to emphasise that the contribution that his label Toccata is making to the cause of rescuing neglected music is quite outstanding and deserves our huge admiration and gratitude!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on May 31, 2019, 09:29:55 pm
Ha-ha.
So, because Mr. Anderson is running an excellent CD label (and he knows that), he is allowed to use this kind of "robust" humour? To decide what is humour is not alone a thing of the author, but also of the addressee.

My humour is more than robust, but I use it elsewhere.
Would I then be allowed to write about the English people something like that they are "typically impotent" - because I have conducted 49 CDs? I would count with terrible reactions. After all, my work is equally respectful as running an excellent CD label.

To me, Mr. Anderson's phrase is more problematic since I consider it not only an offense against Swiss composers in general, but an offense against Swiss population. And he means it seriously, otherwise he would not continue with "... and I have yet to find the Brun work to prove him wrong."
This kind of humour does not fit a professional CD review - but, as far as "Fanfare" is concerned, they have quite a few other similarly arrogant authors.

In 1995 one could read:
"Adriano is not a good enough conductor to get away with the affectation of one name".
What has this to do with a CD review? This too belongs to the lower boulevard journalism. Or is it another outgrowht of "robust" humour"?

Suppose that, after reading my postings in here, "Fanfare" will revenge itself even more so, by organizing a destructive review of my Brilliant Classics' Fritz Brun box. Some arrogant authors really believe to be untouchable Gods, in right to decide on artistic values and personalities according to their caprices, personal preferences and arrogance (or flippant sense of humour).

Besides all this, "Fanfare" is also well-known for offering good reviews for cash. Years ago, I even received such an offer myself.



Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Dundonnell on May 31, 2019, 09:59:52 pm
I think that if you re-read my post of May 17th you will find that I was (and still am) in full support of your reaction to the comments in the review.  I would not, could not and am not "defend/ing" what was written.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on May 31, 2019, 10:36:01 pm
@Dundonnell
Thanks! My answer is, in this case, to Greg K's posting - but I also take the opportunity to complain that we artists too, we still have rights to defend ourselves :-)


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Gauk on June 01, 2019, 10:01:54 am
The thing about humour is that it's supposed to be funny, or at least amusing. The "sex and the Swiss" remark is simply stupid and offensive however you look at it.

Actually, I am reminded of a remark along those lines that manages to be more successful; the writer George Mikes once remarked that "continentals have sex lives - the British have hot water bottles".


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Jolly Roger on June 03, 2019, 05:59:34 am
The thing about humour is that it's supposed to be funny, or at least amusing. The "sex and the Swiss" remark is simply stupid and offensive however you look at it.

Actually, I am reminded of a remark along those lines that manages to be more successful; the writer George Mikes once remarked that "continentals have sex lives - the British have hot water bottles".

While a bit off-color, after falling asleep while listening Brun's music I think it was a clever way to describe what I heard. Stupid is probably a word I would have used in grade school.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on June 03, 2019, 06:46:47 am
@ Jolly Roger
One can also fall asleep listening to Beethoven or to Mozart - if one feels tired or is unable to concentrate...
Suppose this is the very first Brun CD you are confronted with - but you feel already in right to give an overall verdict on this composer before knowing him properly?
Unable to formulate an authentic/original reason for your dislike - you just suppprt a superficial and arrogant music review? This is grade school level too!
You must have a strange relationship with music...
Experiencing Music is also a challenge, not only an uncomplicated and relaxing listening (during which many music lovers read, think, or do other things anyway...).
I don't pretend that everybody has to like Brun's music, but one should just say this openly - and eventually explain why, if he has a certain level of culture.
Which piece exactly made you fall asleep? Which Symphony? Which Concerto?

An intelligent and adventurous Amazon reviewer wrote this very appropriate sentence:
"Brun has some very forthright movements full of heroism, energy and punch with a style that is a little 'choppy'. I think others have alluded to this lack of musical narrative. I feel the narrative is there but in truncated brisk sections, but it does take some getting used to. The slow movements/sections are a wonderful contrast with long languid, sighing melodies, expressive orchestration and some beautiful notes for the horns. I really am enjoying these uncharted waters. So throw the compass away and just set sail!"


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Jolly Roger on June 09, 2019, 08:04:13 am
@ Jolly Roger
One can also fall asleep listening to Beethoven or to Mozart - if one feels tired or is unable to concentrate...
Suppose this is the very first Brun CD you are confronted with - but you feel already in right to give an overall verdict on this composer before knowing him properly?
Unable to formulate an authentic/original reason for your dislike - you just suppprt a superficial and arrogant music review? This is grade school level too!
You must have a strange relationship with music...
Experiencing Music is also a challenge, not only an uncomplicated and relaxing listening (during which many music lovers read, think, or do other things anyway...).
I don't pretend that everybody has to like Brun's music, but one should just say this openly - and eventually explain why, if he has a certain level of culture.
Which piece exactly made you fall asleep? Which Symphony? Which Concerto?

An intelligent and adventurous Amazon reviewer wrote this very appropriate sentence:
"Brun has some very forthright movements full of heroism, energy and punch with a style that is a little 'choppy'. I think others have alluded to this lack of musical narrative. I feel the narrative is there but in truncated brisk sections, but it does take some getting used to. The slow movements/sections are a wonderful contrast with long languid, sighing melodies, expressive orchestration and some beautiful notes for the horns. I really am enjoying these uncharted waters. So throw the compass away and just set sail!"
What you say is quite true, I have lost focus with other composers as well. But I did not consider Bruns music to be top-shelf even after repeated listening. I did return to Brun a couple of times after that and was disappointed because others had found great value there and I could not.
Please accept my apologies if I have have discouraged anyone to give him a spin,that was not my intent.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on June 09, 2019, 11:22:35 am
@ Jolly Roger
No need to apologize! After all we should be happy to be (still) living in a free world, enabling us to express our personal opinions and tastes :-) We are not in China.
Other music lovers, interested in the music of Fritz Brun, will, hopefully, decide indipendently from any pre- (or post-) criticism!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on July 07, 2019, 08:44:56 am
In the meantime I have found out that there is a sequel to Anderson's arrogant statement:

In the July/August 2012 issue of "Fanfare", Jerry Dubins writes:
Martin Anderson, in his review of Brun’s Third Symphony, quotes a friend who described the composer’s music as “typically Swiss – all sex and no orgasm.” I’m more inclined to describe it as all foreplay and no sex.

Although his review is a positive and substatial one, Dubins had no better idea than to ruminate Anderson's statement and to include it as a "dessert".
 
A composer friend of mine means that:
Otherwise generally very capable reviewers fall into one of the easiest traps for a reviewer and that is to be cute at the expense of being helpful in knowing what the music under review sounds like

Incidentally, as far as I know, foreplay is already a part of sex.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: dhibbard on July 07, 2019, 07:56:51 pm
I for one, and glad to see the reissue of the complete symphonies on the Brillant label.  To finally have them all in one set is wonderful.  Sterling label seemed so unreliable.   Thank you Adriano to bringing his works to us!!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on July 08, 2019, 06:38:49 pm
Many thanks, dhibbard :-)
After the release of the first CD on Sterling, the sponsor decided to switch over to Guild for purely financial and administrative reasons. Sterling is as reliable as Guild, but in the meantime Guild Switzerland has closed down and Guild UK are no more interested in doing Swiss repertoire. Anyway, they never were intererested in a boxed (re-)issue.
Incidentally, both Sterling and Guild just financed the pressing and the booklet. Which means that the big merit goes to the sponsor. You can imagine what this has costed (orchestra, studio etc.).
Which means that the masters are (still) propriety of the sponsor - and that he had licensed them to Brilliant. He and I, we were very happy that Brilliant took over this project! But for obbvious reasons we had to renounce to all sort of royalties.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Greg K on July 08, 2019, 06:55:49 pm
Many thanks, dhibbard :-)
After the release of the first CD on Sterling, the sponsor decided to switch over to Guild for purely financial and administrative reasons. Sterling is as reliable as Guild, but in the meantime Guild Switzerland has closed down and Guild UK are no more interested in doing Swiss repertoire. Anyway, they never were intererested in a boxed (re-)issue.
Incidentally, both Sterling and Guild just financed the pressing and the booklet. Which means that the big merit goes to the sponsor. You can imagine what this has costed (orchestra, studio etc.).
Which means that the masters are (still) propriety of the sponsor - and that he had licensed them to Brilliant. He and I, we were very happy that Brilliant took over this project! But for obbvious reasons we had to renounce to all sort of royalties.

What, Adriano?

You won't be getting rich off the Brilliant reissue?


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on July 10, 2019, 06:50:10 am
I never got rich off any CDs I've recorded. The conditions were always that I have to renounce to neighbouring rights. Klaus Heymann of Marco Polo/Naxos was the first offcially using this method of exploiting his artists. Not to speak about his minimalistic conducting fees... Of course I was paid in the case scores and instrumental parts had to be prepared.
It's a pact with the devil: would you not agree, he would say "then you can go elesewhere". Unknown artists should be happy to be promoted this way. So far, I never got one single concert-hall conducting engegament based on my CDs. Concert agents even turned me down just becase I was working for Klaus Heymann. On the other hand I must be grateful to Klaus Heymann for having "discovered" me as a recording conductor...
All Marco Polo projects I was able to realize were ideas of mine (including its cover pictures' subjects), so I agreed and decided to stay until having reached a quantity of 30 CDs. Actually all the Marco Polo repertoire were ideas of its artists; Klaus Heymann and his consulting wife had no knowledge at all of obscure composers at that time - in other words, we artists (and also some musicologists) alone were the "soul" of this label. They would just say "let's do it" or "no".
Some call me an idealist, some other a much too generous person. But maybe Klaus Heymann was an idealist at that time too. In any case he is a very clever businessman - and his big goal today is to buy up as much as possible media companies and distributors. In a way he is a modern "Citizen Kane".
I even conducted some Marco Polo recordings for free or I brought in some money from sponsors, otherwise they would have been turned down. But there was never a warm thanking word for my devotion and initiative... There is an article about this, called "too obscure!", in the "special feature" chapter of my website.
As far as Brilliant are concerned, I sympathise with them, since they are idealists too - and nice people - and have re-released these Brun recording for free. But compared to Naxos, Guild and Sterling are "poor" labels; all of their productions have to be fully sponsored. Well, in the meentime, also labels like Toccata and many others survive only thanks to fully financed projects. As far as the "big" labels are concerned, Cecilia Bartoli once told me that, for example, her luxuriant Decca booklets had always to be financed by sponsors.


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: Greg K on July 10, 2019, 05:09:25 pm
How exactly do you make a living under those circumstances?

Or don't you have to?


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on July 10, 2019, 07:38:34 pm
I had a 25-years' job at the Zurich Opera as a "maestro suggeritore" (conducing prompter), language coach (Italian, German, French and English) and assistant conductor. I also teached Italian and French languages stylistics at the Zurich Opera Studio.
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle used to engage me as a recitative specialist in his Mozart productions. I was also specialized in old Italian style (for Monteverdi and Barque operas). nobody really cares anymore about exact - and stylistic - pronounciation. In the 1990s I was invited at the Moscow Gnessin Institute for masterclasses in German, Italian and French opera and art song language stylistics. I had a huge succes - but I did all this for free. My mother tongue is Italian.
Now, of course, I am a pensioneer. And right today is my 75th birthday...


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: britishcomposer on July 10, 2019, 10:23:57 pm
And right today is my 75th birthday...

And you are spending this very special day here with us?
All best wishes and many happy returns!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: dhibbard on July 11, 2019, 03:59:38 am
Happy Birthday !!


Title: Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?
Post by: adriano on July 11, 2019, 07:15:37 am
Thanks, dear Friends.
It was a memorable birthday indeed, since a heawily negative review was published by a Lucerne newspaper, full of incorrect, incomptetent and unjust sentences - and some personal attacks. One more Swiss reviewer having a problem with Adriano... I am used to it since many years. His review caused harsh reactions from two readers, one protested online, another (a German musicologist and conductor) wrote an e-mail to the newspaper's chief rédacteur. They found this way of journalism unprofessional and said that such a writer should be thrown out.
The same happened two weeks ago on jpc's selling website, where the Brun Box is presented. Another uncapable amateur reviewer (under the pseudonym "L. v. B."!) claimed that this music was far away from the level of the great composers, that there was not even a theme or motif one could remember, that the artists were medicore and the sound balance insufficient. He posted the same text (under his real name) on Amazon.de - and there two other customers protested violently, saying that this guy probably listened only to a few bits of the music. In the case of Brun, one cannot generalize; his works are so different. And, before judging them, once shoul seriously listen!
All this a very provincial behaviour!