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1  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: July 15, 2019, 07:58:27 am
I am not so sure about that, Gauk :-)
For example Respighi's early violin sonata, quartets and songs. Then we have some quite valuable orchestral pieces, including "Burlesca", which is quite a little masterwork! And what about "Fantasia slava", the A minor Piano Concerto and the "Concerto all'antica" for violin? His opera "Semirâma" also figured in that "not-to-be-performed"-drawer (although it was composed at the age of 31)! And a few years ago, his earliest opera "Re Enzo" was performed with considerable success. Some musicologists also consider his cantata "Christus" a very valubale work. And what about all those transcriptions of Baroque violin pieces and his extremaly successful "Lamento d'Arianna" (after Monteverdi)?
2  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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 - 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!
3  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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...
4  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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.
5  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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.
6  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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.
7  Little-known music of all eras / Rare scores / Re: Tchaikovsky's original Piano Concerto No 1 on: June 09, 2019, 04:27:59 pm
The score of this "original version" is available here:,_Op.23_(Tchaikovsky,_Pyotr)
(see "Version B" - first edition)

The 1998 Koch-Schwann recording with pianist Andrej Hoteev and the 2009 recording with Jerome Lowenthal are also original versions.
8  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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!
9  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? 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!"
10  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: June 02, 2019, 06:04:17 pm
Thanks very much indeed!
Unfortunately I was not allowed to continue with Respighi on Marco Polo... It was very difficult to get along with Klaus Heymann. Still I could record 30 CDs for his labels...
The first edition of my "International Respighi Discography" (which was published in 1979) listed 264 recorded works (on 78s and LPs), not counting LP reissues of 78s.
The second edition of 1996 already listed 834 items (including CDs). At present, my database lists over 1400 items! It's crazy! Still, there are simply too many recordings of his Roman Triology and Ancient Airs and Dances. Very few are really top recordings...
11  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: June 02, 2019, 08:29:55 am
Thanks for these recent postings on Respighi.
But you must consider that this "youthful" list contains practically all "influenced" works. One hears music influenced by Russian and French composers, they are (eventhough highly interesting and techincally perfect) not typically Respighi yet. Even he himself admitted that he had become Respighi with "Fountains of Rome". In "Aretusa", incidentally, he already pre-quotes in a short passage the Trevi Fountain music.
He confined these works to a big suitcase, which I had the honour of opening upon permission by Elsa Respighi - and so it was decided that, in spite of the composer's forbidding, that they were given free for performances and recordings.
Among these, his opera "Marie Victoire" (1914) also figured. I could borrow the huge volumes of the original MS for display at my 1979 Respighi Exhibition at the Lucerne Festival. Between 1990 and 1995 I struggled like a madman to have it recorded on Marco Polo, but they were not interested. Klaus Heymann's usual remark: "too obscure!" It had to wait until 2004 to be produced at the Rome Opera and until 2009 to be recorded (live from Berlin) by cpo. The Rome responsible boasted himself for this "discovery" - but it was me who had decided - already in 1980 - that the manuscript should be score copied and published by Ricordi, since it is a very valuable work (actually based on a French libretto!).

The group of composers Respighi, Pizzetti, Malipiero and Casella is called "Generazione dell'Ottanta" (the - 1880 -"Eighties' Generation"). Casella and Alfano are also belonging to it.
12  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 31, 2019, 10:36:01 pm
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 :-)
13  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 31, 2019, 09:29:55 pm
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.

14  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: May 31, 2019, 07:23:15 am
@ Dundonnell
After all, it's a matter of taste :-)

But I respect your judgement, since already before you there were two MusicWeb reviewers of the same opinion:

"I think it is wrong to give way to the temptation to present Pilati in terms of the romantic archetype of the genius who died young. The Swiss conductor Adriano talks of him in rather those terms in the booklet note to this CD. But that, I think, is to inflate Pilati and his music in ways which may actually do him a disservice by leading to false expectations. On the evidence of these orchestral works, Pilati was a very competent, mature composer, whose work is marked by high craftsmanship and by an eclectic openness to influences – but not by the kind of individuality and originality one might reasonably think to be amongst the hallmarks of genius."

"The curiously mono-nomenclatured conductor, Adriano, also writes the extensive programme notes for this CD. This he does passionately and with considerable persuasion, but he says (and this is quite likely to put listeners off), Pilati’s output "over a period of only eighteen years is already full of surprises and of great maturity, leading the present writer not to hesitate in regarding him as a genius."

Nevertheless, the "curiously mono-nomenclatured conductor" holds his opinion (apparently, the reviewer had never heard of Solomon or Midori). He certainly does not consider him a genius because he died young, but he considers Pilati's stylistic volatility and technical skills as ingenious. And his instrumentations are as virtuous as Ravel's.

Listen to another masterwork: his String Quintet - this may improve your judgement.
In my opinion, to like - or better understand - Pilati's music it also requires a good sense of humour and a large portion of "italianità".
15  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: May 29, 2019, 07:40:09 am
Thanks, Gauk, for this posting :-)
The main theme of Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto could also be such a "huge tune" example.
I actually recorded Pilati's complete works for orchestra (on 2 CDs). The second volume was published by another label (Inedita), which, in the meantime closed down. Naxos did not want to continue with Pilati. A few months ago I was able to re-propose this project to them, which means that this CD will be reissued on Naxos by the end of this year.
Try also Pilati's magnificent Piano Quintet, which is also available on Naxos: a masterwork!
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