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Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?


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Author Topic: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun?  (Read 920 times)
Gauk
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« Reply #30 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".
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #31 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.
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adriano
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« Reply #32 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!"
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #33 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.
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adriano
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« Reply #34 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!
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adriano
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« Reply #35 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.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #36 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!!
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adriano
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« Reply #37 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.
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Greg K
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« Reply #38 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?
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adriano
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« Reply #39 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.
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Greg K
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« Reply #40 on: July 10, 2019, 05:09:25 pm »

How exactly do you make a living under those circumstances?

Or don't you have to?
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adriano
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« Reply #41 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...
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britishcomposer
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« Reply #42 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!
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dhibbard
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« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2019, 03:59:38 am »

Happy Birthday !!
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adriano
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« Reply #44 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!
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