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Music Of 19th Century Jewish German Vol 2

Release Date: 06/10/2014 
Label:  Cameo Classics Catalog #: 9027  
Composer:  Ignaz Brüll
Conductor:  Marius Stravinsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belarussian State Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BRÜLL Symphony, op. 31. Serenade No. 1, op. 29 Marius Stravinsky, cond; Belarussian St SO CAMEO CLASSICS 9027 (67:06)

This new Cameo Classics release constitutes the second volume of the label’s series Music of 19th Century Jewish German Composers , an adventurous and much needed project documenting music destroyed or lost during Europe’s wave of anti-Semitism Read more culminating in the Holocaust.

Austrian composer Ignaz Brüll (1846–1907) is one such musician, whose works deserve re-examination. A close friend of Brahms, Brüll was a popular fixture on the Vienna music scene in the second half of the 19th century, composing over 100 works, among them the much-performed opera Das Goldene Kreuz . A Romantic at home in the lush late Viennese idiom, Brüll reflects not only his affinity for Brahms but also the influences of Mendelssohn and Schumann, particularly in the chamber works. But, as evidenced by this disc of his Symphony, op. 31, and his Serenade No. 1, op.29, Brüll was not merely an imitator, but a composer of confident technique and individual voice.

The Symphony in E Minor (1880) is scored for large Romantic orchestra. There are hints of Tchaikovsky in the first movement ( Moderato ) with its quiet introduction, dark orchestral sonorities, and dramatic build, while the second movement ( Allegretto ) is almost chamber-like, seguing into the mischievous third (scherzo) with its arcing Romantic melody in C Major, and ending with a fourth movement ( Moderato ) that progresses from a stately march to a frenetic rush, halted brilliantly by a tiny caesura which adds a melancholy poignancy just before the coda. The orchestration is handled with authority and the assurance of an inventive musical mind, and Brüll’s emotional range is clear in the work.

Serenade No. 1 in F Major, op. 29, (1877) is the first of many such graceful, urbane pieces with which the composer delighted the sophisticated Viennese public. Composed for a smaller orchestra, the work demonstrates the composer’s facility for delicate musical and emotional textures. One can hear the influence of Mendelssohn, particularly in the first movement ( Allegretto ), but also echoes of Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem in the fourth ( Andante ma non troppo ), but once again the piece is not wholly derivative. Rather, it features Brüll’s gift for melody, for creating orchestral colors and beautiful cantabile instrumental lines, and for creating climaxes of dramatic heft.

The young Kazakhstan-born, British conductor Marius Stravinsky conducts the Belarussian State Symphony Orchestra with an animated assurance. He imbues the music with a nuanced tapestry of dynamics and tempos and shapes the works with just the right combination of subtlety and brio, demonstrating a theatricality that is pleasing and not excessive. The orchestra plays with obvious commitment and a firm grasp of the textures of the works.

Recorded in Minsk in 2007, the sound on the disc is somewhat uneven, with the acoustic for the symphony a little muffled and lacking in presence, though the ambiance of the serenade is much more alive. Produced and engineered by Cameo Classics founder, David Kent-Watson, the disc comes with a very spare booklet containting expert commentary by Gareth Vaughan, and a brief composer biography by Philip Gorse excerpted from the project’s web site, ignazbrull.com. There is no conductor or orchestra information, which would surely have been helpful.

Still, this is a disc to be applauded and recommended, as is the entire rediscovery project. To preserve the music of so many neglected 19th-century Jewish German composers, not the least among these Ignaz Brüll, is a task of musical and moral imperative.

FANFARE: Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
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Works on This Recording

Symphony in E minor, Op.31 by Ignaz Brüll
Conductor:  Marius Stravinsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belarussian State Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Austria 
Date of Recording: July, 2007 
Venue:  Minsk, Belarus 
Length: 31 Minutes 03 Secs. 
Serenade no 1 in F major, Op. 29 by Ignaz Brüll
Conductor:  Marius Stravinsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belarussian State Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Austria 
Date of Recording: July, 2007 
Venue:  Minsk, Belarus 
Length: 35 Minutes 16 Secs. 

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