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Braein: Complete Symphonies / Szilvay, Norwegian Radio Orchestra


Release Date: 06/03/2008 
Label:  Simax   Catalog #: 1227   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edvard Fliflet Braein
Conductor:  Peter Szilvay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRÆIN Symphonies: No. 1; No. 2; No. 3 Peter Szilvay, cond; Norwegian RO SIMAX 1227 (79:11)


During the postwar years and on into the 1950s, Edvard Fliflet Bræin (1924–1976), together with his exact contemporary Egil Hovland, represented the bright, youthful future of Norwegian music. The 1950 premiere of Bræin’s First Symphony presented by the great conductor Odd Grüner-Hegge focused hope and expectation on the talented Bræin, who then received a government grant to study at the Read more Paris Conservatory, along with several other promising members of his generation like Edvard Hagerup-Bull (b. 1922) and Johan Kvandal (b. 1919). Bræin studied with the elegant neo-Classicist Jean Rivier, and shortly after his return to Norway in the early 1950s, he produced a Second Symphony.


From his very beginnings Bræin showed himself to be a fairly slow and careful craftsman: his catalog is relatively modest in size, with strong traditionalist roots and allegiances. The First Symphony is by far the longest of the three at 35 minutes (Simax mistakenly lists it as 20 minutes), and its four conventionally structured movements exemplify his predilection for the large gesture and the fully fleshed-out symphonic argument. Although its form is Classical, the content—as in most of his music—has solid nationalist undertones in the form of mournful themes and pungent accents. This impressive, though not in any way innovative, work could be described as Halverson brought up-to-date with mild dissonance.


The Second Symphony, premiered in 1955, is considerably sleeker and more cohesive with its three movements (the last two linked attaca -style) clocking in at just 25 minutes. The work opens in a rather somber mood with a longish yet ultimately varied Adagio that is almost half the duration of the whole work. The ideas still retain traces of the Norwegian melos, but the piece in toto is more cosmopolitan in idiom and manner and with a sharper harmonic edge.


With his Third Symphony Bræin achieved an ideal fusion of his basically conservative instincts and his sophisticated training. In its single-movement, 18-minute embodiment the symphony is an exceptionally well-integrated statement wherein rhapsodic impulses are kept in check by the suggested outline of an overarching Classical sonata form. Bræin’s sometime volatile penchant for the majestic alternating with the melancholic is in full evidence, and anyone who responds to the Nordic sound world will take immediate pleasure in these symphonies.


It should be noted that in the final years of his all-too-brief life, Bræin overcame his then-reactionary marginalization with two operas, one of which, Anne Pedersdottir of 1971, is now considered a cornerstone of the Norwegian operatic repertoire.


The Norwegian Radio Orchestra under Peter Szilvay, a protégé of Mariss Janssons, brings off this intelligent and imaginative music with all the snap, crackle, and polish it deserves, and the acoustic is appropriately sharp and detailed. It was an excellent idea for Simax to bring together these three first recordings in order to draw attention to one of Norway’s best second-generation modernists. Now, how about a look at the thrilling and powerful half-dozen symphonies of another older Norwegian composer and Bræin’s first teacher, Bjarne Brustad (1895–1978)?

FANFARE: Paul A. Snook


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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1, Op. 4 by Edvard Fliflet Braein
Conductor:  Peter Szilvay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Norway 
2.
Symphony no 2, Op. 8 by Edvard Fliflet Braein
Conductor:  Peter Szilvay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Norway 
3.
Symphony no 3, Op. 16 by Edvard Fliflet Braein
Conductor:  Peter Szilvay
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Norway 

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