Alexander Brincken, born in Leningrad in 1952 and Swiss-based since 1992, writes in an accessible and unashamedly late-Romantic language. His grandiose Fourth Symphony of 2014–15, written for a huge orchestra, has echoes of a number of earlier composers, among them Berlioz, Bruckner, Martinů, Wagner and, especially, Franz Schmidt and Richard Strauss, all assimilated into a big-hearted style that blends dignity, lyricism and power, with a strong sense of the Swiss landscapes in which he has made his home. The earlier Capriccio for piano and orchestra – a concerto in all but name – has, in turn, something of the sober strength and wiry energy of Frank Martin – curiously, since it was written seven years before Brincken moved to Switzerland.
Alexander Brincken, piano Royal Scottish National Orchestra Rainer Held, conductor Maya Iwabuchi, leader
Capriccio for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 11 (1985) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0550/Track05.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0550EAN/UPC: 5060113445506Release Date: 01.12.2019Composer: Alexander Brincken Artists: Alexander Brincken, Rainer Held, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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David Owen :
How dare he! Alexander Brinken has written a symphony with such a gloriously warm, romantic and joyful slow movement that he really should be kept well hidden in case others get such subversive ideas. I really had to check the date of composition just to be sure. “Rachmaninov Lives Again” might be my subtitle for the Adagio though obviously there are other influences at play over the piece as a whole with Bruckner being the most obvious and more than a few hints of Schmidt. Each movement works in a broadly similar way, a fairly tentative opening with a gradual build up via a contrasting middle section which is, as he points out in the booklet, is not really the same way as a sonata movement normally works.
All the movements, but particularly the first two, have wonderful ideas often superbly orchestrated and the finale does seem to have a hint of satire about the way music and life in general is going these days. Congratulations also to Rainer Held for being a true hero (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and it’s nice to see my “home” orchestra doing the honours. Taken as a whole, there’s nothing else like this that I’m aware of in contemporary music.
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