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ClassicsOnline Home » BRUSA: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
Nuova e Nostra
Elisabetta Brusa (b. 1954)
Orchestral Works, Volume 1
Florestan (1997), for large orchestra, is a symphonic work freely inspired by Schumanns well- known imaginary character portrayed in his many essays on music, later collected in Gesammelte Schriften über Musik und Musiker. Florestan reflects the fiery, passionate and fantastic side of Schumanns own character. I also consider it an autobiographical portrait.
Messidor (1998), for orchestra, is a free and graceful fantasy inspired by the various masterpieces, both literary and musical, under the title A Midsummer Nights Dream. The word Messidor was used to define the period from 19th June to 24th July during the French Revolution, when the yearly calendar was temporarily changed. The work is dedicated to my husband, the conductor Gilberto Serembe.
La Triade (1994), for large orchestra, is a symphonic poem freely inspired by a fable by Aesop. The three elements that make up the drama are a fox, a snake and a tangle of thorny brambles caught up in tempestuous and menacing scenery (musical atmospheres and sound effects). The literary text, elaborated by Giuseppe Brusa and translated from Italian is as follows:
Rain pours down incessantly, a curtain of water shaken at times by violent gusts of wind. It seems as if the deluge will never end - clear skies and the sun are only remote recollections or perhaps even an illusion of the mind. Nightfall comes precipitously. The clouds pile up, a great shapeless mass, accompanied by thunder and fringed with lightening. From time to time loose ends of whitish vapour, at a lower level, dash about in unforeseen directions, like advanced patrols on sudden reconnaissance missions. The bad weather seems to have reached a paroxysm in this uninhabited valley between its craggy straits. Thunderbolts with crashes and flashes hurl down, burning the top of the defenceless fir-trees. The stream, inordinately swollen, has left its bed and is crashing with fury against rocks usually out of reach of its foaming assaults. It breaks into the banks among the roots of the trees, eroding the earth and attacking the stability of the trunks. At times, constrained between rocky cliffs, it runs impetuous and compact, as if going to face new battles and conquests.
And here comes a fox, moved by fear and by destiny. The drenched fur emphasizes its thinness. It moves along the higher edges of the stream, looking for a safe shelter. Restlessly it turns its head, glancing over its shoulder as if in fear of new and immediate dangers. It reaches a point sufficiently high above the stream that is now spreading unopposed across a plateau. The fox finds shelter in a small cavity in the rock just slightly larger than a coat. It leans its sharp muzzle out, the watchful eyes glittering in the dark. Suddenly its attention is taken by an indefinite shape among the boulders and the waves.
A great tangle of thorny twigs, dead in winter and torn from their grave by the flood, is being dragged violently downstream. Among its prickly thorns, washed and almost resuscitated by the waters, the coils of a snake are untangling. It is alive and poisonous and is trying to keep its head above the foam in a desperate yearning for air and a haven less precarious than that in which it is forcibly seized. That great knot of boughs and thorns, poison and scales passes out of the narrow passage into the wider stream just under the rocky spur on which the fox has found shelter. For one instant the leading characters of the play are all together. A gleam sparks suddenly from the brain of the fox, which breaks into a chilling laugh:
"The pilot is worthy of the boat, Ha, Ha, Ha." Its raucous voice seems for a moment to overpower the uproar of the elements, whilst the bundle of twigs and its occupant race speedily across the plain and disappear into inscrutable darkness.
Both the composer and the author were inspired by Leonardo da Vincis description of The Deluge, taken from his treatise on painting.
Nittemero Symphony (1985-1988), for orchestra, or ensemble of fourteen performers, is cyclic; there are themes with a unitary character recurring in all three movements. The first, Allegro ma non troppo, is in a varied rondo form; the second, a Largo, is a free fantasy; the third, Allegro ma non troppo, is in sonata form. They reflect the course and variations of feelings and moods during the entire 24-hour cycle of a day according to the astronomical definition of ancient Greek times. (Nittemero, from ancient Greek, means night and day.) The cycle was measured from midday to midday of the following day. There was thus an afternoon, (Allegro), a night, (Largo), and a morning, (Allegro). A further connecting factor is the main tonal centre of B flat, common to all three movements. New techniques, neo-tonal (in part minimalist), are amalgamated with traditional contrapuntal techniques. The work is dedicated to my best friend, Anna, on the birth of her son Giovanni.
Fanfare (1996), for large orchestra, is a free fantasy inspired by various compositions that were written throughout the centuries for ceremonial and celebratory occasions. Thus the preponderant use of the brass and the melodic interval of the fourth, typical of this instrumental section, though fused within a neo-tonal language and techniques. The work is dedicated to the conductor Odaline de la Martinez with grateful thanks for her moral and practical support.
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BRUSA: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1