About this Recording
8.573163 - BROTONS, S.: Symphony No. 5, "Mundus Noster" / Oboe Concerto / 4 Pieces (Arnal Gonzalez, Orquestra Simfonica de Balears Ciutat de Palma, Brotons)

Salvador Brotons (b. 1959)
Symphony No 5 ‘Mundus Noster’, Op 117 • Oboe Concerto, Op 115 • Four Pieces for String Orchestra – Suite, Op 14


Symphony No 5 ‘Mundus Noster’, Op 117

Composed during the summer of 2010 and commissioned by the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona Nacional de Catalunya, Symphony No 5 ‘Mundus Noster’ has a form nearer to that of a symphonic poem than to pure music. With the intention of establishing a closer communication with the listener, I have chosen to present situations of our contemporary world in a musical context. In the first three movements I have sought to represent objective realities and situations of our contemporary society. The last movement, however, is a more personal vision on how to confront our surroundings from an individual perspective.

Instead of labelling the movements with Italian expressions of tempo, I have preferred to encapsulate the situations by expressing them through specific titles. Thus, in the first movement I set forth separately the first incongruence of our world: power (wealth) and misery (poverty). I present “power” in the brass and the timpani with a solemn character. The answer from “poverty” comes, at first, from the static strings, but they become mournful with a melody which grows in tension under a lament in the violas. The “ambition” creates a vivid space in time, where the themes of power and misery are manipulated frenetically within a great agitated crescendo which tries to grow bigger and bigger. The accumulated energy is such that in the end it suddenly explodes.

The second movement starts with a slow introduction, as a sort of reflection, in the low register of the cellos, accompanied by the diaphanous and consonant harmonies of the harp and the vibraphone. Suddenly, the musical language changes to set forth the “hypocrisy” in a grotesque polka following a waltz of false and deceitful lyricism. The harmonies are dissonant (clusters) and seek to express the hypocritical world which is so common nowadays.

The third movement, like the second one, also starts in a slow and reflective space, but this time in the high register of the strings (violin and viola solos) with a more elevated and contemplative vision. Contrast arrives with the violence of the percussion in the fast tempo of the music. With an insistent, continuous rhythm, the violence of our world is illustrated by the wars and aggressive conflicts of humanity. In its central part, heroic sounds of the personal “egos” are represented in more triumphal music.

Finally, in the last movement a more positive resolution is foreseen. It is an entire slow movement with diverse phases of evolution. It starts in an atmosphere of the deepest depression with a lament where the oboe stands out supplicating justice beneath a chaotic world in the strings and brass. Once the chaos dissipates, hope appears with a peaceful new melody in the strings and the harp. The harmonic texture and counterpoint become gentle and tonal. The music rises and arrives at a transparent space (glockenspiel, harp and vibraphone) which later culminates in the individual excelling over the environment. Distant chords, in C major, can be heard in the strings which are finally taken up by the brass in a more affirmative and vehement end.

Oboe Concerto, Op 115

Written during the winter of 2009-10, I thought of this piece as a Sonata as well as a Concerto. It works well either way but in the Concerto form, the orchestra adds a lot more colour and richness of timbre. The piece is conceived in three movements which can also be performed as three separate pieces: Obertura, Berceuse and Tarantella. The overture is in sonata form with all its thematic structure. Without being an atonal piece, it does not follow any traditional tonal plan in its sections. Nevertheless it retains clearly the three sections of sonata-form, Exposition, Development and Recapitulation. In the Obertura, Allegro in tempo, the soloist maintains a varied dialogue with the orchestra, which often acquires a prominent rôle. A culminating point is achieved towards the end of the development as well as in the brilliant Coda. The Berceuse is a very lyrical and expressive piece with a touch of melancholy, in which the oboe sings in all its registers, from the from the dark, lower register to the sweet, higher register. The Tarantella, as its title suggests, is a rapid, entertaining dance, in which the soloist displays his/her virtuoso abilities in the first theme, and expressive qualities in the second theme. Before the Cadenza, and in order to let the soloist rest, the orchestra opens up an ample space of tension in the form of an interlude. A shorter and modified re-exposition of the two combined themes leads to a thrilling end.

Four Pieces for String Orchestra – Suite, Op 14

Written in the spring of 1977, when the composer was seventeen, the Four Pieces received the award of the Spanish National Orchestra Composition competition and was given its première in November of the same year in Madrid by the aforementioned orchestra. It was revised in 2010. The première received unanimous acclaim from both the audience and the press and brought the composer public recognition.

Elegy is a deeply felt piece in “mountain” form: it starts in the low register (pp), growing in intensity and register to a loud climax (ff) before returning to the initial texture with a double bass solo. Humoresque is an intense and fast movement in 5/4 alla breve with several metre changes and with great dynamism and lightness. Nocturn is a lyrical piece, peaceful and evocative with beautiful colour and expressiveness. Dance is a fast movement on a repeated note rhythmic motif with great excitement and drive.

Salvador Brotons

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