I confess I hadn't heard of Braunfels until about 2010 when I bought what turned out to be a truly wonderful disc called 'Two Roads to Exile' where Artists of the Royal Conservatory play Busch's String Sextet Op. 40 which is coupled with the String Quintet Op. 63 of Braunfels. I bought the disc primarily for the Busch work having read the magnificant 2 volume biography of Busch by Tully Potter and wanting to hear more of his music.
But it was the Braunfels work that I found deeply satisfying. Tremendous work! He wrote it in 1945 near Lake Constance where he had gone into a kind of self-exile during the war years. Much of what he had gone through in the preceding years is surely expressed in this work of immensely deep feeling.
I also feel a little saddened when I hear people talk of a 'Braunfels revival'. He's never surely been on the musical map where he deserves and therefore the fortunes of his music can't be said to be undergoing a revival. True, he was beginning to meet with great success at the start of his career. But then the Nazis cast him into complete silence. And then when life began to pick up again from the smouldering remains of Germany there seemed a deliberate attempt to turn away from the kind of music that Braunfels had been writing and he was cast into a kind of second silence. It is only in the past 5-6 years, with concert performances, opera productions, and recordings, that the glories of this music have been fully appreciated. Yet it is an uphill task to get people interested in Braunfels - at least in the UK. I was chatting a couple of months ago to the leader of a renowned quartet and trying to encourage him to look at the two Braunfels string quartets he wrote in 1946. He conceded that he'd heard of Braunfels "but didn't really know anything about him", and then added the utterly daft view that "these two quartets must surely be either badly written, impossible to play, or can't be up to much because otherwise everyone would be playing them." How about that as a real stick your head in the sand kind of argument!
« Back to index | View thread »
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb