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SALVADOR BROTONS - Symphony No. 5 'Mundus Noster' - Salvador Brotons (Conductor) - Balears City Of Palma Symphony Orchestra - 747313316373 - Released: July 2013 - Naxos 8.573163

1} Symphony No. 5 'Mundus Noster', Op. 117
2} Oboe Concerto, Op. 115
3} Four Pieces for String Orchestra, Op. 14

Internationally renowned and award-winning composer Salvador Brotons brings classical music into the here and now, depicting our contemporary world in his Fifth Symphony. Its first three movements are musical representations of the more negative aspects of the human condition, before the slow, final section offers a positive resolution. The Oboe Concerto brings out both lyrical expressiveness and virtuoso thrills from the soloist, and the Four Pieces for String Orchestra was the prize winning work which brought acclaim and recognition to Brotons at the age of seventeen. {Naxos}

Spanish composer Salvador Brotons (b. 1959) has been the Conductor and Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (US) since 1991, plus full-time and guest conductor of many other fine orchestras around the globe, and is a highly respected teacher of composition and conducting, and has been the recipient of many awards for his compositions which now top over 125 works. But yet, for some reason, has been passed over by the recording industry. This new Naxos recording of some of his main works should go a long way to rectify this situation and easily convince many other musicians and recording labels to join in the fray.

His Symphony No. 5 'Mundus Noster' (Our World) for example, written in 2010, belies it's recent vintage and sounds closer to something that may have been composed in 1910. Its concern with the "human condition", a favorite subject from that period in time, and typical four-movement layout project all the earmarks of a great symphony. At times scored for separate groups of the orchestra (brass, percussion, strings) it almost becomes a concerto for orchestra, but a unified sense of purpose from the sombre opening pages to the uplifting coda bears all the standards of a symphonic statement. Here and there, there is a subtle soupçon of Mahlerian gestures, but not enough to detract from Brotons' own voice and style. Even the Four Pieces for String Orchestra, written when he was only seventeen, bear the stamp of a composer in full mastery of his material, and put to shame similar music by more famous composers.

Let's hope that the people at Naxos will keep promoting this composer's fine efforts, and release more CDs of his orchestral output.

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2013