JULIEN-FRANÇOIS ZBINDEN (b.1917): Symphony No. 1 for Chamber Orchestra, Op. 18 (Orchestre de la Suisse Italienne; Matthias Aeschbacher. rec. 5/20-21/2004), Symphony No. 2 for Large Orchestra, Op. 26 (Basel Radio Orchestra; Jean-Marie Auberson. rec. 8/19/75), Symphony No. 3 for 15 Brass, Strings, Harp, Piano and Percussion, Op. 77 (Sinfonietta de Lausanne; Auberson. rec. 11/21/89), Symphony No. 4 for String Orchestra, Op. 82 (Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Jesús López Cobos. rec. 1/28/93), Torneo veneto for String Ensemble, Op. 64 (Lausanne CO; Armin Jordan. rec. 11/8/82), Prosphora: Overture sur des thèmes grecs, Op. 61, Elégie for String Orchestra, Op. 76/1 (Lausanne CO; Lawrence Foster. rec. 11/20 and 12/7/87 respectively).
Catalogue Number: 09K008
Description: In his first symphony, Zbinden writes instantly approchable, tonal music which has neo-classical characteristics, a cantabile quality in slow movements and which is unafraid to just have fun (as in the "comedy overture"-type finale of the first symphony, a rare, "unbuttoned" personality for Central Europe in 1953). Yet all four symphonies open with slow introductions which range from somber to tense to mysterious before bursting into bright and often cheerful activity and the more edgy sensibility of Honegger and other Swiss composers on both sides of World War II is also often present in Zbinden's slow movements (and much of the rest of the second symphony of 1956 has a spiky momentum). The Third (1989) employs polytonality with markedly rhythmic elements in its outer movements which surround a romantic song and a corale. The Fourth (1992) has movements successively tense and agitated, slow and funereal, tender and sad before its virtuosic and positive finale. The shorter works are also attractive, Torneo veneto (1989) using two Venetian songs and Prosphora (1979) three Greek folk-songs. 2 CDs.