Brüll, Ignaz

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Brüll, Ignaz

Serenade E-Dur Op. 36

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Ignaz Brüll – Serenade in E major op. 36

(b. Proßnitz, Moravia, 7 November 1846 – d. Vienna, 17 September 1907)

 

Preface
After the music-loving merchant family Brüll – the father was a singer, the mother played the piano – moved to Vienna in 1850, son Ignaz, whose exceptional talent was evident early on, received piano lessons from Julius Epstein, one of the most prominent pianists of his time. Gustav Mahler was one of his students. Brüll began to compose at the age of eleven. Johann Rufinatscha and Otto Dessoff, conductor of the Vienna Court Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic, were his teachers. At 13 he performed his sonata for violin and piano together with Joseph Hellmesberger, at 15 his first piano concerto (soloist: J. Epstein) was premiered. The opera Die Bettler von Samarkand (The Beggars of Samarkand) and the Serenade op. 29 followed three years later.

By his extensive concert tours, which took him all over Europe, he established his reputation as an excellent pianist. From 1872 he was a teacher at Horák’schen Clavier-, Orgel- und Gesangschulen (music school) in Vienna. With Johannes Brahms and Karl Goldmark he developed a close friendship which he kept throughout his life. Often he joined the composers to try out the new orchestral works on the piano four-handed first. His private circle included Gustav Mahler, Robert Fuchs, Eusebius Mandyczewski, Eduard Hanslick or Theodor Billroth.

Brüll wrote a dozen dramatic (Das goldene Kreuz) and orchestral works, vocal music (choirs, duets, solo songs), concerts, chamber music and numerous piano pieces. His three serenades (1866, 1879, 1893) were well liked by the public. Brüll spent most of his life in Vienna, where he died in 1907. He was buried in the Jewish section of the Vienna Central Cemetery. His Jewish origins were an important reason why he has fallen into oblivion.

The Serenade in E major, Op. 36 (duration: approx. 15 minutes), dating from 1879, requires three flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A, two bassoons, three horns, two trumpets and a timpani. The first movement, “Allegro vivace”, in dotted three-four time, depicts a carefree hunting scene (winds) in idyllic surroundings (strings).

Dotted rhythmical structures dominate the following movement, “Marcia. Allegro ma non troppo”. This is contrasted by a 32-bar middle section in triplets (three flutes).

The finale, “Allegro moderato”, starts with melodic garlands in the flutes, followed by the clarinets. The main theme is heard first in the high strings and is passed through to the lower instruments as the movement progresses. The concluding Animato is dominated by the semiquavers of the violins, heading towards the end with determination.

The music is catchy and fits Brüll’s character: dreamy, lovable and, to quote his friend Johannes Brahms, “harmless”1 in the best sense of the word.

Julia Moser, 2022

Additional sources
– Reinhard Müller, Art. “Ignaz Brüll”, in: Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal, Archiv für die Geschichte der Soziologie in Österreich, <https://agso.uni-graz.at/archive/marienthal/biografien/bruell_ignaz.htm>.
– Robert Pascall, Art. “Brüll, Ignaz”, in: Grove Music Online, first published 20 January 2001, published online 2001, <https://doi-1org-1alkz8qau002d.han.onb.ac.at/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.04149>.

1 Richard Heuberger, Erinnerungen an Johannes Brahms. Tagebuchnotizen aus den Jahren 1875 bis 1897, Tutzing ²1977, p. 53.

Performance material is available from Schott, Mainz.

 

Read German preface > HERE

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