WALTER BRAUNFELS (1882-1954): Don Juan, Op. 34, Symphonic Variations on an Old French Nursery Song, Op. 15.
Catalogue Number: 01R004
Description: Don Juan should have become one of the most famous and performed variation sets among German composers of Braunfels’ generation. But, of course, he was half Jewish and the war killed late Romanticism and brought us Darmstadt. Premiered by Furtwängler in 1924, Don Juan is a set of seven variations (lasting 34 minutes here) on Don Giovanni’s “Champagne Aria” from Mozart’s opera. Later on, Braunfels also makes use of the Là ci darem la mano duo in two of the variations. The mood ranges from dark and threatening to light and frothy and back again as the composer puts a large orchestra through its paces and hauls Brahms into the early 20th century. The 16-minute Old French Nursery Song variations are from 1909 and are one of Braunfels’ first two orchestral works. Even with such a lyrical and naive-sounding tune as a basis, the composer similarly clothes it in a rich romanticism that transfigures its simple origins. Altenburg-Gera Philharmonic Orchestra; Markus L. Frank.