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  • Atterberg: Symphonies Vol. 2 [Neeme Jarvi, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra] [Chandos: CHSA 5133]
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Atterberg: Symphonies Vol. 2 [Neeme Jarvi, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra] [Chandos: CHSA 5133] Hybrid SACD, SACD

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Atterberg: Symphonies Vol. 2 [Neeme Jarvi, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra] [Chandos: CHSA 5133] + Atterberg: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1- Symphony No. 4 / Symphony No. 6 / Suite No. 3 / En Värmlandsrapsodi
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Product details

  • Conductor: Neeme Jarvi
  • Composer: Kurt Atterburg
  • Audio CD (3 Feb. 2014)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Chandos
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,884 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No 2 - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
2. Symphony No 8 - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Neeme Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra present Vol. 2 in their series of the Symphonies of Atterberg. It is part of a larger recording project focussed on Scandinavian music, which has already seen Neeme Järvi give highly regarded performances of works by the Norwegian composers Halvorsen and Svendsen with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. During his lifetime, Kurt Atterberg was the most renowned Swedish composer both at home and abroad, as well as a successful conductor, critic, and administrator. He was a composer of clearly structured and brightly melodic music, whose large orchestral output includes nine symphonies, of which the Third and Sixth have already been released.

Symphony No. 2 was started in 1911 when the twenty-four-year-old Atterberg was still a student of engineering. It was originally conceived and premiered as a two-movement work, but after a hostile critical response Atterberg added a third movement. Like much of Atterberg's music the symphony is deeply rooted in tradition, following classical forms closely but filling them with harmonies and melodies inspired by Swedish folk music. Atterberg composed the Eighth Symphony in 1944. It features a rich tapestry of Swedish folk material which Atterberg gave fresh harmonies. A playful, vigorous, and light piece, the symphony was well received at its premiere in 1945, even soliciting a congratulatory telegram from Sibelius.


Jarvi directs a relaxed, affectionate performance and the Gothenburg orchestra reponds with full-blooded, life asserting playing that the music leaps from the page as coercively and convincly as one could wish. --IRR, Mar'14

Exuberantly fresh-air symphonies, expansively performed here. ***** --BBC Music Magazine, May'14

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Davis VINE VOICE on 9 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Second Symphony is probably a good entry point into Atterberg's music. It dates from 1911-1913 and I suspect that it would appeal, for example, to admirers of Sibelius's Second Symphony. The recording is great and Neeme Jarvi, a conductor I greatly admire, brings an epic grandeur to this approachable work. This version certainly meant more to me than the other two recordings I have of this work (enjoyable as they are). The folk inspired No 8 features my favourite Atterberg movement - the slow movement and I bet that once you have heard the main tune, it will stay in your mind. The last movement is not, in my view, of the same standard of inspiration as the other three, but I would still not miss this disc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Drag Race of Symphony No. 2; The Folksy Bounce of Symphony No. 8 5 Mar. 2014
By Swedish classical music lover - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Before I cracked open the plastic on this CD, the timing for the second symphony smacked me in the face. "Sheesh! Is this right?" Yes, it said symphony two, and, yes, I then pulled my Stig Westerberg and Ari Rasilainen recordings of the Symphony 2 off the shelf and compared. This symphony clocks in at no photo finish: where the third movement of Westerberg and Rasilainen has barely begun, Järvi is stepping out for the third bow (no, it's not a live recording).

But does it work? Does this blitz really work?


But not during the critical moments.

Readers familiar with the second symphony know that the minutes sandwiching the second movement are some of the most glistening, colorful, ecstatic, and climatic moments in the symphonic genre, like Sibelius dining with Respighi. You just don't want the music to end, as it progresses through a series of natural, yet unanticipated, key changes, melodic inversions, and counterpoint. While Rasilainen lets you enjoy every drip of color and the diversity of instrumental tones, Järvi plows through these two sections, so fast, capturing the momentum of the building climax, but barely giving me time to digest the fruit basket, the pallet of Atterberg's unparalleled orchestration. This was after a first movement that equally gave you little time to enjoy the flutes, the bassoons, the clarinets, the cellos and violins, the horns, but just moves you along, quickly, through a melodic 100 meter dash. Where his speed is most effective are moments in the middle sections of the second movement, and the third movement as well, where previous recordings can sometimes languish through lesser moments that bore easily at a second gear speed. Järvi adds pep, swing, and rhythm to these sections, enlivening moments like previous recordings never did.

The essay on the second symphony highlights Atterberg's time writing this work. He slept on the cliffs of the Stockholm archipelago, writing this work. What a beautiful place to conceptualize this work--I made a point to take a trip to the Stockholm archipelago to see first hand what nature landscape inspired this beautiful music. Clear, but dark blue water, accenting the deep blue sky, smooth rounded rocks from pebbles to boulders, fragile coniferous trees, small inlets with quaint villages and small harbors--mostly vacation homes now--, and islands, islands, islands, everywhere you look, small ones, medium ones, but everywhere. Gorgeous.

If only the Rasilainen interpretations on the gushing sections, and Järvi's interpretations on the "down times," could be fused, then we would have a near perfect Symphony 2. As is, I recommend the Rasilainen recording over the Järvi.

For this overly caffeinated symphony two, one of the most outstanding works in the symphonic repetoire in my opinion, I give this recording a four star rating.

It is in the eighth symphony that some of Järvi's interpretive intentions become clear. Why did he, after all, choose to release the two folk symphonies and the jocose sixth in volume one and two, but we must wait for symphonies one, three, and five until later? Järvi recently recorded the symphonic works of both Halvorsen and Svendsen, both of which, if characterized between either Grieg and Sibelius, would fall more in line with the former than the latter. Järvi well interprets Atterberg's folk symphonies, including the eighth, accenting with his characteristic speed the sway, bounce, and pep of folk music. I did not like tapping my toe to Atterberg's symphony two, but that's what impulsive twitches took over. I would have never tapped my toe to Rasilainen's interpretation of the folk symphonies, but Järvi's interpretation brought to life music that Rasilainen let lag perhaps a bit too much. Järvi's rhythm is welcome in the eighth, and he brings to sprite life repetitious runs on the woodwinds and strings that colorfully accent heavy beat. This works well, surprisingly, in the slow second movement, though Rasilainen's passionate interpretation works equally well, just in a different way. Overall, i recommend Järvi's interpretation of the eighth.

What Järvi's interpretations bring to light is the dualism in Atterberg's Scandinavian stylistic canon. On the one hand, some of his works are folksy, are rhythmic, and shine when interpreted like playing Grieg's Symphonic Dances. On the other hand, other works are mystic and naturesque, and shine when interpreted like playing Sibelius' Seventh Symphony. Sometimes, the mix of these elements occupy the same work. The conductor who can sensitively synthesize both of these styles into Atterberg will unlock much of these works' beauty.

We await the rest of this series eagerly.

And hope someday his five operas appear on recordings as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Järvi's Excellent Atterberg Series Continues 27 Feb. 2014
By Matthew Estabrook - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I've been eagerly awaiting the second installment of Neeme Järvi's Atterberg series since last spring's excellent, Grammy-nominated debut. This second volume features the late-Romantic Swedish composer's heroic Second and folk-hued Eighth symphonies. Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra take the Second Symphony at a blistering pace, chopping nearly 10 minutes off the 40-minute span of Ari Rasilainen's masterful reference recording for the CPO label. At first, this was disappointing, because Rasilainen's slower tempos impart more gravitas and yield more dramatic climaxes, at least in the first movement. But after repeated listenings, Järvi proves equally convincing, especially in his luminous second movement and sizzling third. The Eighth Symphony strikes me generally as a somewhat less captivating work--tuneful but less epic than the Second--and Järvi and the Gothenburgers give it an energetic and enjoyable performance. It's a shame that Atterberg's consistently winning music isn't heard more often; perhaps this series will help address that. (And if you like what you hear here, you should certainly consider investing in Rasilainen's complete CPO cycle on CD too.) This album is already one of my 2014 favorites.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Haste makes waste for Jarvi 28 Mar. 2014
By Ears 4U - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I had high hopes for this cd as I've enjoyed most of the Neeme Jarvi CD's I've bought in the past. I'm also an ardent admirer of Kurt Atterberg's music, especially the Second symphony. Knowing this, plus the prospect of state of the art (well sometimes) Chandos sound, how could you go wrong, right? I guess anybody can have a bad day, but having Stig Westerburg's incomparable recording of Symphony No. 2 with the Stockholm Philharmonic as my benchmark, I must say this version is a miserable failure. Mr. Jarvi's tempos are way too fast on everything here, as if he just wants to get thes damned thing over with. The 8th however does fare a little better though as it is certainly a lovely work. Jarvi seems to have a slightly better grip on this work and the overall sound is soft and very nice indeed. Still, there are better versions to be had. Overall this is a disappointment, especially for Jarvi's fast & furious interpretive mumbo jumbo of Atterberg's great 2nd symphony. He just doesn't understand this composer's music and that doesn't bode well for the rest of this cycle. Stick with Stig.
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