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Berwald: Piano Quintets
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Berwald: Piano Quintets

11 Jan. 2000 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 11 Jan. 2000
  • Release Date: 11 Jan. 2000
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2000 Naxos
  • Total Length: 1:10:34
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LZKSR8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,859 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2011
Format: Audio CD
I recently bought this delightful disc of Swedish chamber music at the same time as another Naxos CD, of Berwald`s Piano Trios. The latter are pleasant and highly listenable but it is his piano quintets, brought together here on this 70-min disc, which I`ve found I keep wanting to come back to.
In the first quintet alone there are ideas aplenty, all presented, as well as recorded and played - by the obviously excellent Uppsala Chamber Soloists and pianist Bengt-Ake Lundin - with a light, lucid touch. The whole CD, right down to one of Naxos`s obscure yet apt cover paintings (Scandinavian Coast by one Walter Moras) is presented with care and loving attention to detail, all of which makes this an exemplary recording from this enterprising bargain label.
Berwald (1796-1868) knew Liszt, who was supportive of the older composer, though the Swede was an artist barely honoured in his lifetime, either at home or abroad. As the sleevenotes point out, "He continued to draw inspiration from the classicists and early romantics, Gluck and Mozart being among those he admired. What was foreign to Swedish audiences of the day was his pronounced personal style, rather than anything truly revolutionary". The influence of Gluck, so important to Berlioz and others in the late 18th & early 19th centuries, can perhaps be discerned in the clarity and a certain emotional restraint to be found in this nevertheless always inventive music.
If, like me, you are drawn to chamber music and have never heard Berwald`s excursions in the form, hesitate not. There is, too, a languid lyricism to the slow movements that is utterly disarming.
A digressive postscript re the cover painting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CGKent on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's worth reading up on Berwald's curious life story as background to this delightful music. Not that his work as an orthopaedic surgeon or as manager of a glass factory could possibly lead you to expect the fantasy of these quintets. Swedish critics were not kind to him so his reputation didn't prosper at home; foreign musicians were hardly more generous. Premieres had to wait years, some till after his death. What a pity as his music is full of wit, charm, airiness and bon homie.

Berwald doesn't really sound like anyone else; remarkable in itself for someone who was a contemporary of Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Rossini et al. He wrote in a brisk, breezy manner reminiscent of Mendelssohn and Weber but this does him no justice - there is quirkiness too and a willingness to break the conventions of form and harmony though never for its own sake. It would seem from these pieces that he not only knew the music of his contemporaries but could have claimed knowledge of such abstruse fare as Scottish ballads and Scandinavian folk song. The first quintet is a case in point: a strong opening theme decorated with crisp piano runs is followed by a second subject at half the speed. He performs no mean conjuring feat to balance these two contrasting moods; no less a musician than Liszt thought his craft with development of themes was exquisite. The second movement is almost reminiscent of Grieg if it weren't for the fact that Grieg was some 50 years Berwald's junior.

There's another way to hear this music: Berwald is a musical raconteur. One might think of him sitting on a settle in a local inn, warmed by an open fire, cheerily burbling away about those things that have struck his fertile imagination. (Though a photo of him in the 1860s shows us a rather sour expression.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
If You Like the Berwald Symphonies.... 4 Aug. 2009
By M. C. Passarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you enjoy the Berwald symphonies, you will certainly enjoy these quintets. They have all the hallmarks of Berwald's orchestral music: bubbling melodies, mercurial turns of phrase, the Schubertian interplay of dark and light. In fact, the only criticism that can be lodged against them is that they retain the glittery run-dominated pianism of earlier chamber works for piano, such as those by Weber, Schubert, and Hummel, not venturing into the newer pianistic sound world promulgated by Schumann, Mendelssohn, et al. in their chamber music.

Interestingly, the A Major Quintet is dedicated to Liszt, who earlier bridled at Schumann's Piano Quintet as being too "Leipzigerisch." How this champion of program music came to value Berwald's classically minded quintets of the 1850s probably speaks to Liszt's usual generosity of nature (which in his defense he showed more often to Schumann than the latter did to him in return). Then again, the Berwald quintets recycle music from some of the tone poems the composer wrote, probably in Vienna, in the 1840s, so maybe Liszt was responding to extramusical references after all. Be that as it may, Liszt was on to something when he praised Berwald's quintets because they are inventive, attractive works by any standard.

The performances by the Upsala Chamber Soloists and Bengt-Ake Lundin are bright and assured and are captured in clean, wide-ranging sonics in the flattering acoustics of the Alfven Hall, Upsala.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Two masterpieces perfectly played 28 July 2007
By R. Rockwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Berwald was rarely perfoormmed in Sweden during his life-time. A few people know his symphonies which have been recorded by Naxos and others, but don't miss out on his chamber music which is some of the most beautiful I have ever heard. is first quintet is highly tuneful but pales in comparison to his second which was praised by Liszt. This CD conains two additional movements which may have been included in performance. Berwalds piano quintets in this recording are so touching and beautifully played they become esstential for any basic classic music collection I own hunreds of Naxos discs and this is one of my favorite.

Please excuse typos I have a neurologigic disease.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A World of His Own 9 Sept. 2008
By Terry J. Lehane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Berwald's chamber music is filled with such originality, panache and--a thing of rare quality after Beethoven--A SENSE OF HUMOR. Whether we listen to his duos or his quintets he never ceases to please. Liszt admired Berwald, but he warned him not to expect to be discovered during his lifetime.
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