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A Swedish Pastorale


Price: £13.22 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£13.22 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

BIS 165 FC; BIS - Svezia;

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ce1d6a8) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d088f18) out of 5 stars Excellent program of gentle Swedish orchestral pieces. 1 Jun. 2015
By johnf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have had this disc for many years, and stumbling upon it while searching out some Scandinavian composers, find that it has absolutely no reviews. For this reason I'll review it since without knowing what on earth it is few people will want to buy it. It won't say "verified purchase" but I've loved the disc for a long time now.

It's been long noted that it was Scandinavia's absence from the Great War that lead to a continuation of the Romantic tradition in the region while Modernism took hold on the Continent. The works on this disc all were composed before the end of the Second World War with the exception of the Blomdahl piece, but that's in a Romantic idiom anyway. All of the works are, as the title indicates, of a gentle, pastoral nature, and I might add that when not overtly happy and dancelike tend toward a melancholy mood. Well, it is a Scandinavian collection. Most of the composers are unknown outside of Scandinavia, so the disc is a good way to sample them without committing to any single large scale work by only one of them.

Lars-Erik Larsson is very popular in Sweden, mostly known from Swedish Radio, for whom he worked. His Pastoral Suite was composed directly for Swedish Radio and was accompanied by poetry. It's brief but delightful, fading in on delicate, Impressionistic strings to a joyful dance of wind instruments. The Romance is a melancholy string adagio, and the Scherzo rushes along in a tumbling, robust manner reminiscent of Stenhammar's great Serenade. The Romance is one of the most popular pieces in Swedish clasical music and is often an excerpted encore piece.Larsson appears later on the disc with another popular work, the stage music composed for "A Winter's Tale". It opens with a memorable, gentle theme on oboe gradually picked up by other instruments until the whole orchestra is playing. An Intermesso is all strings, bowed and plucked to create a Mendelssohn-like mood, followed by a pastoral movement. It ends with an expansively sad Andante. Both Larsson works are from the 1930's.

Kurt Atterberg has the major work on the disc, his Suite for violin, viola and string orchestra. To me it's always seemed an ideal piece to listen to in a very warm and cozy room on a very cold Winter's night. A very melancholy Prelude and Pantomime lead to a movement titled Vision that becomes a hypnotic and spellbinding theme on the viola in its deep tones and dancelike rhythm. Atterberg was a major symphonist whose works were played on the Continent in his day and his Symphony No. 6 is especially worth hearing.

The works by Alfven, Rosenberg and Blomdahl are all short one movement works, but each is effective for its brief moment. Alfen's Cow Girl Dance is all but a square dance with its rural fiddling and is a popular encore piece. The other two pieces are both steeped in melancholy with the Rosenberg "Small Piece for cello and strings" truly elegaic. Blomdahl's "Adagio" is very cinematic in feeling like a long farewell.

The roman Concerto for oboe d'amore is the odd work here. He's a Gustavian composer, so it's as Baroque a work as anything by Vivaldi or Telemann. Except for the fact he is Swedish, there is no connection to the other works in feeling or tone. I never quite understood why it was included, or since it was included, why it wasn't the lead work. Coming as it is between two Romantic works it is a bit disruptive of the general mood of the disc. Aside from that it's a nice concerto played on an actual oboe d'amore. Still, I'd have preferred a Romantic Swedish piece to maintain the mood here, something like Atterberg's Varmland Rhapsody.

Despite using the word melancholy several times in trying to convey the mood of these pieces, don't think it is a depressing or despondent disc. The overall feeling is moody like a cloudy day not despairing. It's a beautiful and gentle introduction to a group of Swedish composers and well worth having.
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