Alfvén: Symphony No 3, Etc / Willén, Royal Scottish National

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The late romantic Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén is remembered primarily for music in a cheerful, folkish vein, but the works collected on this release contribute to rounding out the personality of this multi-faceted musician. While his good-natured spirit is evident here, particularly in the sunny Third Symphony--"an expression of the joy of living" in the composer's words--Alfvén's capacity for melancholy and for heroic drama are also revealed.
The 'Dalecarlian Rhapsody,' the title referring to a region of his native Sweden, is a particularly striking work. Framed on both ends by a lonely oboe solo, the work proceeds through a series of episodes in a dream-like state, evoking memories of rural dances, church hymns and other scenes through folk-derived themes. If both this and the tone poem 'Legend of the Skerries' depict less perilous Nordic landscapes than, say, Sibelius' 'Tapiola,' there are numerous dark moments and dramatic outbursts. In all the works here, Alfvén's pictorial gifts and skill in orchestration approach that of his contemporary Richard Strauss. Fellow Swede Niklas Willén leads compelling and colorful performances in this recording, with an expert understanding of the nationalist idiom.

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8553729

  • UPC: 730099472920

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Hugo Alfvén

  • Conductor: Niklas Willén

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Scottish National Orchestra