Hugo Alfvén - The Symphonies And Rhapsodies / Jarvi
Some of the most colourful music to come out of Sweden - and indeed some of the most Swedish music there is! - was composed by Hugo Alfvén (1872- 1960). Take for instance the Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 - also known as Midsummer Vigil. This evocation of Sweden's most important seasonal festival combines all the dancing, aquavit, wild-flowers, folk costumes and eroticism one could possibly ask for. Indeed, this work went out into the world as a brightly coloured picture-postcard, becoming a test case for the newly formed Society of Composers, which used it to ascertain the efficacy of the copyright laws in view of the various unauthorised arrangements which soon cropped up. Another well-known work is the brilliantly orchestrated Suite from the Mountain King - one of the most frequently performed pieces of Swedish music. But Alfvén is also highly regarded as a symphonist and himself claimed that his Symphony No.1 was the first to be written 'in the Swedish language.' This attractively priced box brings together all of the symphonies, the three Swedish rhapsodies as well as several other works - all in all a large part of Alfvén's output for orchestra. Previously released on five separate CDs, these recordings by Neeme Järvi and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra were greeted with great enthusiasm by the reviewers. The playing was deemed to be 'marvellously responsive and committed', 'of total distinction' and - according to one critic - sounding as if the orchestra was 'having a ball'. Järvi's readings were 'spectacularly vivid', 'superb', 'finely honed' and standing 'head and shoulders above its rivals'. And, finally, the recordings were described as 'state-of-the-art' and 'superlative'. All in all, the original discs were 'indispensable' and 'recommended with enthusiasm' - and we still believe they are worth every word of praise. But don't take our word for it - please try this very special issue for yourselves!
Catalog Number: BIS-CD-1478-80
Composer: Hugo Alfvén
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble: Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Performer: Christina Högman, Claes H. Ahnsjö