WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927)
Symphony No. 2 (1915)
Serenade (1913 rev
Stockholm PO Tor Mann (Symphony)
Rafael Kubelik (Serenade)
stereo rec Stockholm Concert Hall 15-16 Aug 1959 (symphony) 22-24 Sept 1964
SWEDISH SOCIETY DISCOFIL SCD1114
Do not be too quick to dismiss this generous coupling on account of age.
The recording quality is decent, solid and honest. The coupling is outstandingly
generous and the performances are of great virtue.
The Symphony is pliably romantic; stiffened with folk influences, Brahmsian
mannerisms (listen for echoes of Symphony No.4), Dvorakian woodwind writing
and the most uncanny auguries of the Moeran Symphony. The strings have a
noticeable hint of glassy consistency when under tough stress as in the most
excitable moments in the opening movement. The shepherd pipes idyllically
in the andante and the proud strut of the allegro leads to a Finale which
recalls the fierily alert propulsion of the first movement.
Kubelik makes all other performances of the popular Serenade seem like slouches.
The recording is of broader amplitude than the symphony. The overture flows
like charged quicksilver, giving way to a dignified canzonetta (Sibelian
title and Sibelian idiom - at least as far as the theatre world is concerned),
a bubbly scherzo a-burst with life, a Notturno in which Richard Strauss might
have been edited by Gerald Finzi and a Finale of Brahmsian resolve and romance.
Even now you will not be able to better this version of the Serenade.
Stefan Navermayr has done a great job in reviving the fortunes of this well
respected label which for many LP years effectively carried the torch of
Swedish music high. The generous repackaging of the series was an inspired