Karl-Birger BLOMDAHL (1916-1968)
Praeludium and Allegro (1949) [5.43]
Violin Concerto (1946) [16.20]
Concerto Grosso (1944) [17.55]
Concert Overture (1940) [7.12]
Symphony No. 2 (1947) [22.00]
Ola Rudner (violin)
Helsingborg SO/Stig Westerberg
rec 1989 Helsingborg, Sweden
Scandinavian Contemporary Music Series
MAP CD 9024 (Swedish
Society Discofil associate) [70.08]
Blomdahl's approach to music making is at odds with that of Holmboe or Rosenberg.
His leans toward what we might call tuneful neo-classicism - perhaps Walter
Piston is a reasonable analogue although Hindemith is usually quoted as the
These works, largely unknown and many, if not all, being world premiere
recordings, are from the 1940s just before his 'explosion' onto the international
stage with Symphony No. 3 Facetter at the 1951 ISCM.
The Praeludium and Allegro is classically dour with that Nordic
predilection for gloom. The Allegro is gritty - rather like Tippett
(Little Music for Strings) with a dose of Allan Pettersson thrown
in. The dapper and busy little violin concerto (Dumbarton Oaks with
an infusion of the melodic expression of Tippett's Concerto for Double
String Orchestra) is playfully neo-classical in the outer movements.
It turns to a dream-like sour tunefulness in the andante. This is
a work that will instantly endear itself to those who appreciate the Benjamin
Frankel or Bo Linde violin concertos. I would not be surprised if Schnittke
was familiar with this piece before writing his neo-Baroque concertante pieces
The Concerto Grosso is academic of contour but thankfully a perky
clarinet theme provides some humanity. The andante simmers over a
low flame like a bass-heavy version of the Barber Adagio. The other
two movements are vigorous (like the finale to Wirén's
Serenade) and, in the finale, retreat, at first, into a misty Bergian
lament. William Alwyn's Second Symphony and the Concerto Grosso No. 2 have
their counterpart in this music.
The overture is a sturdy item and is as brash a piece as you will find on
this disc. Grippingly Beethovenian it seems to have been written with the
tempest clouds of Beethoven's Ninth in mind; that and the rolling tumbril
of Brahms Symphony No. 1. The sharply accented rhythms also recall Beethoven's
Fifth cross-cut with some undeniably catchy trumpetry (3.30) and the rattle
of a side-drum echoing Shostakovich's Leningrad.
The Second Symphony after rejection was dug out after Blomdahl's Facetter
success at the ISCM. The outer movements are raucous, cleanly orchestrated
and rhythmically patterned with fugal material in the first. Between them
comes a hesitant Bergian Molto tranquillo rising from a perfectly
peaceful equilibrium to a climactic statement skilfully built to the template
of a Shostakovich largo.
A major treasury for Blomdahl admirers, actual, hopeful or intended. Enhanced
by wide-ranging notes from Christina Tobeck.
Available in UK from Koch International
phone 020 8832 1800 fax 020 8832 1813
Also see the website: www.prophone.se