Aureole etc.




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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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AURORA: Music of the Northern Lights
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
from "Peer Gynt": Morning Mood [4.15]; Anitra's Dance [3.43]; Solveig's Song [5.11]; The Death of Åse [3.51]; In the Hall of the Mountain King [2.60 ]
Cow-Call - Peasant Dance (Nordic Melody op. 63 no.2) [5.12]
Praeludium from "Holberg Suite" [2.58]
Norwegian Dance op. 35 no.2 [2.30]
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor: Adagio [6.22] Lilya Zilberstein, piano
Homage March from "Sigurd Jorsalfar" [8.47 ]
Last Spring (Elegiac Melody op. 34 no.2) [4.45]
Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960)
Midsummer Vigil (Swedish Rhapsody no.1) [12.46]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
from "Karelia Suite": Intermezzo [4.08]; Alla marcia [4.43]; Valse triste [5.38]
from "Four Legends from the Kalevala": Lemminkäinen's Return [6.22]; The Swan of Tuonela [7.35] Björn Bohlin, English horn (cor anglais)
Finlandia [9.06]
Andante festivo [5.05]
Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1935)
Entry March of the Boyars* [4.32]
Armas JÄRNEFELT (1869-1958)
Berceuse* [3.05] Christer Thorvaldsson, violin solo, Claes Gunnarsson, violoncello solo
Praeludium* [2.54]
Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927)
Notturno from Serenade in F major op. 31 [6.24]
Interlude* from the cantata "The Song" [4.26]
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Negro Dance from "Aladdin Suite" [4.29]
Overture to "Maskarade" [4.23]
Dag WIREN (1905-1986)
Marcia* from Serenade Op.11 [4.33]
Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986)
Romance* from "Pastoral Suite" Op.19 [4.48]
Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b.1928)
The Bog* from "Cantus arcticus" [7.38]
Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874)
Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop* [3.35]
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
*Newly recorded for this issue. The other selections have been previously released.
Notes in English, Deutsch, and Français. Photos of the artists.
DG 471 747-2 [2 CDs: 77.06+79.39]


No doubt there is somebody at Universal who draws a salary deciding what order these pieces were put on the disk. Why eleven pieces by Grieg and the seven by Sibelius, for instance, should have been scattered over two CD sides instead of being lined up as you see them above, or even more astonishing, what Carl Nielsen’s Aladdin, or Lumbye’s Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop have to do with the Northern Dawn, so mysteriously pictured on the cover floating serenely above a dark lonely pine forest, is obviously a mystery known only to those who have college degrees in "marketing." Having got my degree in the far more useful everyday field of astrophysics, naturally I know nothing about it.

I do occasionally commend a disk as making a good background sound, however this disk isn’t suitable for that because much of the music is vigorous, bright and commanding of attention, and the dynamic range has not been compressed (Praise the Gods!) But all of this music is excellent and worth having, wherever you have to search for it, and Järvi always turns in a fine performance. The sound is excellent. The only other similar recording to this that comes to mind is a high tech engineered collection from Eugene Ormandy called "The Fabulous Philadelphians" and the Göteborgians certainly deserve to be compared to them.

A problem might be that most serious collectors already have most of this music somewhere in their collection. But those pieces even fairly industrious collectors are not likely to have are numerous enough that as this disk is available at a bargain price, grab it and run home to play it.

The program notes are sparse enough. They do not disclose that the Sibelius piece, Andante Festivo, is not Festivo (Bolero) from "Four Historic Scenes." They don’t prepare us for a train whistle or conductor’s call in the Lumbye piece, but you would hardly be surprised in any case, although they do mention the recorded real bird sounds in the Rautavaara piece, which is probably the gem of these disks. There are no real cowbells in the Cow-Call Peasant Dance. The Grieg "Sigurd Jorsalfar" March is comically puffed up, a parody of the much more sensitive appearance of the same tune in the excellent cello sonata. This is a beautifully played and recorded Swan of Tuonela, but hardly a match for any of several by Stokowski. This is a good Finlandia, with snarling brass, nicely layered drama, and a clear, unsentimental playing of the Big Tune. I like it better than the Karajan version which we all heard to death in the early days of stereo LP’s. It highlights the God Bless America phrase that Sibelius stole from Berlioz for Finland before Irving Berlin could steal it for the USA. Halvorsen’s Boyars sound like they’ve been marched all the way from Stockholm to Vienna by John Philip Sousa. This Notturno is the most interesting piece by Stenhammar I’ve ever heard.

Paul Shoemaker

 



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