Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


The Romantic Swedish Flute
Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) Vallflickans Dans (1923) [4.08]
Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942) Sommarsång; Till Rosorna; Gratulation; Lawn Tennis; Frösö kyrka; Rentrée [20.57]
Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Adagio Amoroso (1967) [6.52]
Gösta NYSTROEM (1890-1966) Partita for flute, harp and strings (1953) [17.53]
Gunnar de FRUMERIE (1908-1987) Pastoralsvit (1933) [13.06]
Göran Marcusson (flute)
Strings of the Gothenburg SO/Thord Svedlund
Gothenburg Concert Hall, June, Sept 1992
INTIM MUSIK IMCD 018 [63.34]

Sentimentality, grace, rustic charm and flightiness flicker and dance through the flowingly performed music on this disc. This is romantic music indeed but the composers and arranger as well as the performers avoid suffocating these fragile blooms with honey and the necessary elusive restraint is shown in the Nystroem.

The Alfvén and Peterson-Berger tracks are all as arranged by Jerker Johansson. The other works are as written by the respective composers. Interestingly the two substantial works, those by de Frumerie and Nystroem, have their origins in Paris. Both composers were studying there in the 1920s and frequented the artists’ café known as ‘Dôme’. There they met Karol Szymanowski and the French flautist and conductor Philipe Gaubert. There was some talk of Szymanowski, Nystroem and de Frumerie writing a composite flute concerto - rather like the Mont Juic dances of Britten and Berkeley. The co-operative work did not come to fruition but both the Swedish composers produced their own work for flute and orchestra; in the case of de Frumerie there is also a 1969 flute concerto.

Nystroem’s work is chaste … melodic, yes but with a chilling softening of focus over the proceedings. The work starts in an unorthodox way with an adventurous lengthy Lento chastely lulling into a bright allegro. This prepares the way for an Adagio in which a song by Szymanowski is quoted. This is followed by a gently rocking Canto Semplice very French at first but in which we can hear the shreds of similar moments in the Sinfonia del Mare. Speaking of that work the Symphony’s determined scherzo with its grim Bernard Herrmann mordant rhythms is echoed in the Molto ritmico. Those rhythms will make you think instantly of the crop-duster episode in North-By-North-West. The work was written in 1937 the year of Szymanowski’s death and is dedicated to the memory of that composer.

If the Nystroem has an Arctic cool the de Frumerie is warmer, pastoral (no surprises there), sentimental, cheery and appealing. It is a personable work of no great profundity but catching perfectly the fragile and evanescent moods of any peaceful pastoral scene. It is likely to be instantly appealing to anyone who loves the lighter music of composers such as Julius Harrison, Ronald Hanmer, Richard Rodney Bennett and Fauré. The de Frumerie, like the Nystroem is in five movements and the Sarabande would be an excellent track to sample. He is at his very considerable best in the slower movements.

Of the other tracks the Atterberg is his very last piece. It is dedicated to that champion of the baroque, the German conductor, Karl Ristenpart. The music is sweet and very slow moving. This is not something you can say about the firefly brilliance of Alfvén’s Vallflickans Dans extracted from Bergakungen (1923) although there is a central sargasso. Peterson-Berger’s Frösöblomster (a long cycle of piano solos - a bouquet of flowers) were designed to be appreciated by everyone; not just the artistic ethereals. They have been recorded many times and the Bis recording of the complete cycle is well worth tracking down. Numerous arrangements have been made so purists will have no cause to look askance at Mr Johannsson’s work on the first six in the sequence. These pieces are the perfect accompaniment to a summer walk among woodland and along the shore. Tennis by the way was the composer’s favourite sport. He had a tennis court constructed near his custom built house on the island of Frösön far from the pressures of Stockholm. The fact that he was a most uncompromising music critic who never took prisoners need not detain us from absorbing the Nordic radiance of these simple pieces.

Rob Barnett

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