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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Tor AULIN (1866-1914)
Concert Piece in G minor for violin and orchestra (1891) [16.34]
Violin Concerto No. 2 (1893) [23.02]
Gotland Dances (1910) [13.43]
Swedish Dances (1913) [20.09]
Tobias Ringborg (violin)
Gävle SO/Niklas Willén
Rec. Gävle Concert Hall, Sweden, 28-31 May, 23 Sept 2002 DDD
STERLING CDS-1050-2 [73.35]

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Aulin who was to become one of Sweden’s foremost violinists, came of a family of violinists. He joined an orchestra at the age of 14 and studied with Émile Sauret (dedicatee of the Concert Piece) and Philipp Scharwenka. He founded the Aulin Quartet as well as several Swedish musical institutions. He championed both Berwald and Norman with various orchestras including the Gothenburg an orchestra which he co-conducted until 1912. Sjögren’s E minor violin sonata is dedicated to Aulin. The Concert Piece (also known as Violin Concerto No. 1) starts with a gesture exactly like the propulsive start of the E.J. Moeran symphony and this returns towards end of the second movement. The violin writing is lushly romantic - Bruch and Elgar rather than Mendelssohn or Delius - a little like the Sillén concerto recently recorded by Sterling. The concerto ends with heavily accented passion. The Second (of three) Concerto’s themes and treatment do not burn with as dazzling a flame as the Concert Piece but it is a very pleasing work with more Bruch, meltingly romantic string sighs and a dashing Tchaikovskian romance. In the two sets of Dances (dating a decade on from the two concertante pieces) Aulin does an Alfvén or a Bruch (remember Bruch’s Swedish Dances and other ethnic dance-related pieces). The Gotland Dances clump and galumph with stately rustic splendour and with sprightly yet muscular legs and well-turned heel and toes. This sequence of three dances is firmly in the territory we know from Henry Wood’s Fantasia on Old English Sea Songs with the odd episode we can relate to Elgar - either his Bach orchestrations or the Wand of Youth suites (tr.7). The four Swedish Dances sparkle and are full of life - cheery, chilly and ruddy. The flighty first dance suggests a nineteenth century counterpart to Malcolm Arnold. The third sounds a little like the susurration of Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead. While there is the occasional whiff of fake ‘antiquery’ (cf. Walton’s score for Henry V - the music for The Globe) this is mostly sincere unassuming music.

All praise to Bo Hyttner yet again and to Ringborg and Willén for resurrecting these scores and completing the canon of Aulin violin concertos. The Third has been recorded before. The disc is superbly documented in Swedish, English, French and German. Handsomely done, superbly performed and recorded. Well meriting your attention if you are a fan of the romantic nineteenth century violin concerto and of the interaction of classical orchestral music with folk dances.


Rob Barnett



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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