Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Nordic Wind Band Classics
Geirr TVEITT (1908-1981)

The Old Mill on the Brook Op. 204 (1962)
Sinfonietta di soffiatori Op. 203 (1962)
Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b. 1928)

A Soldier’s Mass Op. 40 (1968)
Aulis SALLINEN (b. 1935)

Chorali Op. 22 (1970) for 32 Winds, Percussion, Harp and Celesta
Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960)

Festival Overture Op. 26 (1909)
Revised and re-orchestrated by Gunnar Johansson (1974)
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)

Paraphrase on ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ FS 63 (1912)
Realised by Wayne D. Gorder
Ole SCHMIDT (b. 1928)

Hommage à Stravinsky (1985) for Symphonic Winds, Timpani and 3 Percussion
Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra/Clark Rundell
Recorded Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 27 and 28 April, 2002 DDD
CHANDOS CHAN 10038 [59:23]


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Despite its title, Nordic Wind Band Classics, this disc features several premiere recordings of works that will be unfamiliar to many. That said, there is much to interest both enthusiasts of Scandinavian music generally and those with an interest in the growing repertoire for wind band. This is a repertoire that is expanding largely thanks to figures such as Timothy Reynish and Clark Rundell at the Royal Northern College of Music. Both men have been strongly involved in building interest in the medium and persuading a good number of younger composers to write works for symphonic wind band in the process.

Geirr Tveitt is a name that has become considerably more familiar to record buyers since Naxos began to champion his work a couple of years ago. Born and resident in the Hardanger region of Norway for his entire life, much of his output and lifetime collection of folksongs was tragically lost in a fire that destroyed his rural home in 1970, an event that understandably devastated the composer. Whilst certainly not oblivious to stylistic developments in the wider musical world (an hour or so spent with the Naxos recordings of his piano concertos will testify to this) much of his music reflects nostalgia for a way of Norwegian life that was fast disappearing during his latter years. Both of the pieces recorded here, the brief yet haunting Old Mill on the Brook and the more substantial Sinfonietta di soffiatori, are predominantly lyrical, gentle and folk-tinged, often touching in their innocent manner. Only in the third movement of the Sinfonietta, Fanfara funebra, do storm clouds gather towards the close, albeit quickly dispelled in the music of ‘Mountain Joy’ that follows.

Einojuhani Rautavaara and Ole Schmidt are exact contemporaries although their Finnish and Danish roots respectively have sent them in rather different directions creatively. Rautavaara’s A Soldier’s Mass was written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Finnish army and reflects the personal experiences of the composer in the army, both during peacetime and as a teenager during the Second World War. Although bearing individual titles (The Lord of Battles, Have Mercy on Us, On the Field of Glory and At Death’s Door) the four movements each also carry references to their place in the mass itself. The final movement, In hora mortis, is particularly affecting, Rautavaara in mystical mode and not far away from Cantus Arcticus (minus the birds) that was to follow four years later. The Schmidt on the other hand is a highly witty, very much tongue-in-cheek three-movement suite that uncannily captures the dedicatee’s sound world. Musical quotes abound, not all of which are necessarily cribbed from Stravinsky himself, often tossed around and juxtaposed to hilarious effect (Ravel’s Bolero gets a notable ribbing in the second movement) and as such the piece occupies very different musical territory to any of its bedfellows.

Conceived in typically symphonic style, Aulis Sallinen’s Chorali is a largely sombre memorial to his parents, a deeply felt processional that organically unfolds over its nine and a half minute span and which melodically, is not always far away from his slightly older compatriot Rautavaara. Nielsen’s brief Paraphrase on Nearer My God to Thee is something of an oddity, written for a memorial service following the sinking of the Titanic in which many Danes lost their lives (the orchestra were said to play the hymn as the ship went down) Nielsen was to later react against what he then considered to be its strong programmatic nature. In point of fact it is not without interest (listen for the wonderful modulation and entry of the tuba at 0:30) and is heard here in a realisation by Wayne D. Gorder. The only Swedish representation on the disc falls to Hugo Alfvén. His spirited Festival Overture is conventional enough in its formal conception but is perhaps most notable for its characteristically rich vein of melody and imaginative scoring.

Clark Rundell and his Royal Northern winds give polished performances of pieces that are worth getting to know. Whether they are "classics" of the genre is open to opinion but this is, nonetheless, a highly worthwhile disc that will give considerable enjoyment.

Christopher Thomas

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