Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

PO Swedish Music Information Centre
Box 27327, SE-102 54 Stockholm, Sweden


Swedish Piano Music (1910-1945) - Volume 2
William SEYMER (1890-1964)

Sommarcroquiser - Summer Sketches (1917-20) [10.28]
Ingmar MILVEDEN (b.1920)

Sonatina Op. 10 (1943) [9.43]
Olallo MORALES (1874-1957)

Two Fantasies Op. 15 (1920) [14.04]
Ture RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947)

Fiddler's Springtime (1943) [8.21]
Henning MANKELL (1898-1930)

Two Nocturnes (1918) [10.13]
Knut HÅKANSON (1887-1929)

Ten Variations and Fugue on a Swedish Folksong (1929) [12.19]
Niklas Sivelöv (piano)
rec. Studio 2, Radiohuset, 18-20 June 2001. DDD


With the exception of Rangström the names of these composers are all but a closed book outside well informed Swedish circles. Much the same can be said of the first collection on PSCD715. There the quasi-exception was Yngve Sköld - hardly a household name. You have to hand it to the Swedes; they do not lack courage, steady resolve and adventurous artistic spirit. They and colleagues in Denmark remain an example to other nations in this respect.

Seymer, who made his living from music journalism, wrote a modest number of pieces. His Summer Sketches are rather Grieg-like. Certainly they have that difficult to define Scandinavian air of innocence and yearning about them. This is Macdowell yet tougher; Børresen yet more emphatically Nordic; John Ireland yet more direct. Milveden has also produced sparingly, his concentration being on scholarship of Gregorian and medieval music. The Sonatina is a spicy brew; more 'modern' than the Seymer (whose roots lie with Mendelssohn and Schumann). There are discords and rhythmic devices that for me recall Lennox Berkeley rather than the models (Hindemith and Nielsen) suggested by distinguished note-writer Lennart Hedwall. Morales' Spanish heritage is embraced rather than denied in the passionate Two Fantasies which are, in the case of the first, partly Goyescas and partly Ireland's Amberley Wild Brooks. The second is another of those decisive, plungingly tempestuous pieces derived from the great examples of Liszt (the Sonata) and Rachmaninov (the two sets of Etudes-Tableaux). Rangström, writing within five years before his death, writes an almost conventional set of rural sketches setting out the ways of the peripatetic fiddlers: romantic, inconstant, rootless and with that tantalising hint of danger and the sinister (try the Allegro furioso tr. 12). The sequence ends inventively, without self-pity, in moonlight, with the fiddler alone.

Mankell was taught by Liszt pupil, Hilda Thegerström and wrote a piano concerto (1917), three piano sonatas (1908-1918) and six Fantasy Sonatas (1926-29). Going by his Two Nocturnes his music stands between the 'tropical' impressionism of Cyril Scott, the modest woodland sentiment of Macdowell and the lichen-trailing ambiguities of Frank Bridge. The Bridge connection is strongest in the tintinnabulation of the second nocturne (tr.14). Håkanason's Variations are rather unsurprising and classically conventional. The folksong is, unnervingly for British ears, rather like God Save The Queen leaving the impression of some piano-duelling piece by Ries or Kalkbrenner, Henselt or Liszt. This is not the most attractive work here but one misfire amongst six is not bad ... and who knows ... you may find more than I did in this piece.

The liner notes (Swedish and English) are much enhanced by good portraits of the composers.

Sivelöv, who makes a bright-eyed and subtle champion for this music, is strongly recorded. Another feather in the Phono-Sueciae cap.

Rob Barnett

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.