position as composer-in-residence to Swedish Radio assured his
music of encouragement and exposure. This was a position he held
from 1937 to 1953. These works, written between the ages of 19
and 26, predate that appointment. His Pastoral Suite (deftly
poetic and light on the aural palate) and the phenomenally successful
God in Disguise (recently recorded with English language
narration by Intim Musik) were works well lodged in the Swedish
consciousness. Their impact was extended across the world through
transcription discs freely distributed to radio stations.
are three concert overtures. The Second Concert Overture
is busy, neo-classical, pesante and heartless.
You could not say that of his 1927 Fiddler's Last Journey.
This is a ballad for baritone and orchestra. It is his Op. 1.
This is a romantic piece which would with some adjustment have
suited Jussi Björling. It has a slow cortège tread
and a patriotic nobility which is strange in a piece setting a
poem about the funeral of a country fiddler. Nature pays more
heed to his passing than the country folk he had entertained.
The music is strongly reminiscent of the orchestral songs of Grieg,
Sibelius and Alfvén.
forward five years for the Sinfonietta and look
in vain for any shred of Nordic romanticism. This is purposeful
and neo-classical and bustles along rather than sings - like a
blend of Holst, Rawsthorne and Hindemith. A cool humanity rises
gently from the placid extended Largo with a central Presto
section. After a première by Tor Mann the piece made a
favourable impact at the 1934 ISCM in Florence but the composer
later withdrew the piece.
Bright Country is from the same year as the Sinfonietta,
a work drastically different in style. This cantata for soloists,
chorus and orchestra was written for a competition run by the
Swedish Federation of Choirs. The poems are by Joel Rundt. They
extol the beauties of the Ostrobothnian countryside. In this piece
we trace the pastoral idyllica discerned from other Larsson cantatas
including The God in Disguise, The Hours of the Day
and The Red Cross. This is not demanding music being
smilingly singable and with no disorientating trendy-arty voices.
It has much the same artless lack of affectation as his Op. 1.
The choir and orchestra evoke patriotic sentiments in music that
maintains a soft and complacent curve. This makes for undemanding
and pleasing listening without stirring the mind or emotions unduly.
disc neatly couples two works from Larsson's early pastoral style
and two others from his co-existing neo-classical face.
Scandinavian music enthusiasts and choral societies interested
in trying an example of smooth Nordic romanticism.