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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Melcher MELCHERS (1882-1961)
Symphony in D minor Op. 19 (1924-25) [35.38]
Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 23 (1931) [32.35]
Johann Ullén (piano)
Royal Stockholm PO/Mats Rondin
rec. Berwald Hall, Stockholm, 28-30 May 2001 (symphony); 3-5 June 2002 (concerto) DDD
Musica Sveciae series
PHONO SUECIA PSCD 717 [68.13]

AVAILABILITY

info@stim.se

Melchers, an associate of Matisse and Modigliani, studied in Paris. His music bears strong French hallmarks. His is not a shade of the Parisian levity of the 1920s; rather the links are to d'Indy (especially the Symphonie Cévennole), Franck and Fauré. The Concerto (the second of two, 1925, 1931) also hints at Saint-Saëns and Schumann - placidly so in the andante where Johann Ullén is in his reflective element. You will welcome this if you have a taste for the romantic piano concerto and wish to avoid barnstormers.

The Symphony is Melchers’ only one. It is played with emphatic virility. Once again this is an earnestly Franckian work. It avoids the Nordic folk element beloved of Ludolf Nielsen and Alfvén and instead is plungingly romantic. Melchers might best be grouped with Francophile nationalists such as the Finn, Ernest Mielck and, from a later generation, Uuno Klami. Anders Edling's note proposes Leevi Madetoja's exactly contemporaneous Third Symphony as a parallel. There is much more emotional breadth and reach in the Melchers work. While Madetoja's Second Symphony is a treasure of the romantic nationalism, his Third lacks effervescence and buoyancy.

This is a typically well documented release - music given an utterly committed outing by Mats Rondin and the Stockholm Orchestra.

Rob Barnett



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