The contrast between the de
Frumerie and Martinsson pieces is stark. Martinsson’s
single movement work is Bergian in idiom. This is for the most
part melancholically ruminative although it does stir its thews
towards the end; no conflagration though. Think in terms of
a meeting of minds between Berg, Nielsen and Bernard van Dieren.
The poetic Suite by Gunnar de Frumerie echoes with a sensibility that is part Baroque
and part romantic. The movements are Introduction
and Fugue; Saraband,
Siciliano with four variations and ending
with a cheery Tarantella.
Woodwind quintets usually do ‘cheery’ to a tee and that’s certainly
the case with the final movement of this work.
no truck with cheeriness. His players squeal and buzz. His Winter Pieces 2 is about the same length as the Martinsson. There
is more poetic substance in the Börtz notably during its Martinů-like
intensely incessant chirruping. At that point it recalls the
start of the Czech composer’s Sixth Symphony. Towards the end
the cycling and bubbling motif slows steadily but not before
reminding us of similar writing in Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony.
The Rosenberg Quintet carries the marking ‘Ekbacken, 29th July 1959’.
The work stands close to the centre of his sequence of a dozen
string quartets. He began writing his last six quartets in 1956.
Bengt Emil Johnson, in his liner-note, points out that all twelve
of the string quartets are written in ‘free twelve tone technique’
and that the quintet is redolent of the landscape around Skåne.
The work is suffused with birdsong, pastoral atmosphere, shafts
of sunlight and nature scenes. This is all irradiated with an
unintimidating twelve-tone language that registers naturally
without academic awkwardness.
The recording is larger than
life with plenty of depth and width. The notes are in English,
Swedish and German.
The title ‘Flames’ is as good
as any other but is simply a ‘coathanger’ from which to suspend
this pleasing contemporary woodwind collection drawn from the
riches of Sweden’s production during the last half century.
Another fine and well-chosen
production from Daphne. I am looking forward with even greater
anticipation to the release later this year (2005) of their
recording of the Wirén string quartets 2-5 (Lysell Quartet,
Daphne 1021). Not long now, I hope!