I had never heard of
de Frumerie before, but enjoyed this
release very much. The music is emotionally
bright, colourful, tonal, melodic, sensual,
extremely well crafted, rhapsodic and
He entered the Stockholm
University College of Music at the age
of fifteen and after winning a scholarship
in 1929 studied in Vienna and then Paris.
Carl Nielsen had written him a letter
of introduction to Arthur Honegger.
In Paris de Frumerie studied counterpoint
with Sabaneyev, a Russian in exile noted
for the difficulty of his assignments.
In 1945, de Frumerie began to teach
at Stockholm University, attaining full
professorship in 1962, and appearing
frequently as piano soloist.
De Frumerie praised
Honegger and Britten, but even on a
few minutes’ hearing you could never
mistake this music for either of those
composers, for de Frumerie has his own
unique voice. In time his name may rank
at least as high as theirs. Interestingly,
his music does not resemble Nielsen,
Sibelius, or Shostakovich, but leans
more towards Miklos Rozsa, or Ottorino
Respighi, or a cheerful Ernest Bloch,
with just a hint of Alan Hovhaness here
made a spectacular appearance some years
ago at the Edinburgh Festival playing
the complex and very difficult Donald
Francis Tovey Cello Concerto, a work
written for Casals. He brings the same
virtuosity and the luscious tone of
his 1692 Stradivarius Cello to his performance
of De Frumerie’s intriguing Cello
Concerto which makes particular
use of the instrument’s rich low range.
The work is reminiscent of Bloch’s Schelomo
in the many rhapsodic passages for cello,
and also in the episodic structure which
gives the work the feeling of a single
large movement, although it is actually
divided into three movements.
The Violin Concerto
begins with a luscious melody which
is immediately taken up by the orchestra
in symphonic variations. Singing passages
for violin alternate with vigorous,
dramatic, symphonic development. The
last movement opens with a theme not
unlike that of the Brahms concerto,
then after some development the theme
of the first movement re-enters and
the two themes are developed together
and come to a very satisfying conclusion.
This is a very strong work which can
easily bear comparison with any of the
great violin concertos, and the violinist
is in every way equal to the task. Both
the concerti were still being revised
by the composer at his death, so they
have never been published.
The Theme and Variations,
the only work on this disk that has
been published, is agreeable, romantic,
and colourful, finishing off with a
fine orchestral fugue.
The photos in the booklet
are unusually interesting—we have portraits
of the composer as a young adult, in
imposing middle age, and in old age.
We have a photo of the conductor playing
table tennis against both of his soloists
at once—Ringborg and Lidström—and,
Your first thought
upon hearing this disk will probably
be the same as mine—let’s hear more
of De Frumerie soon!
see also review
by Rob Barnett
Gunnar de FRUMERIE
Suite for flute and piano Op. 13a
(1933) [11.26] Piano Trio No. 1 Op.
7 (1932, rev. 1975) [15.29] Four
Etudes for piano Op. 28 [13.32]
Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor Op. 23
Mats Widlund (piano) Tobias Carron
(flute) Ulrika Jansson (violin) Pascall
Siffert (viola) Ulrika Edström
(cello) rec. 2-6 Oct 2001, 22 Feb 2002,
21 Aug 2002, Studio 2, Radiohuset, Stockholm.
DDD Musica Sveciae Modern Classics No.
PHONO SUECIA PSCD 713 [68.51] [RB]
often life-enhancing outdoor vision.
Buy with confidence ... these works
will leave you wanting more please ...
and soon. ... see Full