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Oskar LINDBERG (1887-1955)
Tre dalmålningar (Three Dalecarlian Paintings) op. 1 [18:09]
Festpolonäs Op. 13 [8:37]
Hemifrån (From Home) tone poem Op. 34 (1933) [16:28]
Leksandssvit (Leksand Suite) Op. 41 [17:03]
Gesunda tone poem Op. 54 (1947) [16:00]
Gävle Symphony Orchestra/Michael Bartosch
Rec. 14-17 Mar 2005, Gävle Concert \Hall, Sweden. DDD
STERLING CDS-1067-2 [76:37]


With this disc Sterling’s Bo Hyttner once again makes major inroads into unrecorded Scandinavian territory.

The Three Dalecarlian Paintings have about them a guileless rural courtliness with a Prelude that to English ears hints at the Miller of Dee. There is a dreamily sumptuous Night over the Forest coloured by Tchaikovskian swooning and a Game movement that waltzes with a beguiling smile. This is all unassuming music buoyant with gentle charm and a redolence of Smetana's Ma Vlast.

Five years later Lindberg gave us the Festal Polonaise which harbours an oompah waltz beat and a grand sweep. One or two moments point towards early Tchaikovsky.

From Home was written in 1933 and premiered that year by Vaclav Talich. It must be remembered that for Lindberg home was Dalecarlia. In the case of the present work three regional melodies are woven in. A long and glowingly romantic preface unfolds with warm and steady Delian confidence. Grieg is also an influence amid all this leisurely romantic nationalism. Music of stormy majesty can be heard at 9:45. Lambent writing for strings and the cresting heroism of the brass writing make an impression in this rhapsodic tone poem. It ends with a bubbling reminiscence of the melody first heard in the prelude to the Three Dalecarlian Portraits.

The Leksand Suite is in three artless movements derived from the folk music of Leksand region. Once again Lindberg reminds us of the manner of George Butterworth's tone poems and Vaughan Williams’ Folksong Suite, In The Fen Country and Norfolk Rhapsodies. The middle movement, Song, was written for the funeral of the Nobel prize winning poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt. Its steadily bleached out sighing parallels that in Tchaikovsky's Pathétique. The Polska finale is cheery and mercurial with some nice work for the woodwind solos at 2.11 onwards. It ends with a conventional folksy flourish.

Gesunda is Lindberg's last work and dates from 1947. The title refers to the mountain which looks down towards Lake Silja. The character of the piece suggests a contented cradling. The music muses and murmurs. In all those years Lindberg’s style had not moved on. The writing becomes optimistic, ebullient and rhapsodic, alive with dance rhythms and, at the last, a delightful crepuscular wistfulness, languishing and sighing.

The notes by Stig Jacobsson are typically exemplary.

Relaxed and relaxing Swedish pastoral nationalism from one of the idiom's leading Swedish practitioners.

Rob Barnett

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