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AVAILABILITY Swedish Music Shop

Music of the Swedish Great Power Period
From the Düben Collection, Uppsala
Samuel Peter von SIDON (1640–1700)
1. Sonata con Allemanda, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue [7:58]
Kaspar FÖRSTER (1616–1673)
2. Sonata à 3 in C [5:15]
Johan Erasmus KINDERMANN (1616–1655)
3. Sonata No. 2 in A [3:48]
Wilhelm BRADE (1560–1630)
4. Coral Violino solo e Basso Continuo [5:29]
Johan Erasmus KINDERMANN
5. Sonata No 1 in D [3:53]
Gustav DÜBEN (1628–1690)
6. Suite for Harpsichord: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande [4:40]
7. Una bellissima sonata à Violino con Viola da Gamba e Basso Continuo [3:30]
Vincenzo ALBRICI (1631–1696)
8. Sinfonia à 2 Violini e Basso Continuo [5:20]
9. Sonata à 2 Violini con Viola da Gamba ò Trombone [5:52]
Nicolaus Adam STRUNGK (1640–1700)
10. Sonata à 3 e Basso Continuo [4:12]
Johann Wilhelm FURCHHEIM (ca. 1635–1682)
11. Sonata a due Violini e Basso Continuo [12:11]
Ulrika Westerberg (baroque violin) (1-5, 7-11); The Tre Kronor Baroque Ensemble: Elin Gabrielsson (baroque violin) (2, 8-11); Nora Roll (viola da gamba) (1, 2, 4, 7-11) (lirone) (3); Peter Lönnerberg (harpsichord) (1, 3, 6, 11) (organ) (2, 4, 5, 7-10); Anders Ericson (theorbo) (1-3, 5-8, 10); Michael Karlsson (violone) (9, 11); Berit Lindberg (baroque harp) (3-5);
rec. Värmdö Church 30, 31 January, 15-16 May 2006. DDD
DAPHNE 1025 [63:04]

Sweden was a great power for roughly a century, from the accession to the throne by Gustavus II Adolphus in 1611 to the death of Carolus XII in 1718. Initially it was more a matter of claiming the land around the Baltic but after the Thirty Years’ War the country was a power to be reckoned with vis-à-vis the great powers of Central Europe. Politically and financially this was the case but culturally the Nordic area was still very much in a limbo. Musical culture soon saw great improvements through the efforts of Gustaf Düben, who was Hofkapellmeister, Master of the King’s Music, even during the reign of Christina, the daughter of Gustavus II Adolphus. Her father fought Catholicism, the daughter abdicated for religious reasons, converted to Catholicism and emigrated to Rome, where she among other things engaged Giacomo Carissimi as maestro di cappella del concerto di camera.
Gustaf Düben, who was a very urban person, was in contact with many important musicians in the courts of Europe, Music was sent to him for retaining or copying. This music now constitutes the Düben collection in Uppsala and is a treasure trove of rare works from the early baroque. Most readers, even those who are well-informed on baroque music in general, may raise an eyebrow when confronted with some, if not all, of the names on this disc. Look for instance at Vincenzo Albrici. Even the talented Roman who served as Kapellmeister at the Electoral court of Dresden in the 1660s must be regarded as a fairly marginal figure.
I am not going to indulge in a lot of historical facts and deep analyses of the works of these composers. In several cases very little of their oeuvre survives apart from what is on this CD. I won’t pretend that these are indispensable, finally unearthed masterpieces, that will prompt a necessary rewriting of the musical history of the period. What I can say is that much of it is attractive – and what is attractive is in the last resort up to everyone’s taste. Not being a specialist in the field I still derived much pleasure from this compilation and I would like to point out a few things that attracted me.
The first piece, a sonata by a certain von Sidon, seems to be his only surviving composition, which is a pity, since it is a dramatic and lively piece with lots of character. Johann Erasmus Kindermann, active in Nuremberg, who is represented by two sonatas, also attracted me. Düben himself is represented by a suite for harpsichord. This piece, expertly played by Peter Lönnerberg, is arguably the greatest composition here. But it is not without competition: Albrici’s Sinfonia for two violins and basso continuo has real ‘go’. He has an individual voice that is largely missing in the other works. The anonymous sonata for two violins, viola da gamba and trombone (!) features some swinging sections and Westerberg and Gabrielsson indulge in some really virtuoso violin playing.
The quality of the music-making is never in doubt. Ulrika Westerberg, who is the central figure here, has played with many of the leading baroque ensembles in Europe and her fellow-players are all in the premier division. Tre Kronor, by the way, the name of the baroque ensemble, was the name of the old Royal Castle in Stockholm, which was completely destroyed in a fire in 1697. Today Tre kronor (Three Crowns) is a symbol for Stockholm – visitors will find it on top of the Town Hall – and also for Sweden – the National Hockey Team is known as Tre Kronor. Since this baroque group plays at least as well as the hockey team it is indeed a name they can carry with honour.
Not a disc for the general listener, perhaps, but baroque enthusiasts with a taste for music and composers off the beaten track will find much to admire.
Göran Forsling


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