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] Anon.
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] Anon.
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.
11. Sonata a due Violini e Basso Continuo [12:11]
(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
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
The first piece, a sonata by a certain von Sidon, seems to
be his only surviving composition, which is a pity, since
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.
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