One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              


Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Deaconoff; Stockhausen

Live at the Clifton Festival

Choir at Clifton Cathedral


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


alternatively AmazonUK   AmazonUS



Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Symphony in C minor* (1864) [32:48]
Old Norwegian Romance with Variations+ (1890 orch. 1906) [22:14]
Three Orchestral Pieces from Sigurd Jorsalfar +: Prelude (In the King’s Hall); Intermezzo (Borghild’s Dream); Homage March  [16:30]
Malmö Symphony Orchestra/Bjarte Engeset
rec. Concert Hall of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Sweden, 22-24 August 2005* and 10-13 April 2006+. DDD
NAXOS 8.557991 [71:32]

Disconcertingly, Grieg wrote of his own ‘forbidden’ C minor Symphony - composed when he was just 20/21 - that it ‘must never be performed’. As conductor, Bjarte Engeset, remarks in his fulsome and admirable notes: “… during its 113-year enchanted sleep (commentators) wrote about it disparagingly: it was ‘clumsy’, ‘stiff’, ‘barely out of school’ and not Norwegian enough”. Granted that there are clear associations with the styles of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann and the Danish composer Niels Gade, but it is to Engeset’s credit that he and his orchestra and production team recognized the youthful ebullience, out-of-doors freshness and lyrical qualities of the work enough to proceed to record it again. There have been other recordings including those by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra with Ari Rasilainen (Apex), Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra with Okko Kamo (Bis), Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra/Terje Mikkelsen (Simax), Neeme Järvi DG box, and the very first recording now on Decca Eloquence with Karsten Andersen and the Bergen Symphony Orchestra. That pioneering recording was issued in splendidly expensive isolation on a full price CD circa 1984.

The opening movement is a procession of attractive melodies: stirring marches, heroic material and romantic themes. The lyrical, tender Adagio espressivo second movement and especially the more rustic Intermezzo are quite Schumann-like with a dash of Mendelssohn - influences too apparent, or so it seems, in Grieg’s estimation. Virtuosically fast tempos inform the finale which crackles with joie de vivre. The Malmö players rise magnificently to the work’s challenges, sensitively recognizing the Symphony’s subtle harmonic shifts and nuances of colour.

Grieg’s Old Norwegian Romance with Variations is built on the heroic ballad melody, ‘Sjugur and the Troll-Bride’, stated after a short rather belying dark introduction. Grieg wanted to show how great a potential there was in such a folk-tune. Certainly, through its 18 variations, Grieg skilfully assembles music in an impressive range of moods and styles: marches, minuets, waltzes, dramatic and playful interludes, lyrical and pastoral, tempestuous, tranquil and pompous, all engagingly melodic.

With the Three Orchestral Pieces from ‘Sigurd Jorsalfar’ we reach more familiar ground. The play revolves around two brothers: Sigurd with his calling to the crusades and the gentle home-loving Eystejn. ‘Borghild’s Dream’ begins calmly but grows agitated as her sleep becomes increasingly troubled, the music building a powerful sense of dread. The Malmö players perform, with nice intensity, the much-performed ‘Homage March’ which has a ceremonial and regal-heroic quality. 

Grieg’s ‘forbidden’ Symphony in C minor might be derivative, nevertheless it is a real find.

An altogether delightful programme with all the freshness of a Norwegian spring. 

Ian Lace 



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan



Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.