One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline

Arvid KLEVEN (1899-1929)
Symfonisk fantasi (Symphonic Fantasy), Op.15 (1926) (reconstructed by Robert Rønnes) [19:31]
Skogens søvn (The Sleeping Forest), Op.9 (1923) [11:23]
Lotusland, Op.5 (1921-22) [14:26]
Sinfonia Libera in due parte, Op.16 (1927) (reconstructed by Robert Rønnes) [18:55]
Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki
rec. May-August 2005, Stavanger Concert Hall, Norway
BIS-CD-1542 [64:53] 

Experience Classicsonline

My ignorance again - but I had never heard of Arvid Kleven before this disc. There is in fact a similar collection available on a Norwegian label. Kleven died aged only 30. He was born in Trondheim, became a flautist and was a member of what is now the Oslo Philharmonic from 1919 until his death.

The Symphonic Fantasy is a work of some concentration. The music appears absorbed in self-reflection and is unafraid of atonality. The style is rushingly acerbic and protest is woven in. At times the music takes on a Scriabin-like romantic grandeur as at 6:12. It ends almost self-effacingly with the same solo viola which played such a key role in the work’s opening pages. When premiered the critics were far from welcoming except fellow composer David Monrad Johansen.

The Sleeping Forest
is voluptuously inclined, taking on the whooping exultant and glowingly dreamy tendencies of Scriabin, Schmitt, Bax and early Schoenberg. It’s definitely a piece to try on your innocent-eared friends. Lotusland was composed while Kleven was studying in Paris in 1921-22. It is just as Øyvin Dybsand says in his essential programme notes - the music inhabits the same world as Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. The dissonance we know from the Symphonic Fantasy is entirely absent. In its place there is a misty impressionistic ecstasy which should appeal strongly to those who enjoy their RVW, Delius and Cyril Scott.

Kleven went to Berlin to pursue his self-regulated study programme in 1926-27. There amid the éclat a round Berg's Wozzeck he composed the Sinfonia libera which although having some dissonant material has a more lyrical face than the Symphonic Fantasy. Though intended as a work in two parts there is no record of Kleven having completed the second segment. In any event it stands pretty cogently as a single movement structure. Even that falls into two sections - a strong Largo and an energetic, rushing and bubbling Allegro. That we can enjoy the Sinfonia and the Fantasy is down to the reverse engineering reconstruction by Robert Rønnes from the orchestral parts.

The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and their conductor present these hardly known works with conviction and every appearance of attention to both detail, arch and broad sweep. The recorded sound is well up to Bis standards.

Just for the record the other Kleven CD is on the Norwegian Simax label: PSC3106: Skogens søvn and Lotusland Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra conducted by Christian Eggen and Violin Sonata Ole Bohn (violin) and Geir Henning Braaten (piano). It’s one I would certainly want to review if Simax is prepared to assist.

There we have it: from ecstatic impressionism to dissonance. Here is a Norwegian pioneer who suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and did not live to see celebrated the works for which he is now eulogised.

Rob Barnett


















Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

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.