Yngve SKÖLD (1899-1992)
Poem for cello and piano (1973) [9:40]
Sonata for cello and piano (1927) [29:07]
Suite for horn and piano (1974) [17:55]
John Ehde (cello); Carl-Axel Dominique (piano); Ib Lanzky-Otto (horn); Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto (piano)
rec. 8-9 November 1999 (cello) DDD; 30 June 1975 (horn) ADD
STERLING CDA1665-2 [56:45]

As I said in a previous review the Swedish composer Yngve Sköld is much nearer Tchaikovsky and his Danish brethren Louis Glass and Hakon Børresen than he is to his compatriot Melchers or to the Finn Uuno Klami. He can sometimes sound like a dynamic Delius.

How liberating to find a work of such concentratedly lugubrious and tender character of the Poem being written in 1973. You could cut the roundedly lyrical melancholy with a knife. This is the sort of cello piece that Henrik in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music would have loved. “It’s not boring … it’s profound.” Seriously though, you will love this piece if you already have a fellow feeling for the cello miniatures of Fauré, Bridge or Tchaikovsky. The half hour Cello Sonata from almost a half century earlier than the Poem is in the same late-romantic style but in the outer movements more Brahmsian-vigorous than the Poem. It does however proceed into some unusual territory always finding its compass in very late nineteenth century grandeur. There is a slowly decorative and then sorrowing Andante before we move on to the joyous sunny victory of the Risoluto. The movement finds variety in episodes of decorously smiling writing. This meatily emotional Sonata will appeal to those who already enjoy the cello sonatas by Rachmaninov, Fauré, Foulds and Delius. The Horn Sonata is from the same era as the Poem. The movements are shorter than those of the Cello Sonata but the basic language-set is the same. The demands on the horn-player are great and Ib Lanzky-Otto can be heard taking in great gulps of air from time to time. Nevertheless this addition to the romantic repertoire for the French Horn emerges singing and self-assured. The Andante takes us back to the world of the Poem. The finale is noble yet seemingly contented - playing to the natural proclivities of the instrument. In none of these works is any obeisance paid to the avant-garde or dissonance.

The 35 year old analogue recording of the Horn Sonata is softer and grainier than that of the other two works. Either way the music communicates without effort. A personal and family-linked liner-note is by the cellist, John Ehde. This appears alongside Stig Jacobsson’s introduction. All of which whets the appetite for CDs of the concertos and symphonies. Some further substantial insight into their world can be gained from the fine Phono Suecia CD of the Second Symphony and Violin Concerto.

Rob Barnett