This disc is part of Bo Hyttner’s Artist series
within the Sterling stable. It’s very much a debut forum for young
artists. More often than not Sterling also combines these releases
with its rare repertoire predilections. That’s certainly the case
here with 27 songs by Swedish composer Emil Sjögren.
Sjögren was born in Stockholm and studied
there and in Berlin. He wrote many songs, five violin sonatas
as well as organ
and piano music. There’s a good Sjögren website at http://www.emilsjogren.se/
Katarina Pilotti takes to these full-on romantic songs with total conviction. These are not scaled down salon effusions but works of often operatic inclinations or virile folk accent. Pilotti has the vocal and intellectual apparatus to meet their challenge with out and out skill and passion. Passion is important in these songs. The pianist is also fully the equal of the composer's demands including the babbling Grieg-like Agnes, min dejlige Sommerfugl
and Jeg sadled min Hest
. Pilotti is very good in gaunt scenas like Dulgt Kjerlighet
and the gloomy arpeggios and hypnotic abstractions of Alt falder Løvet i Lunden tæt
. As for the recording it can best be described as being of ringing clarity. Pilotti sings out with heady Straussian power yet even at full stretch retains a soft core. The words in folk-accented songs like Holder du af mig
and Der driver en Dug
are made to smile and chuckle as in Hab' ein Röslein Dir gebrochen
. I must emphasise that Sjögren’s invention is wondrously superior. It’s a pity that these songs do not feature all that often in competitions and master-classes outside Scandinavia. They deserve more exposure. This disc will become a connoisseur’s classic of the recorded media.
The texts are provided in the booklet alongside translations into English. The font and design make for easy legibility. Everything shows exemplary care.
This is a professionally presented recital disc of unusual and engaging repertoire which in years to come – if not before - will be recognised as a reference disc.