Emil SJÖGREN (1853-1918)
Songs: Première mélodie: Holder du af mig (1873); Deuxième mélodie: Det første Mødes Sødme (1873); Fyra dikter av Ibsen och Bjørnson Op.1 (1876) (Agnes, min dejlige Sommerfugl Op. 1.1; Jeg giver mit Digt til Vaaren Op. 1.2; Dulgt Kjerlighet Op.1.4); Sju sånger av Holger Drachmanns Tannhäuser Op.3 (1880) (Saa sød vad Sommernattens Blund; Hvil over Verden, Du dype Fred; Du sidder i Baaden, som svømmer; Og jeg vil drage fra Sydens Blommer; Jeg ser for mit Øje som det fineste Spind; Vidt kredsed Du, min vilde fugl; Sover du, min sjæl?); Vug, o Vove (1883); Fyra digte av Ernst von der Recke Op.11 (1884) (I Vaaren knoppes en Lind saa grön; De röde Roser; Der driver en Dug); Og kan min Hu Du ej forstaa; Sechs Lieder aus Julius Wolff's Tannhüser Op.12 (1884) (Du schaust mich an mit stummen Fragen; Jahrlang möcht' ich so Dich halten; Wie soll ich's Bergen; Hab' ein Röslein Dir gebrochen; Vor meinem Auge; Ich möchte schweben); Fyra digte av Ernst von der Recke Op.13 (1884) (Alt vandrer Maanen; Mig tyktes Du stod ved mit Leie; Jeg sadled min Hest; Alt falder Løvet i Lunden tæt)
Katarina Pilotti (soprano); Kristina Balstedt Tyrenius (piano)
rec. 14 Nov 2009 – 30 Jan 2010, The Concert Hall, School of Music, Theatre and Art, Örebro University. DDD
STERLING CDA 1669-2 [71:37]

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.

The Swedish composer Emil Sjögren was born in Stockholm and studied there and in Berlin. He wrote many songs, five violin sonatas (Bis; Proprius) as well as organ and piano music. There’s a good Sjögren website at http://www.emilsjogren.se/

Pilotti takes to these full-on romantic lyrics 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 demands of these songs including the babbling Grieg-like Agnes, min dejlige Sommerfugl and Jeg sadled min Hest. Pilotti is also 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. She 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. The 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 makes 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 classic.

Rob Barnett

A professionally presented recital disc of unusual and engaging repertoire which in years to come will be recognised as a classic.