Scandinavian Smörgåsbord
1 Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1935) Entry of the Boyars [4:14]
2 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Norwegian Bridal Procession Op 19/2 (arr. Halvorsen) [3:23]
3 Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911) Festival Polonaise Op 12 [7:50]
4 Friedrich KUHLAU (1786-1832) Elverhøj Op 100 - Overture [12:22] and Ballet Music [12:17]
5 Ole BULL (1810-1880) Herdgirl’s Sunday (arr. Svendsen) [3:12]
6 Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874) Britta-Polka [2:04]
7 Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Little Suite Op 1 - Intermezzo [5:14]
8 Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) Midsummer Vigil Op 19 [12:15]
9 Carl NIELSEN Maskarade - Dance of the Cockerels [4:40
10 Edvard GRIEG Elegiac Melodies - Last Spring [4:26]
11 Hans Christian LUMBYE Champagne Galop [2:01] Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop [3:37]
Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 - Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Ølvin Fjeldsted (conductor); recorded in the Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna on 11 April 1958
No. 4 - Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra; John Frandsen (conductor); recorded in the Radio Studio, Copenhagen on 28 February & 1 March 1955
Nos. 6, 11 - Copenhagen Symphony Orchestra; Lavard Friisholm (conductor); recordings originally issued in 1961
No. 10 - Halle Orchestra; Sir John Barbirolli (conductor); recorded in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester on 9-10 August 1958
MAGDALEN METCD 8017 [78:34]

After reviewing their discs of music by Sullivan, Humperdinck and Chabrier, I look forward to each of Magdalen’s new releases with some eagerness. They have a knack of finding interesting recordings deserving reissue which have otherwise been ignored. This collection is no exception. The bulk of it comes from a single disc by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Ølvin Fjeldsted, apparently recorded in a single day in 1958. The choice of music, all Scandinavian and all from the nineteenth and very early twentieth century, does not leave the rather obviously beaten track - at least on record; few of these pieces find their way into a non-Scandinavian concert-hall nowadays. It is nonetheless all very enjoyable, idiomatically played, brightly and clearly recorded and not lacking the essential panache in the more ebullient items. My personal favourites are the items by Nielsen and Alfvén, played and recorded with real atmosphere.
The other items included add usefully to the scope of the disc. In particular the extracts from Kuhlau’s Elverhøj are worth hearing to suggest that he was a composer of some stature. Having known him previously mainly through his apparently absurd nickname of “the Beethoven of the flute” I now look forward to getting to know more of his music. The Overture included here is particularly imaginative. The three Lumbye items are given rhythmically lively performances, although these recordings show their age more than the rest of the disc. The odd man out, in lacking a Scandinavian conductor, is Grieg’s Late Spring conducted by Barbirolli. It is an affectionate performance of this very lovely piece.
There are good notes on the music and performers, and overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable disc. Most of the music here was more familiar on disc in the days of 78s, in which form I remember listening to most of it, but it is delightful to be able to reacquaint myself with it in a less cumbersome form. My only complaint is that the order in which the music is presented might have been adjusted to give more variety. Two Marches at the start and two Galops at the end could easily have been avoided, but this is a minor matter which should not put you off the disc.

John Sheppard 

Delightful to be able to reacquaint myself with these recordings.