Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere

Special Offer
Complete Chopin
17 discs
Pre-order for £100


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Works for Voice by György Kurtág


Best Seller

Symphony for solo piano

Chopin Piano Concerto No.1

Schubert Piano sonata

Schubert symphony No. 9

Katherine Watson (Sop)

From Severn to Somme

To gain a 10% discount, use the link below & the code MusicWeb10

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927)
Music for the Theatre
As you like it (1920) [27:09]
Introduction to A dream play (1916) (arr. Hilding Rosenberg) [16:30]
Romeo and Juliet (1922) (arr. Hilding Rosenberg) [16:43]
Peter Boman (baritone); Caroline Sjöberg (soprano); Helén Finnberg (soprano); Magnus Nilsson (bassoon); Hedwig Lagerkvist (narrator); Thomas Ungewitter (narrator); Carl Andersson (oboe)
Helsingborg Concert Hall Choir (members)
Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Arvo Volmer
rec. Helsingborg Concert Hall, Sweden, 2001
STERLING CDS1045-2 [62:43]

This disc has been around a while but since we have appraised so many Sterling CDs it makes sense to fill a long-standing gap in our review coverage.

Stenhammar wrote quite a few sets of theatrical incidental music, as did Sibelius. Here are three examples not otherwise represented in the catalogue. Two have been fashioned into concert formats by fellow Swedish symphonist, Hilding Rosenberg. In one case he delivers up a suite and in the other a single continuous concert sequence. Two of the Stenhammar scores provide musical scaffolding for and around Shakespeare while the third underpins a Strindberg play. The first two are in precise and flowing romantic finery while the third - contrary to the passions implied and expected - is more emotionally curtailed. Stenhammar's Romeo and Juliet is a highly skilled score in neo-baroque finery.

Thirteen fairly brief tracks make up the As You like it music. These include some exciting fanfaring, sturdily delivered serenade-style songs, wistful pizzicato writing, moodily serene pages and rustic dances including a gracious and very exposed bassoon solo in the Pastorale. The choir mix it tastily with the horns in the Allegro (tr.18) - a huntsmen's serenade if ever there was one. This music, especially during the quicker silvery-sweet string writing, sounds like Sibelius. Two child-sweet sopranos create a rustic jejune effect in the Allegretto (tr. 11). Burred-tone baritone Peter Boman keeps things lively and endearing. The Restoration accents of the final Danza are preluded by yet more fanfaring.

Onwards to the Strindberg, A dream play. It amounts to a tone poem with acted narration between Hedwig Lagerkvist and Thomas Ungewitter but this ceases so that the second half of this single continuous piece is for orchestra alone. The music is often warm and taut yet reticent. Parts of it are akin to Delius's score for Flecker's Hassan. Later, the mood cools yet remains urgent - suggestive of gales gathering impetus. You will notice a touch of Sibelius's Tempest too - although written after this Stenhammar score. It can also be extremely romantic, suggestive of seascapes, and with some very otherworldly effects like the strangely seductive 'squeaking' in the last twenty or so bars. Stenhammar also wrote incidental music for Strindberg's Saga of the Folkungs ... one day, perhaps.

The Romeo and Juliet music, as represented here, is in five tracks with baroque titles and moods to match. It's a cousin to Grieg's Holberg Suite. Emotionally this music is on a much more passion-curtailed relaxed stage than Tchaikovsky's tone-poem. It is as if Stenhammar is saying that he will provide an archaic serenade backdrop; not something that arrogates to itself the role of the words and the actors. This is the only one of the three scores here to be solely for orchestra. The Petters Pipa movement features a rural reedy-toned solo oboe reflectively played by Carl Andersson.

The spoken words are given in the booklet, as heard, in Swedish and in English translation. Lennart Hedwall's essay is in Swedish, English and German.

This disc has a breathtakingly deep soundstage with plenty of lateral and front-back impact. For an example of its stunning impression try tr. 1. The Sterling team of Jan Lennart Höglund and Sylve Sjöberg can take a well-merited bow, as can all those involved.

It's a pity that this disc in Sterling's Swedish Romantics sequence was not a prelude to a whole series exposing all of Stenhammar's incidental music for the theatre. It is clearly a rich seam and there is more to be found. Those who cannot wait can track down CDs of his music for Lodolezzi and Tagore's Chitra.

I should add that there is now a sampler disc of 19 tracks showcasing 19 Sterling CDs (including this one) out of their total complement of 150. Sterling have extended their reach to include romantic orchestral music from Sweden (a given), Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, the UK and Mexico. Established in 1980 by the redoubtable Bo Hyttner, Sterling stands as in effect the Swedish Lyrita.

The discs represented on the sampler (Introducing Sterling Records) which is being sent out to all purchasers of Lyrita discs from Wyastone have been reviewed by MusicWeb International. The sampler gives extracts from orchestral works by Lindblad, Bengtsson, Weyse, Olsson, Huber, Mielck, Auber, Suter, Klughardt, Cliffe, Zweers, Scharwenka, Raff, Flotow, Alnaes, Gernsheim, Juon and Carrillo. A complete list of this site's Sterling reviews can be found here.

Rob Barnett
Contents List
As you like it (Som ni behager)
- No. 1 Intrada
- No. 6-7 Den som vid lummig stig
- No. 8 Allegro - Adagio
- No.10 Allegretto
- No.11 Blås, blås du vintervind
- No.12 Presto
- No.13 & 15 Andante
- No.16 Pastorale
- No.17 Lento grazioso
- No.18 Den hjorten fällt, vad är hans lott?
- No.22 En ungersven med kärestan sin
- No.23 Vårt äktenskap gör Juno glad
- No.24 Danza Moderato

Ett drömspel (A Dream Play)

Romeo and Juliet
- Pastorale
- Corrente
- Gavotte
- Petters pipa
- Sarabanda



We are currently offering in excess of 52,619 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger