Alfvén: Symphony No. 5; Andante religioso

Alfvén: Symphony No. 5; Andante religioso

by Niklas Willén
     
 

Like most of his music, Hugo Alfvén's "Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op 54" (1942-1953) is only gradually becoming familiar outside Sweden, which is a shame since this inventive work compares reasonably well with other Scandinavian symphonies and deserves a much wider audience. Written in a lush, highly dramatic style, but suffused with a brooding character, perhaps… See more details below

Overview

Like most of his music, Hugo Alfvén's "Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op 54" (1942-1953) is only gradually becoming familiar outside Sweden, which is a shame since this inventive work compares reasonably well with other Scandinavian symphonies and deserves a much wider audience. Written in a lush, highly dramatic style, but suffused with a brooding character, perhaps reflecting the troubled period of its composition, the "Symphony No. 5" was based on themes derived from Alfvén's ballet-pantomime "The Mountain King" (1923); of its four movements, the Lento -- Allegro non troppo is the most substantially worked out and is often played by itself. But a successful reception of this work in its entirety depends on the intensity and conviction of its performance, and this persuasive account by Niklas Willén and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra makes a strong case for playing the symphony whole. The muscular argument of the first movement needs to be developed further, by turns softened with the poignant lyricism of the Andante, contrasted with the sinister Scherzo, and resolved at last with the triumphant Finale; it takes a fully committed orchestra to make this scheme work and not seem contrived. Fortunately, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra plays as if it absolutely believes in Alfvén's late-Romanticism and gets to the music's heart, even if it is formulaic at times and a bit backward-looking for its day. Naxos provides extraordinary sound quality for this 2004 recording, with a wide dynamic range and distinctive details.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/27/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313261222
catalogNumber:
8557612
Rank:
276666

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op. 54, R209  - Hugo Alfvén  -  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra  - Niklas Willén
  2. Andante religioso  - Hugo Alfvén  -  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra  - Niklas Willén

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