- Symphony No. 1, Op. 1 ("Sinfonia Fantasia")
One of only a handful of Swedish composers whose music is heard with any regularity outside of Scandinavia, Bo Linde's life was cut tragically short by his 1970 suicide at the age of 37. Before that date, however, he produced an abundance of music, in particular a wealth of orchestral literature. This Swedish Society disc is the Vol. 3 (the first of which actually appears on the Naxos label) of a survey of Linde's orchestral works. The highlights of this disc are the "First" and "Second" symphonies. The "First Symphony" is frustratingly referred to interchangeably as Symphony One, Sinfonia One, and Sinfonia Fantasia. Regardless of its title, it's a rather remarkable work given the composer's young age at the time. The similarities with Britten and Shostakovich are quite clear, though neither the "First" symphony, nor the "Second" (written more than 10 years later) have the same edginess or cohesiveness as either of these influential composers. Linde's orchestration is quite sophisticated and effortless, and the dialogue he achieves within the orchestra is engaging. The two symphonies, along with the "Pensieri sopra un cantico vecchio," are performed here by the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of Linde's hometown with whom the composer worked. Conductor Petter Sundkvist leads his ensemble in a technically clean and impassioned reading of Linde's works. Sundkvist controls balance within the orchestra, allowing the various layers of simultaneous activity to be clearly audible. Listeners enjoying the multichannel SACD track of this disc will enjoy extra measures of spaciousness and power from the orchestra.