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Alfvén: Symphony No 5, Andante Religioso / Willén, Et Al


Release Date: 02/27/2007 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557612   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hugo Alfvén
Conductor:  Niklas Willén
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

What a strange mixture of the old and new Hugo Alfvén's music represents! His Fifth Symphony, which he worked on for some 20 years in the 1940s and '50s, still has exposition repeats in its first and last movements that serve no other purpose than to make them longer than they need to be. This is particularly true of the finale, which is the most episodic part of this otherwise extremely pleasing and colorful work. Alfvén's habit of using single percussion instruments to color entire movements also is delightfully naïve, and quite usefully indicative of their character: tam-tam in the turbulent first movement, xylophone on the spooky scherzo, and triangle in the optimistic finale. The slow movement, perhaps the most Read more beautiful part of the symphony, speaks for itself entirely in terms of Romantic melody at its best.

Niklas Willén's Alfven cycle has had its ups and downs, but this conclusion is definitely an "up". The Norrköping Symphony plays with confidence and fervor, and while Willén adds about six minutes to Järvi's timing on his otherwise excellent BIS recording, he never sounds slow. Alfvén was nothing if not expansive, and if his formal touch was never all that deft, he did know how to fill up time with arresting ideas, glowingly scored. A serenely lovely Andante religioso, for strings, harp, and celesta, makes a perfect encore, one that puts the finale of the symphony's straining for heroic effect in its proper perspective in the gentlest and most affecting way. Naxos' sonics for this production are also excellent. Very enjoyable indeed.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 5 in A minor, Op. 54/R 209 by Hugo Alfvén
Conductor:  Niklas Willén
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942-1953; Sweden 
Venue:  De Geer Hall, Norrköping, Sweden 
Length: 53 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: De Geer Hall, Norrköping, Sweden (06/15/2004 - 06/17/2004) 
2.
Uppenbarelsekantat "Revelation Cantata", Op. 31: Andante religioso by Hugo Alfvén
Conductor:  Niklas Willén
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Sweden 
Venue:  De Geer Hall, Norrköping, Sweden 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: De Geer Hall, Norrköping, Sweden (05/23/2005 - 05/27/2005) 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op. 54: I. Lento - Allegro non troppo
Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op. 54: II. Andante
Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op. 54: III. Lento - Allegro - Presto molto agitato
Symphony No. 5 in A minor, Op. 54: IV. Finale: Allegro con brio
Synnove Solbakken Suite, Op. 50: Uppenbarelsekantat (Revelation Cantata), Op. 31: Andante religioso

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