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Udden: Tendresses / Hellekant, Uppsala Chamber Soloists

Release Date: 04/20/2018 
Label:  Daphne   Catalog #: 1060  
Composer:  Ĺke Uddén
Performer:  Charlotte Hellekant
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Chamber Soloists
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Swedish-born, French-trained, Åke Uddén (1903-1987) first studied mathematics in his native country. But he then switched to music, and continued his training at the Paris Conservatory, where his instructors included the great organist-composer Charles Tournemire (1870-1939).

The year 1928 saw Åke return home, to pursue a career that included playing viola with the Stockholm-based, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as conducting and teaching. He'd also write a small number of works in the orchestral, chamber and vocal genres. Three from each of the last two categories fill out this groundbreaking Daphne label release. These are the only recordings of them currently available on disc.

Read more Getting things off to a splendid start, there's the First of Uddén's two string quartets, dating from 1940. In four movements, the opener is a concise sonata form one marked "Allegro assai" ("Very fast"). His years in Paris are evident here as it recalls the impressionism of Debussy's and Ravel's works, as well as Tournemire's L'Orgue Mystique.

Jumping ahead to 1955-6 we meet up with Uddén's Gallic-spiced, Second String Quartet.

Turning to Åke's only String Trio of 1928, this is a product of his Paris years, and accordingly, one would expect strong Gallic, stylistic coloring. However, that's not the case as Swedish folk music is the predominant influence.

Three short songs for female voice written between 1941 and 1945 fill out this release. Their lyrics are taken from French poet-writer Pierre Louÿs' (1870-1925) Les Chansons de Bilitis (The Songs of Bilitis, published 1894), which he claimed were based on ancient Greek poetry. But they turned out to be clever fabulations, which made them somewhat controversial.

All are sung here by a mezzo-soprano (see the album for French, English and Swedish texts); however, their original piano accompaniment has been transcribed for small string ensembles.

Swedish mezzo-soprano Charlotte Hellekant gives expressive, tender performances of these songs. She receives sensitive support from members of the Uppsala Chamber Soloists, who deliver superb accounts of the other works. They make a strong case for Uddén’s little-known music!

The recordings present a consistent, generously sized soundstage in warm, accommodating surroundings. The strings are comfortably spaced as well as balanced in the Quartets and Trio, while the songs find the soloist adequately highlighted, midway between them.

Ms. Hellekant's voice is well captured, and the strings are natural sounding throughout. Generally speaking, this release is characterized by bright, pleasant highs, a convincing midrange, and well-defined bass with no low string hangover. It easily earns an audiophile rating.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found Read less

Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings No. 1 by Ĺke Uddén
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Chamber Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Sweden 
Trio for Strings by Ĺke Uddén
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Chamber Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Sweden 
Songs (3) on Chansons of Bilitis by Ĺke Uddén
Performer:  Charlotte Hellekant (Mezzo Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Chamber Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Sweden 
Quartet for Strings No. 2 by Ĺke Uddén
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Chamber Soloists
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Sweden 

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