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Berwald: Complete Symphonies 1-4 / Dausgaard, Et Al


Release Date: 06/10/2008 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93699   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Franz Berwald (1796-1868) was a Swedish composer who failed to attain publication and widespread performance in his lifetime. He composed his four numbered symphonies in the first half of the 1840s; the two presented here both date from 1845. The auspicious career of these brilliant works in the era of high fidelity began with a Deutsche Grammophon LP, recorded in December 1955, and originally released in the US on American Decca. Igor Markevitch conducted the Berlin Philharmonic with firm control and tremendous energy, always emphasizing, rather than playing down, the abrupt transitions and other eccentricities, while never concealing the underlying formal perfection of both symphonies. Happily, Markevitch's recordings are currently Read more available on Deutsche Grammophon Originals 289 457 705-2, with the considerable bonus of a Schubert Symphony No. 4, "Tragic," also with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Which brings us to the new recording from Chandos: Young Thomas Dausgaard captures, better than anyone I have heard since Markevitch, the visceral excitement of these symphonies, with their special blending of the orchestral panache of Berlioz and the formal elegance of Mendelssohn. The bonus here, a tone painting for large orchestra, is much shorter than any Schubert symphony— Elfenspiel takes exactly 8:44—but it is a wonderful piece, and recordings of it are considerably harder to find than recordings of Schubert's essay. The sound has the warmth and color we have come to expect from Chandos, and more clarity. Markevitch's recording was state-of-the-art for the era of the monophonie LP, but Dausgaard's stereo has even more dynamic punch and a wider differentiation of orchestral timbres than we can normally expect even in the age of digital recording. A subtitle of the Chandos Disc is "Symphonies, Volume 1," so we can look forward to recordings of the First and Second Symphonies, subtitled "Sérieuse" and "Capricieuse," respectively, and perhaps another tone painting, or perhaps one of Berwald's fine overtures.

-- Robert McColley, Fanfare [7-8/2002; reviewing original Chandos 9921]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in G minor "Sérieuse" by Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Sweden 
2.
Erinnerung an die norwegischen Alpen by Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Sweden 
3.
Symphony no 2 in D major "Capricieuse" by Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Sweden 
4.
Symphony no 3 in C major "Singuličre" by Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Sweden 
5.
Elfenspiel by Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Sweden 
6.
Symphony no 4 in E flat major by Franz Berwald
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845; Sweden 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Nordic Revelation March 30, 2012 By bess holloway (Boulder, CO) See All My Reviews "I've been listening to these two discs for several weeks, and my admiration for Berwald, Dausgaard, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra continues to grow. Even before Sibelius, Franz Berwald gave accurtate feelings of the Nordic world in these works. And the quality of the digital recording is superb. " Report Abuse
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