Licensed from BIS, these performances on balance remain the finest versions of this music available, though some of the Naxos recordings are equally fine. Alfven wrote some very colorful, enjoyable music, especially the Swedish Rhapsodies and tone poems such as A Legend of the Skerries. As a symphonist, he was a bit hapless. The best of them is No. 4, with its wordless vocalise and Straussian lushness. It really is a tone poem in all but name, and it benefits from its free-form construction. Still, you won't find more exciting interpretations of any of these works, and even the derivative early symphonies sound fresh and impulsive in Järvi's hands. He understands that there's no point in forcing the music to sound more profound that itRead more really is, and the result, paradoxically, is that it succeeds on its own terms better than you might expect. It's good to see these works available at a discount price.
Symphony no 3 in E major, Op. 23/R 54by Hugo Alfvén Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1905; Sweden Venue: Stockholm Concert Hall, Stockholm, Swede Length: 37 Minutes 18 Secs.
The Prodigal Son, R 214by Hugo Alfvén Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1957; Sweden Venue: Stockholm Concert Hall, Stockholm, Swede Length: 18 Minutes 11 Secs.
En skärgårdssägen, Op. 20/R 49by Hugo Alfvén Performer:
Christina Hogman (),
Claes H. Ahnsjö ()
Period: 20th Century Written: 1904; Sweden Venue: Stockholm Concert Hall, Stockholm, Swede Length: 16 Minutes 35 Secs.
Alfven is a classical composer of the first rank!October 24, 2013By Stephen Schoeman (Westfield, NJ)See All My Reviews"Here is a delicious collection of Hugo Alfven's symphonies and rhapsodies wonderful performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under the great conducting of Neeme Jarvi. The gorgeous picture that fronts the boxed CD set tells it all. A composer who could be light and could be dark, who could sweep and could jar, and who could present beauty through music. Known for his Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, Alfven has more treasures for us. As with other composers, Bizet for Carmen and Leoncavallo for Pagliaci, the shame is that one work is seen to define the composer! Or be the only work known to have been written by the composer. Here is music of the highest quality. Ever so interesting. And music that will make you wonder why Hugo Alfven is not a household name outside his beloved Sweden! Stephen Schoeman, Ph. D."Report Abuse
Bargain price; interpretations not for all tastesMarch 7, 2013By Miles Rind (Cambridge, MA)See All My Reviews"If you like lots of loud, emphatic noise (or if you liked the conducting of the late Georg Solti) you will like Järvi's conducting of these symphonies. Järvi also seems to favor a distant position of the microphones (I have noticed this characteristic in his recordings with different orchestras on different labels, so I infer that it reflects his choice): this makes the climaxes seem even muddier than his already bombastic style of interpretation would make them in any case. He is, of course, always very precise, and I have no complaints about the playing of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. But I find these recordings jarring to listen to."Report Abuse
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