These works are not just footnotes in 20th century symphonic literature, but are real contenders for greatness...Lovers of the symphony rejoice: here's another mighty nine!
Listening to Kurt Atterberg's symphonies together in sequence (the collection was previously released on five separate discs--type Q1958, Q5032, Q2147, Q3148, and Q6782 in Search Reviews) you're certain to be impressed by the composer's consistently imaginative melodic invention and powerfully effective orchestration. These works are not just footnotes in 20th century symphonic literature, but are real contenders for greatness. While Atterberg doesn't possess the sort of stunning, out-of-nowhere originalityRead more of Sibelius (whose music at times Atterberg's resembles), he does make marvelous use of already existing techniques to construct some brilliant, evocative, and always highly enjoyable works.
A strong Nordic strain runs thoughout the symphonies, from the folkish No. 1 to the grandly epic No. 9 "Sinfonia Visionaria". Nos. 2 and 7 both offer captivating narrative drama, while the Fifth ("Sinfonia funebre") uses a cyclic concept in a manner similar to Mahler's Sixth. Probably the most immediately impressive is No. 3, whose second movement is so grippingly cinematic you easily could think the symphony's "West Coast Pictures" subtitle refers to a Hollywood studio. Nos. 4, 6, and 8 present Atterberg's lighter side, with bucolic pleasantries in the Fourth ("Sinfonia piccola") and Sixth, while the Eighth offers Sibelius Sixth-style modal harmonies in crystalline textures.
All nine symphonies (as well as the symphonic poem Alven) feature vivid orchestral writing (the Ninth showcases Atterberg's considerable skill in handling large choral forces), as well as Atterberg's penchant for building perfectly-timed, irresistibly exciting climaxes. Conductor Ari Rasilainen clearly has immersed himself in the composer's world, leading powerful and highly idiomatic performances with the Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Hanover orchestras. CPO maintains consistently spacious, high-impact sound throughout the series. Lovers of the symphony rejoice: here's another mighty nine! [2/24/2005]
Symphony no 8, Op. 48by Kurt Atterberg Conductor:
Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1944-1945; Sweden
Symphony no 9, Op. 54 "Sinfonia visionaria"by Kurt Atterberg Performer:
Satu Vihavainen (Mezzo Soprano),
Gabriel Suovanen (Baritone)
North German Philharmonic Orchestra,
Prague Chamber Chorus,
North German Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century Written: 1955-1956; Sweden
Älven, Op. 33by Kurt Atterberg Conductor:
North German Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1929; Sweden
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
A New DiscoveryJuly 6, 2013By Kenneth G. (Grand Rapids, MI)See All My Reviews"I first heard the 2nd Symphony on Cable TV "Music Choice". Wow that was great music and the 2nd has become my favorite of Kurt Atterberg's 9 symphonies. Actual I like all of them except the 9th that is choral like the mighty 9th of Beethoven. However it is choral throughout the symphony and on the somber side. The symphonic compositions of Atterberg cover the period from 1910 to 1956. Although Atterberg lived until 1974 he wrote no additional symphonies. Many of the symphonies are based on local folk melodies but I felt there was also a relation to what was occuring in history at the time of composition [NOTE: this is my observation only since the notes covering each symphony do not contain any references to current history and the composition of the symphony]. The bottom line is I liked 8 out 9 symphonies and on that basis I strongly reccommend the box of complete symphonies as a worthwhile addition to anyones' collection."Report Abuse
A new find.January 27, 2013By Richard C. (Lancaster, PA)See All My Reviews"I heard Atterberg's third symphony on my public radio station, WRTI, in Philadelphia a few weeks ago. I do not remember ever hearing any of Atterberg's music before. I fell in love with it. Through WRTI's link to Arkive Music I ordered the boxed set of all nine of Atterberg's symphonies. I've now played them all a few times and am really happy to have found this new (to me) composer. The quality of the recordings is very good and it's a treat to have them in my collection."Report Abuse