Classical Music Forum banner
21 - 36 of 36 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
4,649 Posts
Perhaps National-Romantic might be a better term although even that term has its drawbacks.
This nationalistic romanticism descriptor is what I would use to refer to Swedish cinema prior to the international success of late-1950s Ingmar Bergman films. :)

Seems to me that all Nordic countries 'suffered' from this type of (obligatory?) sentimentality towards regions/provinces and mythical folklore.

Considering Norway and Iceland, Sweden is not a lone wolf in regards to the lack of an international 'star' composer.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
4,649 Posts
You must have forgotten about Grieg. Also, the Icelanders have Jon Leifs.

Anyway, Sweden probably has more significant composers than any other Nordic country, even though the "star" is missing.
Leifs is one of my favorite composers, but most of his works had to wait 25+ years to get recorded. Leifs was not well-represented during the analog/vinyl LP era.

Greig may have the highest profile, but seems to be remembered only for a handful of works.

Even with Carl N.'s reputation as a great Dane, he struggles on some lists to get into the Top 40. :)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,245 Posts
the Serenade is standard repertoire in Sweden (or at least it used to be a while back) and is a deservedly much-loved work. It's very likely the first classical Swedish work I ever heard as I was brought up with a gramophone record of it. Even in Sweden, the symphonies aren't particularly familiar and I must admit my recollection of them is quite hazy now -- not sure if I've even heard the whole cycle.
Stenhammer's Serenade was done in the second week of January, 2023 by the Boston Symphony guest conducted by Alan Gilbert, and was well received in at least one review. Recently I've been listening to three orchestral suites -- Lodolezzi sjunger, Chitra, and Romeo and Juliet -- arranged by Hilding Rosenberg from incidental music that Stenhammer had composed for plays. They illustrate Stenhammer's ability with mood and scene setting, with careful use of textures, timbres, and dynamics that sometimes brings results I feel I've never heard heard before.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,245 Posts
As a half-Swede, I've always been disappointed that there is not a single Swedish symphony in the mainstream concert repertoire. ... If I had to choose just one myself, it might be Alfven's 2nd which is a worthy successor to Brahms and Dvorak but there are a number of other candidates.
I'm still new to Swedish symphonies though I've listened to other Swedish orchestra music from that era recently. In any case I've just decided to listen to a few candidates.

In the meantime, have you any ideas about how a symphony gets established in the mainstream repertoire? The last example I can think of is the major efforts on behalf of Franz Schmidt's symphonies, with multiple recordings, live performances, publications and online discussions. It seems that Schmidt No. 4 is the most likely one.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
In the meantime, have you any ideas about how a symphony gets established in the mainstream repertoire? The last example I can think of is the major efforts on behalf of Franz Schmidt's symphonies, with multiple recordings, live performances, publications and online discussions. It seems that Schmidt No. 4 is the most likely one.
I'm going to have to say sales. Concert promoters and record labels depend on it.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,003 Posts
As a half-Swede, I've always been disappointed that there is not a single Swedish symphony in the mainstream concert repertoire. It's true that Sweden did not produce a single composer with the striking originality of Nielsen or Sibelius, nevertheless there are quite a number of composers of a similar or slightly later generation who have written symphonies of considerable freshness, passion and a high level of melodic inspiration. Alfven, Atterberg, Stenhammar, Rosenberg and Lars-Eric Larsson just for starters.

For those who follow this repertoire, is there one particular symphony which stands out as perhaps the greatest? I would exclude Berwald from this as he is much earlier and rather a one-off and Allan Pettersson is also not really comparable. If I had to choose just one myself, it might be Alfven's 2nd which is a worthy successor to Brahms and Dvorak but there are a number of other candidates.
Why exclude Berwald? I've been quite enjoying his works, which feel firmly Romantic to me.

 

· Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Berwald's symphonies were over half a century earlier than any of the composers under discussion and he was very much a one-off That's the only reason. It's nothing to do with quality as many regard him as Sweden's greatest symphonist.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
Are we ready to pick one or more Swedish symphonies most deserving of becoming mainstream repertoire, as proposed in the OP and as I agree with doing? Could we make a short list now?
These deserve to be included in that tentative list:

Nystroem: Sinfonia del mare
Berwald: Symphony No. 3
Rosenberg: Symphony No. 3
Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2
Rangström: Symphony No. 3
Atterberg: Symphony No. 3
Larsson: Symphony No. 2
Alfvén: Symphony No. 3
 

· Registered
Joined
·
247 Posts
Are we ready to pick one or more Swedish symphonies most deserving of becoming mainstream repertoire, as proposed in the OP and as I agree with doing? Could we make a short list now?
Based on the comments in this thread it would have to be Alfven's 2nd or Stenhammar's 2nd. No Atterberg symphony got mentioned as much as those two.
 

· Registered
Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius, Bartók
Joined
·
6,518 Posts
If I had to pick my favorite Swedish symphony above all others, it would be Pettersson's Symphony No. 7. For me, it encapsulates so many raw emotions that I have not heard in any other Swedish composer before or since. I'd go so far to say it's actually one of the greatest 20th Century symphonies.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
7,245 Posts
As I understand it the OP from dko22 seeks a symphony with the potential to be in the "mainstream concert repertoire," and "one particular symphony which stands out as perhaps the greatest." To me that suggests a Swedish work that might have both audience appeal and critical stature. I think of something like Nielsen 4 (Denmark) or Sibelius 7 (Finland), accepting that the Swedish composer and work will be less well-known and perhaps less highly-regarded, but certainly worth considering. If we stick to the OP's intent as I would like to see, we might arrive at a true short list with the possibility of a consensus. Others may see it differently. I have no experience running polls and am not sure whether or not a poll would be useful.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #36 ·
If I had to pick my favorite Swedish symphony above all others, it would be Pettersson's Symphony No. 7. For me, it encapsulates so many raw emotions that I have not heard in any other Swedish composer before or since
I wanted to exclude Pettersson because he is not really comparable to the Romantics of earlier in the century. Having said that. there is no doubt that he has more followers internationally than any of the Romantics and indeed for a period in the 70's and again after his death, there was a huge fashion for the composer, not to mention considerable controversy as not everyone agreed as to his merits. I myself think the 6th symphony is among the greatest post-war symphonies and the 7th - certainly the most celebrated -- is not far behind.

Based on the comments in this thread it would have to be Alfven's 2nd or Stenhammar's 2nd
I, myself would agree and think these are the most obvious candidates though there are others. The other night, I listened to Alfven 2 again with my wife who was less familiar with it and she was astonished that such a work is not in the standard repertoire along with Brahms. The fugal finale is quite a tour de force for a 26 year old, I would say, but the work is full of wonderful tunes as well. I remain loyal to the Segerstam recording (with over 350 symphonies to his credit, how he he find time for conducting...) which has the necessary passion but was very surprised to see a conductor such as Svetlanov has recorded it.
 
21 - 36 of 36 Posts
Top