Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Larsson, Lars Erik. (1908-1986) Orchestral Works, Volume 1.

From my collection.
Bought in February 2016.
First listen: 19-2-2016.
Second listen: 1-11-2016.
Label: CPO
Recording dates: January 2011.
Recording venue: Konserthuset, Helsingborg, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Lennart Dehn.
Running time: 76:06.
Classical relevance: For those seeking a complete set of music from this composer: Essential.

Works performed:
Symphony No. 1, opus 2.
Four Vignettes to Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.
Music for Orchestra.
Pastoral for small orchestra.
Lyric Fantasy for small orchestra.


Performed by:
Helsingborg SO, Andrew Manze.

Yes you may hear a little bit of Sibelius and Nielsen in Larsson's first Symphony, written when he was just 20, and in that context a very good attempt in creating a name for himself. It must be said that after the successful premiere he rewrote the work entirely, so we have his second thoughts on this one, and not the original where it all started with. A pity actually. It's lyrical, melodious, with some excellent counterpoint that colours the work in a fantastic way. It is beautiful music, but you will have difficulty keeping your attention throughout the work. Nevertheless, his orchestral mastery is already evident in this youthful work. The Fourth movement is the most impressive, despite some crude moments where he changes the key in a rather harsh way, as in the closing measures of the fourth movement.

Four Vignettes.
Beautiful melodious music, scored effectively, to produce some inventive and creative ideas. In fact they tumble over each other in quick succession. A more mature work.

Music for Orchestra.
Well some may get a severe shock here, for this is a Larsson from the other side of his talent, very seldom displayed, but this dissonant work will shake your nerves considerably. No doubt the temporary influence of one of his teachers, Alban Berg. It is in all accounts a very modern work, unlike all other works Larsson composed. All the movements have unsettling dissonances, and dark moods prevails, it is certainly always an undercurrent in this piece.  The best term one can use is that it is rather forbidding, especially the semitone clashes are unsettling. Sure, it is well thought out music, energetic too, clear cut certainly, but ultimately, this is detached music pur sang.
One of the darkest pieces I ever heard from Larsson, but fascinating nevertheless.

Pastoral.
This piece is Sibelius in disguise, and walks boldly through the front door with a grin on his face. You could easily mistake this for an early Sibelius work. Well written though.

Lyric Fantasy.
A pastoral piece, imitating nature and making it beautiful in a different way. It simply flows romantically along nature's realm, and creating thereby so many lovely images, that you are rather drowned in this opulence. There is a hint of Debussy's world in this work. The magic is mesmerizing anyway.

The recording is good, but I could have wished for more detail. It has a sort of closed in feel to it.
The performance is very good, no complaints there.





Salvatore, Giovanni. (c.1610-1688) Works for Harpsichord and Organ, plus a Missa.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: November 2017. First listen: 22-11-2017. Label: Glossa. Recording dates: October 1998 & June 1999...