Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Symphony No. 2 (1915)
Serenade (1913 rev 1919)
Stockholm PO Tor Mann (Symphony) Rafael Kubelik (Serenade)
stereo rec Stockholm Concert Hall 15-16 Aug 1959 (symphony) 22-24 Sept 1964 (serenade)
Swedish Society

Do not be too quick to dismiss this generous coupling on account of age. The recording quality is decent, solid and honest. The coupling is outstandingly generous and the performances are of great virtue.

The Symphony is pliably romantic; stiffened with folk influences, Brahmsian mannerisms (listen for echoes of Symphony No.4), Dvorakian woodwind writing and the most uncanny auguries of the Moeran Symphony. The strings have a noticeable hint of glassy consistency when under tough stress as in the most excitable moments in the opening movement. The shepherd pipes idyllically in the andante and the proud strut of the allegro leads to a Finale which recalls the fierily alert propulsion of the first movement.

Kubelik makes all other performances of the popular Serenade seem like slouches. The recording is of broader amplitude than the symphony. The overture flows like charged quicksilver, giving way to a dignified canzonetta (Sibelian title and Sibelian idiom - at least as far as the theatre world is concerned), a bubbly scherzo a-burst with life, a Notturno in which Richard Strauss might have been edited by Gerald Finzi and a Finale of Brahmsian resolve and romance. Even now you will not be able to better this version of the Serenade.

Stefan Navermayr has done a great job in reviving the fortunes of this well respected label which for many LP years effectively carried the torch of Swedish music high. The generous repackaging of the series was an inspired stroke.


Rob Barnett



Rob Barnett

Reviews from previous months

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