Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942)
Violin Sonata in E minor, Op.1 (1887) [30:18]
Suite, Op.15 (1896) [16:11]
Canzone (1889) [2:36]
Visa I folkton (1882 arr. violin 1917) [2:53]
Ulf Wallin (violin)
Love Derwinger (piano)
rec. October 2001 and January 2002, Radiohuset, Swedish Radio, Stockholm
CPO 999 703-2 [52:05]
Wilhelm Peterson-Berger’s Violin Sonata in
E minor bears his first opus number. Composed in 1887 it was finally
published in 1900. He was a student when he wrote it, barely 20, and
the hints of Grieg are pronounced. It opens with a slow introduction
but soon things perk up and it’s here too that one encounters
another influential figure on the composer, namely Emil Sjögren.
There are, nevertheless elements of individuality in the melodic freshness
- sideways glances at Tor Aulin, perhaps - and the rustic, folk-like
drama of the piano writing. There’s a rather lovely sentimental
lied as a slow movement, though he may have considered pruning its length.
There’s a sort of troll dance as a scherzo though this is balanced
by a more salon-inclining trio; both attractively presented. In the
finale Peterson-Berger goes all out for the more popular folk idiom,
but varies things so that the rhetoric slows musingly and to fine effect.
Certainly this half-hour early sonata could have done with some editorial
work, but it shows the composer in his full youthful confidence.
The 1896 Suite is redolent of Swedish folksong and here his gift for
melody is reprised. A high point is the finale, the last movement of
the four, a resinous Torch-dance with piano off-beats and vigorously
bowed drama very much to the fore. The Canzone dates from 1889
and has had a chequered background: no one seems sure from where it
derives. It was printed in 1952 as Melody in F major but only
a remnant of the violin part has survived. That little which has is
certainly a sweet melody. Finally to Visa i folkton, a folk-tune
arranged by the composer from the third song in his collection called
Four Swedish Folksongs. Composed in 1892 and printed in 1917
this arrangement ends the recital in a relaxed and undemanding fashion.
It’s clear from the foregoing that these are early, largely undemanding
examples of Peterson-Berger’s art, well recorded over a decade
ago, and I assume originally for radio broadcast. They’re uniformly
attractive and to a large degree that is due to the elegant and stylistically
apt playing of Ulf Wallin and Love Derwinger.