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The Music Treasures of Leufsta Bruk III
Elin Rombo (soprano)
rec. 2018, Lövstabruk Church, Sweden
Sung texts with English translations enclosed.
BIS BIS2354 SACD [61:18]

Leufsta bruk, today a little village with around 100 inhabitants, situated north-east of Uppsala in central Sweden, was in the 17th century the biggest ironworks in Sweden and under several generations of the originally Dutch family De Geer they practised an extensive social life in the still existent manor, with entertainment and music, also in the church with the famous Cahman organ, built in 1728 and restored several times, most recently in 2005-06. The most prominent of the De Geers, from a cultural point of view, was Charles De Geer, who in 1730, then only ten years old, inherited Leufsta bruk. There he built up a library of scientific books, a collection of insects and also a large collection of music in bound volumes. The musical life then blossomed for several decades and it seems that Charles De Geer himself was a skilled musician.

BIS have already issued two discs with music from the Leufsta collection. In this third volume focus is on the vocal music from the middle of the 18th century, i. e. the time of Charles De Geer.

The programme opens with a handful of hymns from the official Swedish hymnal of 1695. The texts have been modernized and the accompaniments vary. The first three are accompanied by strings, arranged by Jonas Dominique, O Gud, det är en hjärtans tröst (tr. 4) by organ, while Så skön och ljuvlig (tr. 5) is sung a cappella. Soprano Elin Rombo, member of the ensemble at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, and since 2013 named Royal Court Singer, sings beautifully and with feeling.

The composers among those who follow, are not among the best known, but, as the liner notes point out, “the fact that their music can be found in several contemporary editions and copies shows that they were much appreciated in their own time. Considering F. I. De Boeck, nothing is known, not even birth- and death years, and his name is known solely from two printed collections of keyboard suites in the Leufsta bruk collection. He is supposed to be identical with a Joannes De Boeck, who was known as an organist in Antwerp between 1726 and 1735. The four movement Sonata V in G minor, played on the Cahman organ, is attractive. After the short opening Adagio there is a lively and spirited Allegro, which should appeal to organ lovers – or those who prefer the Clavi-Cembalo. The Aria cantabile is beautiful and the concluding Vivace is stirring.

Conrad Friedrich Hurlebusch was born in Germany but spent a couple of years in Sweden, where he composed two cantatas for the royal couple. He later settled in Amsterdam as organist. The Cantata I for soprano and basso continuo, is probably from the 1730s and is part of the Leufsta bruk collections. Whether it was performed on some occasion in the manor at Leufsta bruk is not known. It is a rather traditional 18th century cantata with recitatives and arias. It is sung in Italian and is about unrequited love. The arias are lively and attractive and Elin Rombo sings them with glow though her vibrato is wider than in the hymns. Hinrich Philip Johnsen, probably also born in Germany, moved to Sweden in 1743, where he became conductor of the Royal Orchestra and also organist in Klara Church in Central Stockholm. The Church-Music for Easter Day 1757 in Leufsta bruk’s Church, exists in the composer’s autograph in the Leufsta bruk collection. So in this case we know both that and when it was performed. The five movements were performed at various points in the liturgy and the vocal movements were to be performed before and after the sermon. They are by far the longest pieces.

Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny was a French aristocrat who devoted himself to composing operas – and was very successful. Several of his operas were performed in Stockholm during the Gustavian era. As far as is known On ne s’avise jamais de tout was not performed in Stockholm, but the little arietta, sung here, is such a charming piece with plucked strings accompaniment, which probably indicates that it on stage was sung to Lise’s own guitar accompaniment. Anyway it was very popular in its day since it exists in a number of manuscripts and printed collections from the time.

The collections at Leufsta bruk also contain sinfonias and arias from Italian operas arranged for keyboard instruments or melody instrument. One of those is the little beautiful Wackra sol (Fairest Sun) with Swedish text. Jonas Dominique arranged it for soprano, strings and organ and Elin Rombo sings it with affection. Then the programme closes as it began: with the hymn På dig jag hoppas.

The playing of Rebaroque is impeccable and Peter Lönnerberg handles the famous organ to perfection. The recording is SACD. I’ve listened in traditional 2-channel stereo, which is very satisfying, but I suspect that the surround layer will give a more realistic vision of the warm acoustics of the Leufsta bruk church.

None of these pieces are familiar – apart from one or two of the hymns – but everything is worth a listen, and music archaeologists will rejoice.

Göran Forsling

From the Swedish Hymn Book (1695) [10:19]
1. På dig jag hoppas, Herre kär [2:19]
2. Jesu du är vår salighet [1:01]
3. Ande ifrån ovan [2:11]
4. O Gud, det är en hjärtans tröst [2:28]
5. Så skön och ljuvlig [2:16]
F.I. De BOECK (? - ?)
Sonata V in G minor
from Six Suittes pour le Clavi-Cembalo ou l’Orgue ... Opera Seconda [10:47]
6. I. Adagio [1:29]
7. II. Allegro [4:04]
8. III. Aria cantabile [2:36]
9. IV. Vivace [2:23]
Conrad Friedrich HURLEBUSCH (1691 – 1765)
Cantata I
from Due Cantate a Voce Solo e Basso Continuo ... Opera Terza [11:40]
10. Recitativo: Tu parti idolo mio ... [0:50]
11. Aria: Vanne ingrata [4:35]
12. Recitativo and Aria: Ma folle e non m’accorgo ... Deh! Muovetevi a pietā [6:04]
Hinrich Philip JOHNSEN (1717 – 1779)
Kyrko-Musique på Påsk-Dagen 1757 (Church Music for Easter Day 1757) [17:34]
13. Grave [1:17]
14. Allegro [1:47]
15. Före predikan [5:04]
16. Efter predikan [7:42]
17. Till utgång [1:25]
Pierre-Alexandre MONSIGNY (1729 – 1817)
18. Ariette: Jusque dans la moindre chose from On ne s’avise jamais de tout [3:00]
19. Aria: Wackra sol [3:50]
20. På dig jag hoppas, Herre kär [2:22]

Rebaroque: Maria Lindal (violin and artistic direction), Elias Gammelgård (violin), Daniel Holst (cello), Jonas Dominique (double bass), Peter Lönnerberg (organ)

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