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Schjelderup:brand Sym No 2 To Norway CD (2010)

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Norwegian music not by Grieg

by Craig Zeichner on 4/8/2010

No record label has done more for promoting the music of second-tier late Romantic composers than CPO—bless them for their efforts! This time out it’s the Norwegian composer and writer Gerhard Schjelderup (1859-1933). Schjelderup was, according to Grove, “the most important musical dramatist among Norwegian composers.” I guess CPO should be serving up some of his operas next. What we have on this recording though are two very impressive orchestral pieces: Brand and Symphony No. 2 “To Norway.” Brand is a symphonic drama that’s loosely based on Ibsen’s play of the same name. This is hyper-Romantic music laced with Wagnerian gestures and juicy orchestral writing. There is some atmospheric nature music, a bit of steamy love music à la Tristan and best of all, a Brucknerian chorale that pulses with heroic brass. If you are fond of the big tone poems of Strauss you will probably love this as much as I did. The symphony “To Norway” only refers to Norwegian music in the gorgeous Adagio movement (sub-titled “The mountain plateau,” so it’s not really a folksong-based work. No matter, the symphony is loaded with interesting harmonies and flat-out beautiful melodies. The opening movement, sub-titled “The Sea,” is dark-colored nature music that reminded me of passages from Wagner’s Das Rheingold (think of the scene where Alberich transforms himself into a serpent). “Spring” is a lighter-than-air second movement scherzo that’s as good as anything from the German Romantics. It was only in “Up to the highest peaks!” a rather heavy going and bombastic finale that Schjelderup missteps. While the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra does not have the gorgeous tone of let’s say, the Vienna Philharmonic, they are quite good and under the direction of Eivind Aadland make a very compelling case for a composer I want to hear more from.

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Product Overview

Specifications

Label Cpo Records
SKU 213820413
UPC 761203734825
UPC 14 00761203734825
Format CD
Release Date 1/14/2010
Links
Author Trondheim Symphony O
Product Attributes
Artist Trondheim Symphony O
Label Cpo Records
Music Format Compact Disc
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Norwegian music not by Grieg by Craig Zeichner on Apr 08, 2010

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