The person looking for full-scale symphonies in the Romantic tradition beyond the usual Concert Repertoire would be well advised to listen to Kurt Atterberg. He was a Swedish composer of the early Twentieth Century whose music is notable for its tunefulness, invention and a full-on embrace of the big emotions and sweeping statements of the Romantic style. He was, in fact, one of a number of fine Scandinavian composers who continued in the Romantic style of composition after it fell out of style on the Continent. The reason for this, given in the liner notes and in other articles is that Scandinavia was untouched by the Great War and the cultural destruction it left in its wake, and so continued in a Nineteenth Century mode for a few more decades. This seems reasonable, and has left us with a fine group of composers to explore, and Atterberg is one of the best of these.
The Symphonies 1 and 4 here are two of his best, though the Third and Sixth have their advocates and I wouldn't argue with them. Both symphonies are typical of the composer with soaring melodies, the use of evocative folk material and a fluidity where one theme leads to another and then to another, seeming to develop by whim (though more structured that they seem on closer listening) the overall effect making each symphony a journey that may go in surprising directions. The opening of the Symphony No. 1 sweeps you up in a grand minor key statement only to give way to dance rhythms before returning to the first theme.
Atterberg is also an inventive arranger whose orchestrations are very complex and often polytonal and even polymelodic with different sections of the orchestra playing different melodies or themes that still manage to fit together. This makes listening to his symphonies all the richer as there always seem to be new parts to listen to depending on where the listener focuses. In this he was typical of the early Twentieth Century, when composers were looking to create a more fluid style and experiment with the sounds one could create with an orchestra.
Atterberg is especially good in his slow movements, and this is the case with both of these symphonies. The Adagio of the First develops into a heartfelt and soaring theme that sweeps one up to its glorious climax. The Andante of the Fourth is a minor key reverie full of Scandinavian melancholy that also leads to a great expressive moment before fading away. Like the rest of his symphonies there are folk melodies, but they are brief and are there to add color and evoke mood and place and do not develop into extended themes as they might in a dance suite or rhapsody.(My favorite Atterberg piece is his little-known Varmland Rhapsody, which stunningly climaxes with two great folk melodies of completely different character playing simultaneously).
As noted, if you like big Romantic orchestral works with an emphasis on melody, you will certainly like Kurt Atterberg. There aren't enough versions of his works for me to have an opinion on these performances, but knowing Romantic and Scandinavian orchestral works in general, I can't imagine them being played any better.
Symphonies 1 & 4 インポート
Amazon.com: 16 件のカスタマーレビュー
A real find for those who love big, Romantic symphonies
2014年5月26日 - (Amazon.com)
Not the greatest symphonies,but one of my favorite cds
2004年2月23日 - (Amazon.com)
Similar to some of Beethoven's symphonies, Schumann's symphonies tend to have themes that are strongly tied with rhythmic cadence. And may be this is one reason I find myself listening to them time and time again. They're very accessible and are represented well by this recording. Although Schumann's symphonies may not have been as revolutionary as his piano sonatas, they are well worth the listening investment. Kurt Masur and the London Philharmonic Orchestra are at their usual best.
introduction to Kurt Atterberg
2009年12月14日 - (Amazon.com)
A great symphony with a great performance. The Amazon experience was smooth and efficient!
Fantastic 1st, Good but not great 4th.
2011年9月19日 - (Amazon.com)
This cd was my first opportunity to listen to Nielsen's wonderful First Symphony many years ago. Don't let the number fool you. Nielsen was very much his own man here from the first. The evidence? A big C Major chord begins the work and the first theme launches off right away in the key of G Minor. Already the tonal shifting and rhythmic intensity are in evidence. Further tonal shifts happen in the last movment, which also begins with a C major chord, then resolving to a C minor chord and launching into G Minor. The whole symphony ends in a blaze of C Major glory. Apparently some people were a little shocked at this symphony in G Minor ending in C major. Nowadays this does not phase one out too much considering the tonal byways composers have used over the last 100 years. Berglund's performance is one of the great ones of this piece. He keeps things moving. The gorgeous brass trio in the 3rd movement is very well done (this section is a transformation of the A section of this Scherzo). The 4th symphony may be my favorite 20th century symphony. Berglund's performance was one of the more recent recordings to get to more of the right tempo relationships in this symphony. Berglund does not dawdle. The end of the symphony goes extremely fast and almost too fast. Compare this recording with Bernstein's and see what I mean. Strangely, though, he is the only person to misread the last chord of the first movement - somehow the E major chord turns into and E minor chord which is very disconcerting. I have not heard any of the other Berglund recordings so I cannot tell you to buy the box set of all of the symphonies although I am interested in hearing them. Blomstedt's cycle is probably the best all-around set of all of the symphonies, but I always have to mention Martinon's marvelous Chicago Symphony recording of the 4th on RCA as well as the Vanska recording on BIS. Sir Colin Davis' new 4 and 5 on LSO Live also has its felicities - in fact, the tempos are closer to Berglund's in the 4th movement. Happy listening!
J. R. Trtek
A Great Unknown
2013年1月16日 - (Amazon.com)
I go along with the praise heaped on these works by other reviewers who preceded me here. In terms of quality of composition and number, Kurt Atterberg seriously deserves to be regarded as perhaps the most under-rated symphonic composer of the 20th Century. The First Symphony is a bold initial foray into the form -- much of it is craggy and bracing, reminiscent in some ways of Carl Nielsen's orchestral works. The Fourth Symphony, on the other hand, is not as forceful and more plaintive, but no less compelling in its way. Unlike so many symphonic works of the late Romantic period and beyond, these works actually say something and go somewhere. Part of a full cycle of nine symphonies that can had as a full set in performances by these forces under Ari Rasilainen, these two compositions are just the tip of the Atterberg -- and yes, I know the gee is not sounded, but I couldn't resist. Buy this disc and see what you think, but if you trust me and the others who've written here, spring for the full set. It's unlikely you'll be disappointed and most probable that you will be enthralled and delighted.