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Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2 - Lindberg

Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2 - Lindberg

BIS  BIS-2329

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Stenhammar: Symphony No. 2, Musik till August Strindbergs 'Ett drömspel' - Music for 'A Dream Play' by August Strindbergs

Antwerp Symphony Orchestra
Christian Lindberg (conductor)


Considered to be one of the great Nordic symphonies of its time, Wilhelm Stenhammar's Symphony No. 2 in G minor was a long time in the making. Stenhammar the conductor and pianist was a leading figure in the musical life of Sweden and Scandinavia, but in his role as composer he struggled with self-doubt, feeling that his knowledge of musical theory was insufficient. In 1910 he decided to address this perceived shortcoming, and began an intensive study of counterpoint which included setting himself several thousand assignments over the following decade. At the same time, between 1911 and 1915, Stenhammar composed his G minor symphony, and against this background it is hardly surprising that it displays his preoccupation with counterpoint, its final movement a grandiose double fugue.

If the symphony is one of Stenhammar’s most celebrated works, his music for Strindberg’s A Dream Play is one of the least-known. It was composed for a production of Strindberg’s existential drama in 1916, a year after the completion of the Symphony. Rarely performed after that, the music was arranged into a concert version in 1970 by Hilding Rosenberg. Christian Lindberg and the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra have previously recorded Stenhammar’s Serenade to critical acclaim: the disc was named Disc of the Week on Danish Radio, received a recommendation on German website Klassik-Heute and was selected Recording of the Month on MusicWeb-International.

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Comment by john hunter - April 22, 2019 (1 of 3)

This has seemed to have passed under everyone’s radar.
Stenhammar?
I’ve heard the name but never the music so I decided to try my luck.
I was pleased I did.

Stenhammar was self taught and spend a life time studying counterpoint.
The forth movement is in the form of a double fugue and apparently has given both orchestras and conductors problems.
None here for the Antwerp Symphony under Christian Lindberg.
As it is my first hearing, obviously no comment on the performance other than to say it gripped my attention throughout.

Add to the mix a nice wide and deep soundstage with the usual BIS hallmarks of clarity and naturalness, this is one of my better “off the cuff” purchases.

It should be mentioned that BIS has also released this symphony in a live recording under Blomstedt.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - April 27, 2019 (2 of 3)

Well John, you should listen to both his piano concerti, lovely late romantic stuff. Unfortunately not available in Super Audio, What about it BIS? They fit on one disc.

Comment by john hunter - April 27, 2019 (3 of 3)

I may be parochial Adrian but I think SACD helped into the music and would want the same before trying any more!!!
What about "a spoonful of sugar...etc"