OP0281. JAN-OLAV WEDIN Cond. Stockholm Sinfonietta: A SWEDISH PASTORALE, incl. Larsson, Atterberg, Rosenberg, Alfvén Roman & Blomdahl. (Sweden) BIS 165, recorded 1981-87. Final Sealed Copy! - 7318590001653
“Gold buried deep in the BIS back-catalog since 1980 (but readily available), this CD adds a couple of apt fillers from 1981 to the program of the original analog LP. Larsson’s Pastoral Suite is the best-known music here, and makes a fine overture in its most sprightly recorded chamber performance. The Romance has live intensity, helped by the sound, a classic piece of minimalist work by Bis proprietor, Robert von Bar: just a small Revox half-track reel-to-reel machine, and a couple of mikes above and in front of the conductor. The timbre of the winds is distinctive, thanks to the sound coming off the hard back wall, too, but the small string band has presence-and-a-half. Wedin’s direction is inspired here, and in the four gentle Winter’s Tale fragments. The tearful, moving Andante used to close out the LP, but on CD the spell is broken by the boisterous Alfvén Dance, then cast again for Blomdahl’s heartfelt Adagio.
The real highlights are the modest Atterberg Suite, and the Rosenberg cello miniature. The latter is sadness, packed ready to go, but the violin and viola in the Atterberg spin threads of Romantic ardor that float into the air, and resound in your consciousness forever, like it or not. As do the wonderful tunes. The slow middle movement, Pantomim, really lets Sparf’s artistry and phrasing shine, closely shadowed by Mansnerus….this is inspired playing, and arguably Atterberg’s finest 12 minutes. You’re the poorer, if you don’t know it yet. Roman’s 15-minute oboe d’amore concerto represents the Swedish 18th century at its considerable best: a warm contrast with the rest of the program, the soloist sounding rather close, but with memorable invention and interplay in the fast movements.
Fine notes, by the eminent Per Skans. There have been a few digital anthologies rather like this one in the intervening 20 years, but Wedin said it all in 1980. A CD of relaxing Swedish lighter classics might not be anywhere near the top of your Want List, just now. Hidebound Romantics should head straight for the Blomdahl Adagio, but I urge you all to sample the whole recital. BIS CD165 is certainly not one of the structural pillars of the Hall of Fame, but it makes a very attractive Swedish display case, for some little-known, meltingly beautiful music.”
- Paul Ingram, FANFARE