Gerhard Schjelderup - SYMPHONY NO. 2 - Eivind Aadland

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GERHARD SCHJELDERUP - SYMPHONY No. 2 - Symphonic Drama 'Brand' - Eivind Aadland (Conductor) - Trondheim Symphony Orchestra - 761203734825 - CPO 777348

Right up the Fjord: Everybody knows about Edvard Grieg and collectors may possess varying levels of acquaintance with other Norwegian composers such as Svendsen, Sinding, Halvorsen, Saeverud and Tveitt. It's quite possible, however, that Gerhard Schjelderup (1859-1933) was completely unknown outside Norway until the release of this very fine disc by CPO. The composer lived in Germany in the late 19th century and soaked up the musical idiom of Richard Wagner. In Norway, he broke away from the nationalist-romantic movement of Grieg and his followers to devise music in line with the Central European model. While the results were certainly Continental in orientation, Schjelderup did not entirely forsake pungent Nordic flavours. That he was a composer of consequence can no longer be doubted.

Trondheim Exalted: The Trondheim SO and Eivind Aadland made the most of the opportunity to defend the composer's honour on this disc. The music is excellent and enhanced by these dedicated performances. Brand was inspired by Ibsen's drama of the same name. The booklet note by Erling E Guldbransen provides a programme but it can be enjoyed as absolute music. Schjelderup was a brazen romantic with an acute sense of the psychological penetrating power of music directed at the inner being. Symphony No 2 was given the title, To Norway. It dates from 1924 when the composer was in his sixties. Each of the four movements is given a title which may or may not be heeded by the listener. The music sits at a stylistic intersection of Brahms, Berlioz, Liszt and Richard Strauss. This is altogether a splendid issue and typical of CPO's commitment to bringing good music back from obscurity.

A Distinguished Dozen from CPO: Classic Produktion Osnabrück has been in the business for more than twenty-five years now. It has maintained prestige standards throughout. Cover art and sound quality are two areas of CPO supremacy in the industry. Outstanding issues from this label over the past year include the following:

Luigi Boccherini: Symphonies and Cello Concertos - Stuttgarter Kammerorchester/Johannes Goritski (777113)

Johann Wilhelm Wilms: Symphonies 1 & 4, Overture in D – NDR Radiophilharmonie/Howard Griffiths (Hybrid SACD – 777209)

Théodore Gouvy: Symphonies 3 & 5 – Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Jacques Mercier (777379)

Charles-Marie Widor: Organ Symphonies opp 42 & 81 – Christian Schmitt, Bamberger Symphoniker/Stephan Solyom (Hybrid SACD – 777443)

Julius Röntgen: Symphonies 8 & 15, Variation über eine Norwegische Volweisse – Carmen Fugiss, NDR Radiophilharmonie/David Porcelijn (777307)

Felix Weingartner: Frühling, Symphony No 6 ‘La Tragica’ – Sinfonieorchester Basel/Marko Letonja (Hybrid SACD – 777102)

Felix Weingartner: Violin Concerto, Schubert/arr Weingartner: Symphony in E – Laurent Albrecht Breuninger, SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserlautern (999424)

Joseph Suk: Tale of a Winter Evening, The Ripening – Orchester der Lomischen Oper Berlin/Kirill Petrenko (777442)

Natanael Berg: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 – Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rhheinland-Pfalz/Ari Rasilainen (777324)

Rudolph Simonsen: Overture, Symphonies 1 & 2 – Sonderjyllands Symfoniorhester/Israel Yinon (777229)

Aulis Sallinen: Symphony No 6, Cello Concerto – Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Ari Rasilainen (999971)

Stephen Habington