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ALFVEN: Symphony No. 5

Composer(s):Alfven, Hugo
Artist(s) Willen, Niklas, Conductor • Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.557612
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

A gifted musician, writer and watercolourist, Hugo Alfvén is regarded in his native Sweden as the most significant composer after Berwald. The Fifth Symphony occupied Alfvén throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and draws on themes from his ambitious 1923 ballet The Mountain King. The first movement has sometimes been performed on its own, but the symphony is relatively rarely heard as a whole. The Andante religioso is Alfvén’s arrangement for harp, celesta and strings of an intermezzo from his Revelation Cantata, Op. 31. This disc completes the Naxos cycle of the complete Alfvén Symphonies.

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Review By Robert Plyler,The Post-Journal,May 2007

Resisting the abstraction and atonal trends of the mid-20th century, Alfven has created truly beautiful music, yet music with substance and intellectual worth, rather than blandly pleasing elevator music.

The symphony draws heavily on themes from the composer’s 1923 ballet, “The Mountain King,” and uses instruments such as harp and celesta for variety and musical emphasis.

The first movement is not uncommonly programmed around the world, but the whole work is rarely performed. This recording completes Naxos’ cycle of the complete Alfven symphonies.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,February 2007

Born in Stockholm in 1872, it was as a choral conductor that Hugo Alfven first came to public attention, the Orphei Drangar, a society without any previous claim to fame becoming one of Europe's most outstanding ensembles under his direction. As a young man he had studied painting, and his compositions were to capture the mood of colours, the Shepherd-girl's Dance� - part of a ballet, The Mountain King - becoming so popular it is almost replaced the Swedish National Anthem. Yet it was through his symphonies that he hoped to establish himself as an important musical figure of the 20th century. It was to prove difficult, for by the time they appeared, during the first half of this century, his style of writing was looked upon as old



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