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STENHAMMAR: Symphony No. 2 / Excelsior!

Petter Sundkvist , Wilhelm Stenhammar , Royal Scottish National Orchestra Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 1997 $7.99  
Audio CD, 2009 $8.99  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: I. Allegro energico12:03Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: II. Andante 9:27Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: III. Scherzo 7:07$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34: IV. Finale15:56Album Only
listen  5. Excelsior!, Op. 13: Symphonic Overture: Excelsior!, Op. 1313:04Album Only

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STENHAMMAR: Symphony No. 2 / Excelsior! + Stenhammar: Piano Concertos, Nos. 1 and 2
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Conductor: Petter Sundkvist
  • Composer: Wilhelm Stenhammar
  • Audio CD (August 4, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B0000014FN
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,579 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

STENHAMMAR: Symphony No. 2 / Excelsior! by Petter Sundkvist

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Stenhammar was a great Swedish composer active at the turn of the century, and his output for orchestra was small but of very high quality. This symphony and the Serenade are his orchestral masterpieces. Like his colleagues Nielsen and Sibelius, Stenhammar's music has a neoclassical cast to it--the idiom is basically conservative, but fortified by the healthy influence of folk song and ethnic dance rhythms. If you enjoy Brahms, you'll have no problem with this symphony--it really is a masterpiece of tight thematic workmanship. The tunes are quite good as well. This budget-priced recording offers the best possible way to make the acquaintance of a very worthy composer. --David Hurwitz

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise March 19, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is not by any means an 'average' piece. Although certainly conservative, Stenhammar's symphony is a perfect bridge between late, nationalistically inspired romanticism, and some things to come. You may hear Brahms, Sibelius, Elgar(!), some of Bruckner, and more than a bit of Grieg here, but most of all it is Stenhammar's own voice that speaks. And it speaks well: this is an likeable and well-crafted piece, played to perfection by Sundkvist's Scots. The Excelsior! overture is an exuberant, if somewhat uneven piece. It is even more reminiscent of high romanticism, but owes more to Wagner than the symphony does, and is decidedly less personal than that work. Still, not at all bad for a 'filler'. The orchestra is attentive and precise throughout, an essential quality for this repertoire - particularly the brass section is excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive Introduction to a Great Nordic Composer August 10, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you haven't yet discovered the genius of Wilhelm Stenhammar, Naxos has provided a golden opportunity to explore two of his finest orchestral works at minimal expense. The Second Symphony is an astonishing work--epic in scale, brilliantly scored, graced with beguiling melodic invention, haunting modal harmonies poignant dissonances, and seemingly effortless contrapuntal mastery. One is reminded of Bruckner at his most expansive, Brahms at his most ardent, Mendelssohn at his most elfin, Elgar at his noblest, Sibelius at his most bardic. Yet by the time he wrote the G=minor Symphony,Stenhammar was unquestionably his own man -- closest perhaps to Nielsen in spirit (he had introduced the latter's g-minor Symphony to Göteborg audiences in 1910), but otherwise utterly distinctive. The Symphony's great fugal finale rivals that of Bruckner's Fifth in scope and ingenuity (Brucknerians, I kid you not!)--though Stenhammar's polyphony is more playful than monumental. The *Excelsior!* Overture is an earlier work, and stylistically more derivative (I hear a lot of Schumann and Brahms, though the shape of the themes and the occasionally capricious turns of phrase bespeak the mature Stenhammar).

Both works are given very fine performances by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Petter Sundkvist. My first exposure to the Second Symphony was through Järvi's earlier BIS recording taken down at a live concert,followed by his DG studio recording from the early 1990's, also with the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra. Both of those are terrifically exciting versions, with my nod going to the rougher-hewn, but more spontaneous live performance. Sundkvist's reading sounds a bit sober in comparison, but it is also perhaps a more deeply considered interpretation.
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