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Synnove Solbakken / En Bygdesaga / Elegie


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Audio CD, May 29, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 29, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000OQDRU0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,440 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Synnöve Solbakken, suite from the film score for piano (or orchestra), Op. 50, R134: I Solbakken (At Solbakken)
2. En bygdesaga (A Country Tale), suite from the film score for orchestra, Op. 53, R202a: Introduktion
3. En bygdesaga (A Country Tale), suite from the film score for orchestra, Op. 53, R202a: Svartsjuka - Pastoral (Jealousy - Pastorale)
4. En bygdesaga (A Country Tale), suite from the film score for orchestra, Op. 53, R202a: 'Vargaskall' (Baying of Wolves)

Editorial Reviews

In his native Sweden Hugo Alfven' music ranks as the most significant after that of Berwald. The music on this disc consists of two suites drawn from films that Alfven scored during the 1930s and 1940s. Both Suites draw on folk-tunes to evoke the count

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G.D. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Naxos has done a great service to Hugo Alfvén, although in general the performances of the symphonies don't quite reach the level of the BIS versions. In the film music the competition is less fierce. Neither of the movies, Synnöve Solbakken and Mans Kvinna (En Bygdesaga), have survived even in the consciousness of the most ardent film buff, but it is good to have Alfvén's atmospheric and evocative scores available on their own. Synnöve Solbakken, based on Bjørnson, incorporates both Norwegian and Swedish folk music. The most successful movements are the moving and inventively scored Grief-Pastorale and the haunting Längtan. However, it is En Bygdesaga which contains the more striking music overall; dark, stirring, emotional and almost violent. Alfvén had some memorable ideas here, and he develops them impressively, especially his moves from fiery, rather dissonant sections and bleak chorales in the "Guilty Love" and "Dreams" sections. Most impressive of all, however, is the final section, Wolf's Baying, portraying the main characters' expulsion and flight with music that masterfully captures both the darkness on the one hand and fear and joy and freedom on the other.

Willén and the Norköpping players give more than decent performances, but takes an in general unsentimental approach, and the sound quality is a little close. The alternative from Frank and Damgaard on Sterling presents the same selection from En Bygdesaga but a shortened Synnöve Solbakken (Sterling drops two of the longest but less interesting numbers), but the performances are consistently a little faster and more involved.
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Format: Audio CD
I think I must have some Swedish blood because I almost invariably respond positively to music by Swedish composers. One of my favorites among them is Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) who is primarily known outside Sweden for his so-called 'Swedish Rhapsody' (actually it's the first of three such rhapsodies and is more properly known by its subtitle 'Midsummer Vigil'). I have been following with great pleasure the release of the Alfvén symphonies on the Naxos label and now we have a CD that contains, for the most part, music he wrote for Swedish films.

The first of these is a suite made from the music he wrote for 'Synnøve Solbakken', a 1934 film taken from the novel of the same name by the great Swedish writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. It is about the gentle Synnøve and her love for Torbjörn who has been paralyzed by a fight with a family rival. When he sees his father trapped in a cart accident he suddenly regains his ability to walk and thus save his father. Alfvén's music uses Norwegian folk-tunes and in general the tone of the entire suite is one of longing, gentleness, poignancy, occasionally enlivened by folk-dances. This almost half-hour suite is filled with lovely melodies and suave orchestration played by the Norrköping Symphony under Niklas Willén, a conductor who appears to making a specialty of Alfvén's music.

The second film suite, taken from music for 'Mans kvinna' (literally, 'Man's Woman') but better known by its alternate title 'En Bygdesaga' ('A Country Tale'), is altogether more dramatic in nature. The film is about a woman, Märit, unhappily married to a farmer, Påvel, and in love with a younger farmer, Håkan.
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