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Alfven: Swedish Rhapsodies 1-3 / A Legend of the Skerries / Elegy from Gustav Adolf II Suite

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1994
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Alfven: Swedish Rhapsodies 1-3 / A Legend of the Skerries / Elegy from Gustav Adolf II Suite
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  • Hugo Alfven: Symphonies Nos. 1-5; Swedish Rhapsodies [Box Set]
Total price: $39.59
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  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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30
13:38
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10:48
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21:58
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Iceland Symphony
  • Conductor: Petri Sakari
  • Composer: H. Alfven
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000000AVI
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,960 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This could possibly be the finest set of tone poems written by any Scandinavian. I originally bought this on a whim, but unbeknownst to me, a rare treasure existed. The colors that Alfven writes are truly unique: lush and often very eclectic. One of the rhapsodies is a montage of old ivy league college tunes. Another depicts the Swedish celebration of the longest day of sunlight in a brilliant fashion. What truly gets me each time I listen to it is Alfven's skill at writing both beautiful and exhilarating lines for the French Horn. At times my jaw drops at the horn lines at each section of the rhapsody.
The Gustav Adolph piece, at very first hearing, could be the most beatiful piece I have ever heard. I have chosen it for my funeral. The Chandos label, as usual, has recorded in excellent sound quality, and beautifully executed by the little known Iceland Orchestra. If you enjoy the modes and harmonies of Scandanavia (Grieg, Sibelius, Nielsen) this will simply be a joy!
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Format: Audio CD
The most famous Swedish composer, aside from Franz Berwald, has to be Hugo Alfven. His music is ultra-Romantic, and on this CD, the influence of Swedish folk music is in the forefront with five works: Alfven's three Swedish Rhapsodies, his Legend of the Skerries, and the beautiful Elegy.

The first Swedish Rhapsody is entitled Midsummer Fest, the celebration of the longest day of light. Like the day it celebrates, the work is sunny and radiant. The opening melody is like an old friend, one that is immediately enjoyable and fondly remembered. The theme goes from instrument to instrument, but when the full orchestra tackles it, the immediate joy is overwhelming. The middle slow section begins with warm strings and an echo of the opening idea, but a new, slightly melancholy, soaring melody takes over, and switches to a powerful emotion of longing. When the pace quickens, a new sprite melody takes over, again bringing back the happiness. The music erupts into yet another section, more reminiscent of a Scottish reel. The 14-minute work ends with fanfares and jubilation. The second Swedish Rhapsody, Uppsala Rhapsody, was commissioned for the University of Uppsala. It is a sort of medley, or more appropriately termed, fantasy, of popular college tunes. The 11-minute rhapsody begins hushed with a chorale Alma Mater feel, into a more noble, almost British-sounding tune. Many more are strung together, but nothing is particularly distasteful, and the sometimes familiar settings are interesting to hear. The end is heralded by a brilliant fugal treatment and a rousing conclusion. The final, and longest, Swedish Rhapsody, timing at 20+ minutes, shows Alfven's love of setting tragic sounding music.
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Format: Audio CD
Alfvén: Swedish Rhapsodies; A Legend of the Skerries is a 1994 Chandos Records Ltd recording starring the Iceland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Petri Sakari. Lennart Hedwall has written the music notes. One can hear influences both from Straus and Mahler. A very fine recording indeed. Highly recommended. 5/5.
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By Mary Bach on February 17, 2016
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very good recording using instruments of the period. Enjoyable listening.
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