Music and Vision homepage 'Elgar and Chivalry' by Robert Anderson - available now from Elgar.org

 

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Perhaps this is Atterberg's besetting sin: his very real skill in building a climax means he too seldom resists the temptation of manufacturing one. Symphony No 5 betrays at once its origin in the First World War. The opening is violent and uncompromising, but settles to a powerful tune of passionate conviction [listen -- track 4, 0:42-1:44]. It is a sombre work, of which the composition extended till 1922. The symphony makes no concession to post-war economy, and there is no hint of irony in the waltz that takes over much of the finale. Maybe Atterberg would have claimed it as another hoax. In sum, this is a late-Romantic symphony deploying large forces to telling effect, as witness the galvanic bars that launch the finale [listen -- track 6, 0:00-1:03]. I still await my two thousand pounds-worth of Symphony No 6, preferably from the Frankfurt Radio SO under Ari Rasilainen. Their performance on this CD is passport to my approval.

Copyright © 23 October 2002 Robert Anderson, London, UK

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Kurt Atterberg: Symphonies 2 and 5

999 565-2 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 75'34" 2002 CPO/Hessicher Rundfunk

Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt/Ari Rasilainen

Symphony No 2 Op 6 in F major (1911-13); Symphony No 5 Op 20 in D minor (1922)

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READ PATRIC STANDFORD'S REVIEW OF SYMPHONIES 7 & 8

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