Sibelius, Dvor‡k, Glazunov

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COMPOSERS: Dvorak,Glazunov,Sibelius
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Intrada; Surusoitto; Masonic Ritual Music, Op. 113/1 & 10
PERFORMER: Hans-Ola Ericsson (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1101
Interest centres here on Surusoitto, which Sibelius composed at short notice in 1931 for the funeral of the artist Axel Gallén (Akseli Gallen-Kalela), whose paintings adorned the covers of many early Sibelius LPs. The composer Joonas Kokkonen argued that this might well have drawn on material from the Eighth Symphony which was at the forefront of his mind at the time, a theory confirmed by the composer’s widow.

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The Dvorák pieces (five preludes, a fughetta and two fugues) are exercises the 18-year-old composer wrote on graduating from the Prague Organ School. Dvorák scholar John Clapham speaks of them as proficient but they have little connection with the Dvorák we know. The three Glazunov pieces are another matter and show his striking mastery of counterpoint: the D major Prelude and Fugue comes from 1906-7, the period of the Eighth Symphony; the D minor (1914) has an ingenious and powerfully wrought fugue, while the impressive Fantasy (1934-35) written for Marcel Dupré is music of substance. Hans-Ola Ericsson draws some magnificent sounds from the powerful Gerald Woehl organ at St Petrus Canisius, Friedrichshafen, and the recording is state-of-the-art. Robert Layton