Berwald: Sinfonie singulière; Sinfonie sérieuse; Sinfonie capricieuse

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Berwald
LABELS: EMI Double Forte
WORKS: Sinfonie singulière; Sinfonie sérieuse; Sinfonie capricieuse
PERFORMER: RPO/Ulf Björlin
CATALOGUE NO: CZS 5 73335 2 ADD Reissue (1977)
All four Berwald symphones come from the period 1842-45, and so do the three tone poems recorded here. Most rival versions concentrate on the symphonies: Hyperion also offer the fragment of the early A major symphony and the two opera overtures, Naxos the Piano Concerto and the Estrella overture, and BIS the Konzertstücke for bassoon. None give us the present tone-poems. Ulf Björlin and the RPO give decent and selfless accounts of these perennially fresh symphonies, wanting only in the last ounce of vitality and sparkle. The tone poems – and in particularly the delightful Play of the Elves – are rarities on CD, and come off better. Not a first choice (Järvi on DG is the set to have) but worth considering if you want the tone-poems. Truthfully balanced 1977 recording. Robert Layton

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