COMPOSERS: Alfven,Nielsen,Ole Schmidt,Rautavaara,Sallinen,Tveitt
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Nordic Wind Band Classics
WORKS: Works by Tveitt, Rautavaara, Alfvén, Sallinen, Nielsen & Ole Schmidt
PERFORMER: Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra/Clark Rundell
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10038
This is an unusual collection of unfamiliar music, most of it noble and some of it quietly disturbing. The four terse, dark movements of Rautavaara’s Soldier’s Mass are a universe away from the mystical musings of his later symphonic works, and Sallinen’s early Chorali has a granitic quality that he has allowed to soften with the years. Nielsen’s tiny paraphrase on ‘Nearer My God to Thee’, inspired by the sinking of the Titanic, builds to a brief, shocking catastrophe where we glimpse the cataclysm of the Fifth Symphony. When heard in wind-band scoring, that great Norwegian original Geirr Tveitt, the only composer to be represented here by two works, discloses an affinity to his friend Percy Grainger, especially the latter’s Hill Songs. Tveitt’s five-movement Sinfonietta of 1962, with its central ‘fanfara funèbre’ (an extraordinary movement) and scherzo in the rhythm of a springar, is a minor masterpiece; a premiere recording too. (It should not be mistaken for Tveitt’s rather later Third Symphony for winds, which confusingly has the same opus number). Ole Schmidt’s Hommage à Stravinsky is a witty assemblage of quotations and salient stylistic tics; even Alfvén’s moderately bombastic Festival Overture is worth the occasional hearing. Altogether the disc is worth the attention of any devotee of the composers included.