Rangstršm, Stenhammar, Sjšgren & Nystroem

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COMPOSERS: Rangstrom,Sjögren & Nystroem,Stenhammar
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Soul and Landscape
WORKS: Works by Rangström, Stenhammar, Sjögren & Nystroem
PERFORMER: Miah Persson (soprano)Roger Vignoles (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67329
Richard Bergh’s painting Nordic Summer Evening, chosen for the cover of this disc, became something of a leitmotiv of the big 1986 exhibition, ‘Dreams of a Summer Night’, which awoke British consciousness to the then undersung beauty of Nordic Golden Age art. Nearly two decades on, the summer-night magic endures; and this enchanting new recital of Swedish song focuses on much of the turn-of-the-century repertoire that has been championed by Anne Sofie von Otter and Barbara Bonney.

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Miah Persson has a lighter, more instinctive voice than either: just the thing for the disarming simplicity of Ture Rangström’s own ‘Summer Night’ which immediately reveals her happy partnership with Roger Vignoles. His hushed chords support Persson’s beautifully blanched voice in ‘The Last Hour’, with its archetypical Nordic evocation of a strange meeting that never quite happened.

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Stenhammar is here, too, though with less potent enchantment; and Persson introduces us, not before time, to Emil Sjögren’s Six Songs from Julius Wolff’s ‘Tannhäuser’: a little German song cycle in Sjögren’s best chameleon style. These songs call for rather richer and more varied colours than exist in Persson’s palette. But her eloquence in the spare, stark sea songs of Gösta Nystroem, from the Forties, is near perfection. Hilary Finch