Hugo Alfvén: The Symphonies & Rhapsodies (5CD)

Current Stock:
Christina Högman, Claes-Håkan Ahnsjö, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

Please note: We are currently out of stock of this title, with a slight delay on more stock arriving into Australia. It may take an extra couple of weeks to fill orders for this particular box set.

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Some of the most colourful music to come out of Sweden – and indeed some of the most Swedish music there is! – was composed by Hugo Alfvén (1872- 1960). The Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 - also known as Midsummer Vigil – is a splendid evocation of Sweden's most important seasonal festival, combining all the dancing, aquavit, wild-flowers, folk costumes and eroticism one could possibly ask for.

The brilliantly orchestrated Suite from the Mountain King is one of the most frequently performed pieces of Swedish music. But Alfvén is also highly regarded as a symphonist and he claimed that his Symphony No. 1 was the first to be written 'in the Swedish language.'

This attractively priced box brings together all of the symphonies, the three Swedish rhapsodies and other works – a large part of Alfvén's output for orchestra. Previously released on five separate CDs, these recordings were greeted with great enthusiasm by reviewers when first released.

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Penguin Guide

"Järvi conducts his Swedish forces with enthusiasm and authority, and this is altogether most rewarding and not music one meets readily"

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Disc 1

Hugo Alfvén
01 Uppsalarapsodi (Swedish Rhapsody No.2), Op.24

Symphony No.1 in F minor, Op.7
02 I. Grave - Allegro con brio
03 II. Andante
04 III. Allegro, molto scherzando
05 IV. Allegro, ma non troppo

06 Drapa for large orchestra, Op.27
07 Andante Religioso from Revelation Cantata, Op.31

Disc 2

Hugo Alfvén
01 Midsommarvaka (Swedish Rhapsody No.1), Op.19

Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.11
02 I. Moderato
03 II. Andante
04 III. Allegro
05 IV. Preludio. Adagio
06 Fuga. Allegro energico

Disc 3

Hugo Alfvén
01 Dalarapsodi ( Swedish Rhapsody No.3), Op.47

Symphony No.3 in E major, Op.23
02 I. Allegro con brio
03 II. Andante
04 III. Presto
05 IV. Allegro con brio

Den förlorade sonen (The Prodigal Son), Suite
06 I. Gånglåt från Leksand - Sonens gånglåt
07 II. Polska från Orsa
08 III. Drottnings av Saba festmarch
09 IV. Polketta
10 V. Steklåt
11 VI. Polka
12 VII. Final

Disc 4

Hugo Alfvén
01 En skärgårdssägen (A Tale from the Archipelago), Op.20
02 Symphony No.4 in C minor, Op.39, Från havsbandet (From the Outermost Skerries)

Disc 5

Hugo Alfvén
Bergakungen (The Mountain King), Suite, Op.37
01 I. Besvärjelse
02 II. Trollflickans dans
03 III. Sommarregn
04 IV. Vallflickans dans

Symphony No.5 in A minor, Op.54
05 I. Lento - Allegro non troppo
06 II. Andante
07 III. Lento - Allegro - Presto molto agitato
08 IV. Finale. Allegro con brio

09 Elegy from Gustav II Adolf, Op.49

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The Classical Music Collector

"Although the Swede Hugo Alfvén lived a long life which extended right into the modernist era—he died in 1959—his musical language could be best described as genial. Cast in an undemanding late-Romantic idiom, his works refuse to break boundaries and are content to rely on their great charm and distinctiveness without trying to be revolutionary. A resourceful orchestrator, Alfvén was also much given to depicting nature in his music: his best-known work is the Swedish Rhapsody, and his Third Symphony was partly inspired by a trip to Italy. As his symphonies unfold the music becomes richer and more involving, but never abandons the picturesqueness that was Alfvén’s great strength. The stand-out work is the Fifth Symphony, where Alfvén permits himself a more expansive and idiosyncratic musical canvas, and the result is superb and heart-warming; not to mention, sadly, rarely heard. Accompanying the five symphonies in this lovely BIS set are a number of other orchestral works, including the Prodigal Son and Mountain King Suites, and of course the Swedish Rhapsody, the one work most listeners will have heard before, music firmly but gently rooted in the Swedish landscape and psyche." - Chris Dench