“Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927) was perhaps Sweden's foremost orchestral composer, roughly a contemporary of Sibelius. The Symphony No. 2 in G minor, Op. 34, heard here was influenced by the mighty Finn, and although Stenhammar did not make groundbreaking formal discoveries like Sibelius or Nielsen, the work has compelling outer movements with an opening low string melody you'll remember, and a big fugal finale that packs a punch. Even better is the colorful five-movement Serenade in F major, Op. 31, done with a light touch here by the nonagenarian Herbert Blomstedt (90 is the new 65) and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, where Stenhammar himself was music director not too long before Blomstedt was born. So it's safe to say that the musicians have these pieces in their bones. The ease shows especially in the Serenade, a work not often heard outside Sweden and one that will fill many a slot in collections of Scandinavian music. You might find sleeker string work in some of the other recordings of the Symphony No. 2 on the market, but this one has the marks of having been done for love by the aging conductor. As good a place as any to start for those curious about Stenhammar. The music is designated as having been "recorded at public performances at the Gothenburg Concert Hall"; it's not clear whether these were simply public concerts recorded live, or something else, but the space certainly fits the music.”
Album review provided by TiVo. This content is not produced by Primephonic, and any views expressed are the review author’s own.