I knew only Eyvind Alnaes' Piano Concerto when this recording of his two symphonies appeared. Alnaes is best known as a songwriter but he was comfortable working with larger orchestral forms. Both symphonies are substantial works, clocking in at 41 and 36 minutes respectively. The First Symphony was composer during 1897 - 98. The opening movement is dramatic with a bold heroic melody that is beautifully developed. The passionate main melody gives way to a lyrical theme that is lovingly developed. The movement concludes with the heroic theme cascading in a descending chromatic line.
The second movement is a beautifully conceived and characterized by a melancholy melody. The Scherzo is an energetic short movement with a light melody couples with a more restless theme. The Finale has the restless character of the first movement and the same heroic theme finds its way here.
The Second Symphony dates from 1923 and was premiered in 1924. There is an instant feeling of greater maturity with this music, it flows and the orchestration is more assured. The first movement begins with a joyous melody that continues to develop with a lyrical theme ending with a sunny conclusion. The slow movement was written to the memory of a friend of the composer who had recently died. The movement is somber without being excessive in emotion. The scherzo is light and dance-like and the Finale is a joyous movement that concludes the symphony.
The performances are first rate and the sound is well balanced. The symphonies of Eyvind Alnaes are not on the level of his contemporaries Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler or Jean Sibelius but the music is beautifully written with melodies that remain in the mind. If you have an interest in symphonies of the Romantic mold, these are for you.