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Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Composer: Svendsen
  • Audio CD (Oct. 1 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B00000DAJ8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #169,664 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Symphony No. 1 In D Major, Op.4: Molto allegro
2. Symphony No. 1 In D Major, Op.4: Andante
3. Symphony No. 1 In D Major, Op.4: Allegretto sherzando
4. Symphony No. 1 In D Major, Op.4: Finale: Maestoso - Allegro assai con fuoco
5. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, Op.15: Allegro
6. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, Op.15: Andante sostenuto
7. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, Op.15: Intermezzo: Allegro guisto
8. Symphony No. 2 In B Flat Major, Op.15: Finale: Andante - Allegro con fuoco

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It seems that many composers had a way of composing their first symphonies with freshness, excitment, somewaht bold but never exaggerated or flabbing, where their identity, although not yet materialized, always managed to prop up somehow.
Johan Svendsen's First Symphony was a success due to the confidence in the musical thoughts & expressions, with an exciting Mendelssohn-Barthody like first movement, a meditative second movement (Andante) and a sparking like third movement. the Finale began with majesty & grandeur before festive optimism sets in & gave the work a resounding close. The symphony was such a success that Edvard Grieg withdrew his symphony & forbade it from ever being performed (I personally think that Grieg was wrong, for the work has originality, identity & confidence and conductors like Neemi Jarvi were right in performing and recording Greig's interesting work by the early 1980s).
The Second Symphony is somewhat a more serious work although it shares the similiar passion & energy as its' predecessor. The structure & tempos are configured with similiarity & hints of Wagner are noticeable.
Bjarte Engeset & the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra gave a commited & an exciting performance. Although Jarvi's recording with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under BIS performed with excitement & conviction, Engeset's recording under Naxos measures up to his. The Difference? The Naxos recording is about $12.00 cheaper than the BIS recording while the level of Engeset's & Jarvi's performance remained somewhat the same, with little distinguishments in their professionism as among the first-class orchestras.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa153ee34) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1d49e7c) out of 5 stars SONG OF NORWAY April 16 2005
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Svendsen's first symphony impressed Grieg so much that he withdrew his own symphony. It's a fairly lightweight effort, but thoroughly professional in every way, and it shows a melodic gift that seems to me natural, genuine and spontaneous. I find nothing particularly Norwegian about it, which is not surprising as Svendsen had been trained in Leipzig. The second is much more attention-catching, with greater distinctiveness in both the themes and the scoring. This time there does seem to be a Norwegian flavour in the intermezzo, at least as I would understand 'Norwegian' from Grieg. The liner-note claims to detect some influence of Wagner in it, but frankly I doubt that. Like the earlier work, it is easy listening in a major key, cheerful and outgoing in expression for the most part but with a greater sense of depth in its first movement. Neither piece makes any great demands on the listener, and both make a thoroughly welcome change from the familiar repertory of late-romantic symphonies.

The performances strike me as admirable in every way, with accomplished orchestral playing and well-judged speeds throughout. The recording is faithful and clear. It would have benefited from being a little more 'forward', I felt, but there is no real problem with it. There is a helpful and informative liner-note with a useful potted biography of the composer and brief notes on both orchestra and conductor.

I take the opportunity, not for the first time, to thank Naxos for the enterprise they are showing in making such unfamiliar music available to us at such modest cost. I like to support projects like this and I hope they receive the backing they deserve from the musical public. This is music to be enjoyed, with no caveats or complications.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa12abe28) out of 5 stars A must get recording. June 19 1999
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As usual with first symphonies (think of Gade, Berwald, Alfven, Atterberg, Glazunov, Dohnanyi, Kalinnikov), Svendsen’s is of abundances of freshness, confidence in expression and form (or structure), a certain level of innocence, and surefootedness in orchestral resourcefulness, even if the ideas remains fledging as far as personality is concerned (Mendelssohn’s influence looms quite a bit here). After all, his symphony is a student work, written while he was still studying at the Leipzig Conservatory). His music is highly engaging and sparkling, the ideas nicely tight, controlled, and memorable. Its premiere on October 12, 1867 was such a success that Edvard Grieg unfortunately withdrew his symphony he had written in 1864 & forbade it from ever being performed. It gained a foothold in the repertoire of Scandinavian countries, but not well played elsewhere.

The Second Symphony (1876) is somewhat a more mature endeavor, one which evinces an even more effortless symphonic scope and melodic profile. It does, however, strike a slightly more seriousness in tone and is less ebullient than the First. But the resourcefulness and deftness in the scoring remains as strong as ever (perhaps even stronger, as his resourcefulness suggest broader acquaintances into, say, Schumann and Liszt with hints of Wagner thrown in).

Bjarte Engeset has shown himself to be a promising young Norwegian conductor, and gives himself into the feel of the music with aplomb and sensitivity in articulation and sharpness in phraseology. And the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra responds with plenty of felicitous enthusiasm and stylish refinement throughout. Naxos’ sound is more than fine and for the price, what’s more to expect?

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa25fc48c) out of 5 stars Nice production of a little-known classic Feb. 4 2012
By physics student - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Hadn't heard of the composer until the other day, when I encountered one of these symphonies on my local classical music radio station. Thanks to Amazon's quick service I had the CD in less than a week. Very soothing music, but intriguingly complex.