Discussion:
Contemporary Scandinavian composers
(too old to reply)
Lawrence Kart
2020-07-28 16:33:00 UTC
Permalink
About fifteen years ago a customer at a record store I frequented began getting promos from the various Scandinavian classical labels (Caprice, Phono Sueica, Kontrapunkt, BIS, etc.) which he sold to the store, and which the store then priced at $5-$10 each. I was familiar with the music of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me, while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 6 and 6, I have more of his symphonies on their way to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.



Larry Kart
Raymond Hall
2020-07-29 03:07:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
About fifteen years ago a customer at a record store I frequented began getting promos from the various Scandinavian classical labels (Caprice, Phono Sueica, Kontrapunkt, BIS, etc.) which he sold to the store, and which the store then priced at $5-$10 each. I was familiar with the music of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me, while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 6 and 6, I have more of his symphonies on their way to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.
Larry Kart
Holmboe is a familiar name, music I might need to sample, as if there isn't tons of new stuff waiting to be listened to. Pettersson for one.

From my LP days I remember one LP that I played a lot, two symphonies by Hilding Rosenberg, and the other by Karl-Birger Blomdahl. The Rosenberg especially struck a chord. On a Turnabout disc from recollection.

New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn has written works (three symphonies, overtures, tone poems) that have a definite Nordic strain (more similar to Rosenberg), that are well worth the exploration for those that love composers like Nielsen and Sibelius. Naxos and ABC classics are two labels that have Lilburn who imho is quite unjustly neglected by the mainstream.

Ray Hall, Taree
Lawrence Kart
2020-07-29 15:02:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Raymond Hall
Post by Lawrence Kart
About fifteen years ago a customer at a record store I frequented began getting promos from the various Scandinavian classical labels (Caprice, Phono Sueica, Kontrapunkt, BIS, etc.) which he sold to the store, and which the store then priced at $5-$10 each. I was familiar with the music of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me, while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 6 and 6, I have more of his symphonies on their way to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.
Holmboe is a familiar name, music I might need to sample, as if there isn't tons of new stuff waiting to be listened to. Pettersson for one.
From my LP days I remember one LP that I played a lot, two symphonies by Hilding Rosenberg, and the other by Karl-Birger Blomdahl. The Rosenberg especially struck a chord. On a Turnabout disc from recollection.
New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn has written works (three symphonies, overtures, tone poems) that have a definite Nordic strain (more similar to Rosenberg), that are well worth the exploration for those that love composers like Nielsen and Sibelius. Naxos and ABC classics are two labels that have Lilburn who imho is quite unjustly neglected by the mainstream.
Ray Hall, Taree
I know Lilburn's music and like it.

Larry Kart
Richard S. Sandmeyer
2020-07-30 08:50:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Raymond Hall
Post by Lawrence Kart
About fifteen years ago a customer at a record store I frequented began
getting promos from the various Scandinavian classical labels (Caprice,
Phono Sueica, Kontrapunkt, BIS, etc.) which he sold to the store, and
which the store then priced at $5-$10 each. I was familiar with the music
of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but
many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen
before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time
I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me,
while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might
be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly
impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 6 and 6, I have more of his symphonies on their way
to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to
interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders
Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these
composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add
that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern
bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.
Holmboe is a familiar name, music I might need to sample, as if there isn't
tons of new stuff waiting to be listened to. Pettersson for one.
From my LP days I remember one LP that I played a lot, two symphonies by
Hilding Rosenberg, and the other by Karl-Birger Blomdahl. The Rosenberg
especially struck a chord. On a Turnabout disc from recollection.
New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn has written works (three symphonies,
overtures, tone poems) that have a definite Nordic strain (more similar to
Rosenberg), that are well worth the exploration for those that love
composers like Nielsen and Sibelius. Naxos and ABC classics are two labels
that have Lilburn who imho is quite unjustly neglected by the mainstream.
Ray Hall, Taree
I know Lilburn's music and like it.
Larry Kart
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them). Also, I have
a few of the Norgaard symphonies on Chandos and Dacapo, some Sallinen
works on BIS, one Carlstedt symphony (#2) on LP, but nothing by the
others you list. You've just reminded me of an area of my collection
that I haven't visited for a while, I must now correct that.

As for Norholm, I've never heard anything by him but perhaps I'll give
him a try now based on your comments. Any suggestion for where to start?
--
Rich Sandmeyer
rich dot sand at verizon dot net
Andy Evans
2020-07-30 08:06:46 UTC
Permalink
I worked as a jazz musician in Norway for 6 years and played with a lot of the jazz artists there. I'd suggest looking at Bugge Wesseltoft in particular. Jazz in Norway acquired quite a lot of crossover status with contemporary music thanks to the ECM label, which recorded a lot in Oslo. Garbarek isn't to my taste but you may like him. The evolved contemporary jazz scene in the whole of Scandinavia is pretty interesting. You also have a lot of ambient music from Iceland, e.g. Sigur Ros.




Lawrence Kart
2020-07-30 15:15:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Raymond Hall
Post by Lawrence Kart
About fifteen years ago a customer at a record store I frequented began
getting promos from the various Scandinavian classical labels (Caprice,
Phono Sueica, Kontrapunkt, BIS, etc.) which he sold to the store, and
which the store then priced at $5-$10 each. I was familiar with the music
of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but
many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen
before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time
I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me,
while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might
be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly
impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 6 and 6, I have more of his symphonies on their way
to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to
interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders
Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these
composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add
that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern
bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.
Holmboe is a familiar name, music I might need to sample, as if there isn't
tons of new stuff waiting to be listened to. Pettersson for one.
From my LP days I remember one LP that I played a lot, two symphonies by
Hilding Rosenberg, and the other by Karl-Birger Blomdahl. The Rosenberg
especially struck a chord. On a Turnabout disc from recollection.
New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn has written works (three symphonies,
overtures, tone poems) that have a definite Nordic strain (more similar to
Rosenberg), that are well worth the exploration for those that love
composers like Nielsen and Sibelius. Naxos and ABC classics are two labels
that have Lilburn who imho is quite unjustly neglected by the mainstream.
Ray Hall, Taree
I know Lilburn's music and like it.
Larry Kart
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them). Also, I have
a few of the Norgaard symphonies on Chandos and Dacapo, some Sallinen
works on BIS, one Carlstedt symphony (#2) on LP, but nothing by the
others you list. You've just reminded me of an area of my collection
that I haven't visited for a while, I must now correct that.
As for Norholm, I've never heard anything by him but perhaps I'll give
him a try now based on your comments. Any suggestion for where to start?
--
Rich Sandmeyer
rich dot sand at verizon dot net
My Norholm holdings are spotty, with more to arrive in a week or so. I'd jump in at what I reckon is or is close to the deep end -- the coupling of symphonies 7 and 9. A disc of his chamber music is attractive but rather spare and exercise-like (delicate charming exercises though), but those two symphonies are major or would-be major statements, with a flavor all their own. An unlikely blend of Webern and Sibelius I said above, but that was just me groping. The Webern feel refers to spareness of texture, delicacy of scoring, use of slience/space. the Sibelus to sudden imposing eruptions of string and (especially) brass rhetoric -- the byplay between those two sorts of music-making for me resolves itself into a unique and homogenous sense of dialogue. In particular, unliike a good deal of contemporary symphonic or large ensemble music from Scandinavia that I've come to know, none of it seems routine, forced, or "gestural."

Larry Ksrt

P.S. I enjoy listening to modern music that is new to me. the attempt to figure out the "what" and the "why" of it. When one does do that, or thinks that one has, and the music is both novel and good, it feels like Christmas.
Ed Presson
2020-07-30 18:47:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them).
I bought a lot of Holmboe when ARG and Fanfare critics were praising them
highly. The orchestral
works certainly sound serious and are immediately impressive. For me,
however, they did not hold up to repeated
listening over the years. So, I'd rate them B-, worth hearing every five or
ten years.

YMMV
Lawrence Kart
2020-07-30 18:58:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them).
I bought a lot of Holmboe when ARG and Fanfare critics were praising them
highly. The orchestral
works certainly sound serious and are immediately impressive. For me,
however, they did not hold up to repeated
listening over the years. So, I'd rate them B-, worth hearing every five or
ten years.
YMMV
That's more or less my impression of Holmboe. Serious, and he's quite a craftsmen, but how often do the results rise to the level of the really memorable? In part that may be because he's so prolific that one becomes quite familiar with the Holmboe "sound." BTW, Ib Norholm, like many Scandinavian composers, studied under Holmboe at one point.

Larry Kart
Lawrence Kart
2020-08-02 03:57:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Ed Presson
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them).
I bought a lot of Holmboe when ARG and Fanfare critics were praising them
highly. The orchestral
works certainly sound serious and are immediately impressive. For me,
however, they did not hold up to repeated
listening over the years. So, I'd rate them B-, worth hearing every five or
ten years.
YMMV
That's more or less my impression of Holmboe. Serious, and he's quite a craftsmen, but how often do the results rise to the level of the really memorable? In part that may be because he's so prolific that one becomes quite familiar with the Holmboe "sound." BTW, Ib Norholm, like many Scandinavian composers, studied under Holmboe at one point.
Larry Kart
More Norholm has arrived, with more to come. First report: Symphonies No. 4 & 5, Edward Serove, Odense Symphony (Kontrapunkt).

No. 5 (The Elements) either is or is close to a masterpiece. Four movements (Air, Earth, Water, Fire) each beautifully characterized, not a foot put wrong. In the notes to the earlier Jan Lanthham-Koenig recording of No. 5 (also on Konrtrapunkt, have it now but haven't yet heard it) Norholm says: "It is not so strange that the antique Greek conceptions of the four elements ... fire, water, air, and earth -- which were considered to comprise the entire material reality, could be used as images or as analogies for a music which could be respectively lively, fluent, airy, and heavy."

About the masterpiece suggestion -- there is a certain game-like quality to the work, a lack of table-pounding or hand-wringing if you will, and some require those qualities if the term "masterpiece" is to be bandied about. I don't.

No. 4, (Decreation) while quite impressive in purely sonic terms, otherwise remains more or less incomprehensible to me at this point because it sets at length (44:15) an elaborate text by Danish poet Paul Borum, with added material drawn by Norholm from other sources, and this compound text, rendered by chorus and vocal soloists, is not translated in the accompanying booklet. Again, based on the intensity and quality of Norholm's music here, one feels fairly sure that the relationship between music and text is lucid and intense, but without a translation (or knowledge of Danish) one is left to guess as to what that relationship is.

More when I've heard more Norholm.

Larry Kart
Lawrence Kart
2020-08-02 03:58:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Lawrence Kart
Post by Ed Presson
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them).
I bought a lot of Holmboe when ARG and Fanfare critics were praising them
highly. The orchestral
works certainly sound serious and are immediately impressive. For me,
however, they did not hold up to repeated
listening over the years. So, I'd rate them B-, worth hearing every five or
ten years.
YMMV
That's more or less my impression of Holmboe. Serious, and he's quite a craftsmen, but how often do the results rise to the level of the really memorable? In part that may be because he's so prolific that one becomes quite familiar with the Holmboe "sound." BTW, Ib Norholm, like many Scandinavian composers, studied under Holmboe at one point.
Larry Kart
More Norholm has arrived, with more to come. First report: Symphonies No. 4 & 5, Edward Serove, Odense Symphony (Kontrapunkt).
No. 5 (The Elements) either is or is close to a masterpiece. Four movements (Air, Earth, Water, Fire) each beautifully characterized, not a foot put wrong. In the notes to the earlier Jan Lanthham-Koenig recording of No. 5 (also on Konrtrapunkt, have it now but haven't yet heard it) Norholm says: "It is not so strange that the antique Greek conceptions of the four elements ... fire, water, air, and earth -- which were considered to comprise the entire material reality, could be used as images or as analogies for a music which could be respectively lively, fluent, airy, and heavy."
About the masterpiece suggestion -- there is a certain game-like quality to the work, a lack of table-pounding or hand-wringing if you will, and some require those qualities if the term "masterpiece" is to be bandied about. I don't.
No. 4, (Decreation) while quite impressive in purely sonic terms, otherwise remains more or less incomprehensible to me at this point because it sets at length (44:15) an elaborate text by Danish poet Paul Borum, with added material drawn by Norholm from other sources, and this compound text, rendered by chorus and vocal soloists, is not translated in the accompanying booklet. Again, based on the intensity and quality of Norholm's music here, one feels fairly sure that the relationship between music and text is lucid and intense, but without a translation (or knowledge of Danish) one is left to guess as to what that relationship is.
More when I've heard more Norholm.
Larry Kart
Goops == that"s Edward Serov, not Serove.
Martin Schöön
2020-08-05 17:25:40 UTC
Permalink
Lawrence Kart
2020-08-06 13:24:53 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
Post by Raymond Hall
Post by Lawrence Kart
of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but
many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen
before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time
I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me,
while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might
be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly
impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 6 and 6, I have more of his symphonies on their way
to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to
interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders
Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these
composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add
that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern
bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.
Holmboe is a familiar name, music I might need to sample, as if there isn't
tons of new stuff waiting to be listened to. Pettersson for one.
From my LP days I remember one LP that I played a lot, two symphonies by
Hilding Rosenberg, and the other by Karl-Birger Blomdahl. The Rosenberg
especially struck a chord. On a Turnabout disc from recollection.
<snip>
Post by Richard S. Sandmeyer
I have the Holmboe symphonies on BIS (and recommend them). Also, I have
a few of the Norgaard symphonies on Chandos and Dacapo, some Sallinen
works on BIS, one Carlstedt symphony (#2) on LP, but nothing by the
others you list. You've just reminded me of an area of my collection
that I haven't visited for a while, I must now correct that.
As for Norholm, I've never heard anything by him but perhaps I'll give
him a try now based on your comments. Any suggestion for where to start?
Victoria Borisova-Ollas is played regularly (sort of) by the Swedish
public media radio company. As are Andrea Tarodi (recently composer in
residence at radio orchestra, if memory serves) and Karin Rehnqvist. This
is no quality guarantee as staff of the state run radio shamelessly push
their political views and help friends. In these three cases I have no
objections, though.
Sven-David Sandström is well-known an played, at least in Sweden.
Allan Pettersson should not be overlooked.
Does Eduard Tubin count? He was Estonian but lived in Gothenburg.
Rued Langgaard is maybe as unique in Denmark as Allan Pettersson is in
Sweden. What little I have heard of him involves Mahler-sized
orchestra and choir.
Alfred Schnelzer was a completely new name to me when I came across his
music this winter. Titles ("Brain Damage", for instance) are wackier than
his music.
There are many more. These are just the ones that came to my mind right
now.
/Martin
I'm curious. By "political views" I assume you mean in "left/right" terms rather than simple favoritism of particular composers on a " they belong to my crowd musically" basis. If it is the former, though, how did Scandinavian composers come to be divided along "political" political lines. I ask because I'm not aware of that phenomenon in the U.S. -- perhaps because in the U.S. most composers have so-called "progressive" view or just remain mum on the subject..

BTW, I too find Langgaard a figure of much interest. I like Tubin too, but he either seems quite Estonian to me or not Swedish. There's too much "geshrei"/angst in his music.

Best, Larry Kart
Martin Schöön
2020-08-07 22:17:27 UTC
Permalink
Lawrence Kart
2020-08-18 16:36:40 UTC
Permalink
Norholm's 7& 9 arrived. Have listened to 7; it's another gem, somewhat in the vein of 5 but more evanescent in texture and with a similarly evanescent rhetorical structure.. The man's ear was unique and exceptional, or at least to my tastes. His writing for percussion is often quite delicate and virtuosic, especially for timpani, but also at times very forceful, his writing for brass likewise. Above all, one feels (at lI east do) that this is music that Norholm HAD to write.

How major a composer is he? I would need to hear all or almost all of his orchestral, chamber, and solo piano works to be sure, and among the orchestral works have access to the texts of those for chorus and solo voices so I can take account of what the heck they're about -- impressive as the orchestral side of those works is. In any case, I've yet to encounter anything from Norholm that isn't individual and striking -- although some of the chamber works are a bit on the etude-is side of things. To become familiar with all that I've mentioned above would be a quite a financial investment -- I'm poised on the brink of it though.
Martin Schöön
2020-09-12 19:50:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
Norholm's 7& 9 arrived. Have listened to 7; it's another gem, somewhat
<snip>
Post by Lawrence Kart
How major a composer is he?
Sorry, I don't know. The name rings a bell, that's all. This does not
mean he is insignificant, only that he has managed to stay off my radar.

Another contemporary Scandinavian composer, Andrea Tarrodi, has a
work premiered at The Last Night of The Proms tonight:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e3pd2m

/Martin
number_six
2020-09-12 20:47:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Schöön
Another contemporary Scandinavian composer, Andrea Tarrodi, has a
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e3pd2m
/Martin
Sorry to read Lisa Batiashvili is ill, hope it is not serious.

Just recently listened to her CD Echoes of Time.

That's a prestigious commission for Tarrodi.

I have not yet heard any of his music that I recall.
Martin Schöön
2020-09-13 18:22:56 UTC
Permalink
number_six
2020-09-14 21:34:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by number_six
Post by Martin Schöön
Another contemporary Scandinavian composer, Andrea Tarrodi, has a
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e3pd2m
/Martin
Sorry to read Lisa Batiashvili is ill, hope it is not serious.
Just recently listened to her CD Echoes of Time.
That's a prestigious commission for Tarrodi.
I have not yet heard any of his music that I recall.
www.andreatarrodi.com
/Martin
Thanks, lots of samples on the "listen" tab of this site.
I see at least one of her pieces is dedicated to the Eric Ericsson Choir.
Lawrence Kart
2020-07-29 15:15:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lawrence Kart
About fifteen years ago a customer at a record store I frequented began getting promos from the various Scandinavian classical labels (Caprice, Phono Sueica, Kontrapunkt, BIS, etc.) which he sold to the store, and which the store then priced at $5-$10 each. I was familiar with the music of some of those composers -- e.g. Norgaard, Sallinen, Holmboe -- but many of them were new to me. Unfortunately, IIRC one couldn't listen before buying, so I began, as the mood hit me, to take a flier. Over time I found that the music of Norgaard and Sallinen began to pale for me, while I grew increasingly impressed by (especially) Ib Norholm (he might be described as an intriguing mix of Webern and Sibelius) (particularly impressed by
Norholm's symphonies 7 and 9, I have more of his symphonies on their way to me) and Herman Koppel and found something or more than something to interest me in the music of Jan Carlstedt, Seven-Erik Back, Anders Eliasson, Gunnar Valkare, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas. Any of these composers ring bells for anyone here, one way or the other? I should add that there are many more composers in the capacious Scandinavian modern bag that I didn't interest me at all or that I actively disliked.
Larry Kart
number_six
2020-07-29 23:11:14 UTC
Permalink
On Phono Suecia, I have Contemporary Choir Music vol 1

Eric Ericson conducts works by Ingvar Lidholm and Lars Johan Werle

Pretty sure I've only played once; maybe again soon
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