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Caprice CAP 22056: 78 + 79mins


1. A due voci op. 3 (1958) Ulf Bergström/Lars Arvinder alto flute & viola

2. In nuce op. 7 for large orchestra) (1962 – 63)
Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunk/Bruno Maderna

3-6. Symphony 1 op. 9 (1964 – 67) Stockholm Philharmonic/Antal Dorati

7-10. Appell I – IV op. 10 for orchestra) (1968 – 69)
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Stig Westerberg [cond.]

11. Alarme op. 11 (1969)
Ib Lanzky-Otto [horn]

12. Ultima op. 13 (1971 – 72)
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Zdenek Mácal

13. Flauto del sole op. 19 (1978)
Manuela Wiesler [flute]

14. Utopia op. 20 (1977 – 78)
The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Leif Segerstam


1. Prelude & Fugue op. 1 (1951/96)
Erik Boström [organ]

2. Lyrical Metamorphosis (1954–57) The Berwald Quartet

3. Invoco op. 4 for strings) (1958 – 60) The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Stig Westerberg

4. Stadier op. 5 (Stages) (1960 – 61) Karl Vennberg [poems] / Ilona Maros [soprano] / Stig Bengtsson [flute] / Leif E. Hellman [bass clarinet] / Lars Hammarteg [percussion] / Magda Fürst [viola] / Miklós Maros [cond.]

5. The Sound of a Flute (1961) Alf Andersen [flute]

6. Lament from Bohuslän (1963)
Gothenburg Chamber Choir/ Gunnar Eriksson

7. In Sound) (1970)
The Maros Ensemble

8. Winter Flute 1976
Gunilla von Bahr [flute]

9. Mass for Gulls 1976) Gothenburg Chamber Choir/Gunnar Eriksson

10. Some Shores 1982 The Rilke Ensemble; Robert Schenck [flute], Gunnar Eriksson [cond.]

11. Inscrit op. 27 (1984)
Stefan Lindgren [piano]

12. Hymn to Saltö Island
Guido Vecchi [cello]


Åke Hermanson: Alarme!

This is a strange and, I think, a wonderful if slightly flawed production.

Åke Hermanson (1923 – 1996) was a Swedish composer very much on the fringe, who had to earn his living as a jazz pianist and when he became Chairman of the Swedish Association of Composers found himself 'unfitted to administrative responsibilities'. His last decade was spent in a coma after a series of strokes.

Hermanson's music is serious and austere, and demands to be taken very seriously. This is a massive compilation presented in a big box with a lavish book which traverses his whole oeuvre, and provides texts of the vocal items in Swedish. The notes by Maestro Göran Bergendal are full, hampered only by navigation problems between the ordering of the texts and the very different ordering of the two discs; but you get it gradually...

More serious, there is no translation of the vocal items (synopses of the Stadier songs) but the Mass for Gulls can be found on the Caprice website in English http://home.swipnet.se/sonoloco7/Caprice/capriceframes.html at Åke Hermanson:"Alarme" (persevere if you have difficulty connecting!).

A slow composer, Hermanson worked on his first symphony for three years, 1964-67, and it is given here by Antal Dorati, no less. There is little in the way of conventional lightness in these four powerful movements of cumulative power. No 2 "heading for Ultima" has only two movements, "a big head and a long tail" (AH) and it will make you think, perhaps, of Beethoven and of Sibelius (with whom Hermanson was not afraid to align himself).

Utopia is a substantial one-movement orchestral piece 'dependent on high flutes of cosmic distance - - -', a relatively optimistic version of "future life opportunities", with "uplifted, lyrical beauty - - utopian purity - - reminders of Sibelius' fourth symphony - -" (Per Norgård).

Recommended - I am very pleased to have had this composer brought to our attention in this way.

Maybe one of our more enterprising string quartets might make a start by exploring his 16 minute Lyric Metamorphosis Op 2?

Peter Grahame Woolf