Magazine article Gramophone

Atterberg: 'Orchestral Works, Vol 2'

Magazine article Gramophone

Atterberg: 'Orchestral Works, Vol 2'

Article excerpt

Atterberg

'Orchestral Works, Vol 2'

Symphonies--No 2, Op 6; No 8, Op 48

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Jarvi

Chandos [F] [SACD] CHSA5133 (61' * DDD/DSD)

As has been remarked in these pages before, Atterberg's early Second Symphony (1911-12) is tricky to balance. Initially a Romantic diptych, with a finale interweaving slow finale and scherzo and rising to a grand climax, it ended in the wrong key (C major, not F), so in 1913 the composer added a third movement in F minor-major, yet still overshadowed by the now middle panel's peroration.

Where Westerberg relished the glowing orchestration and some of Atterberg's most appealing folk-based melodies, Rasilainen sought a more unified view, allowing the central climax its due but inflating the final bars as makeweight. By contrast, Jarvi ups the tempi considerably, reining in the central climax to throw the expressive weight on to the final bars. No approach works entirely satisfactorily and the symphony remains a problem child but sounds so wonderful that I don't mind. Jarvi's account seems rushed in places, Rasilainen a touch sedate, so Westerberg may ultimately have judged the tempi most adroitly; but his later rivals possess finer sound, Chandos's the best of all. …

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