Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Franz Berwald: Symphonies and Overtures

As a fan of classical music, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting composers to discover. So when I came across Hyperion's recording of Franz Berwald's symphonies, I was intrigued. Berwald is not a household name, and I have to admit that I had never even heard of him before. But the music on this CD is simply stunning.

Berwald was a Swedish composer who lived in the early 19th century. His music has been described as a blend of the styles of Weber, Beethoven, and Schubert, and I can definitely hear elements of all three in these recordings. Symphony No. 1 Sinfonie sérieuse is a grand and sweeping piece, full of drama and emotion. Symphony No. 2 Sinfonie capricieuse is a bit lighter and more playful with a strong emphasis on woodwinds and French horns. Symphony No. 3 Sinfonie Singulière is perhaps the most unconventional of the four, with a strange and almost experimental quality. And Symphony No. 4 is a more traditional work, with a strong focus on melody and structure.

But the real standout tracks on this CD are the two overtures: Estrella de Soria and Queen of Golconda. These are both fairly short pieces, but they pack a punch. Estrella de Soria is a lively and energetic overture, full of bold brass and percussion. Queen of Golconda is a bit more subtle with a beautiful and flowing melody. Both of these overtures showcase Berwald's unique voice as a composer, and they are a real joy to listen to.

The performances on this CD are top-notch. The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Roy Goodman, delivers some truly stellar performances. Goodman is a seasoned conductor, and it shows in these recordings. The orchestra is tight and well-balanced with every section of the ensemble coming together to create a cohesive and powerful sound.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this CD to anyone who loves classical music. Berwald may not be a well-known composer, but his music is truly special, and these recordings do it justice. If you are looking for something new and exciting to add to your collection, this CD is definitely worth a listen. So, Hyperion's recording of Franz Berwald's symphonies is a must-have for any classical music fan.