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ENGLUND: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4 / Piano Concerto No. 1


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Einar Englund (1916-1999)


Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4


Piano Concerto No.1



"I can see your destiny in youreyes. You will become an accomplished composer."


Jean SibeIins to Einar Englnnd in 1941



Einar Englund (b. 1916), aSwedish-speaking Finn, can be described as a composer of great versatility: asymphonist, a second-generation Neo-Classicist, a reformer of Finnish music Hewas the first major representative of the "lost generation" - youngmen who had sacrificed their youth to the war - among Finnish composers, andthe first seriously to challenge the status of Sibelius and Madetoja as Finnishsymphonic composers and to guide musical trends away from the uncriticalidealisation of National Romanticism. However, Englund seems to have remained,through no fault of his own, in the shadow of the great master of Ainola,Sibelius.



Even so, Englund's contribution to thegenre of symphonic music has been great. the first performance of his SymphonyNo.1, "War Symphony", in 1947, was greeted with tumultuousacclaim. This, and the Symphony No.2, "Blackbird", firstperformed in 1948 and attracting perhaps even more public interest, are in away a nod of acknowledgement to Sibelius. Both depict the horror and everydayreality of war. Heikki Aaltoila, a music critic with the Uusi Suomi newspaper,described Englund's Second Symphony, in which the flute and other windinstruments playa major role, as "a sarcastic statement by a rebellioussoul on the brutality of Man and our distorted civilisation, compared with thepurity of Nature". The Second Symphony was gradually forgottenuntil recent recordings, which have sparked new interest in it. David Hurwitz,writing in Fanfare, described the symphony as a true masterpiece in thesymphonic literature of this century.



In 1955, Englund took part in acompetition to write a concerto for piano and orchestra, organized by theFinnish Cultural Foundation. He won the competition, with Aarre Merikanto insecond place. This concerto, which many feel is related to the music of Bartok,has become one of the most frequently performed Finnish piano concertos. Itsthemes are derived from the yoik, the vocal style of the Sami people ofLappland, the same music that the composer drew on for his score for the filmThe White Reindeer. Englund wrote the work for himself, being anaccomplished pianist and above all a fantastic improviser. "...The cadenzain the printed score is identical with the one that the artist improvised atthe memorable concert where composer and pianist fused into an ideal symbioticentity," the composer writes.



The music of Igor Stravinsky and DmitryShostakovitch made a profound impression on Englund, and when these composersdied in the 1970s he was inspired to write a symphony "to the memory of agreat composer". Englund relates: 'Their passing touched me deeply andprompted me to write a work to enshrine their careers... I wanted to recreatethe atmosphere of profound grief and nostalgia that affected me by usingmusical images of my own memories, partly conflicting, partly ridiculous."Thus Symphony No.4 reflects not only Shostakovitch and Stravinsky, butEnglund himself and his life.



The Fourth Symphony("Nostalgic") opens, exceptionally, with a slow movement. Thesecond movement draws upon a memory from the composer's childhood summers onthe Baltic island of Gotland; hence the title, Tempus jugit. The thirdmovement contains an allusion to Sibelius's Tapiola, perhaps ingratitude for the short moment that the young composer spent in Ainola withSibelius. The last movement is sombre and even threatening. "At the end ofthis movement and the symphony, the music subsides, with nostalgia andmelancholy, into a silence black as night...," the composer writes. Thepremiere of the Fourth Symphony was conducted by Jorma Panula in 1976and the critics received it warmly: "...[Englund's] composer profile hasgained an added dimension of profundity.." (Seppo Heikinheimo, in thebroadsheet Helsingin Sanomat) "...an ascension towardsnobility..." (Heikki Aaltoila, in Uusi Suomi).



Englund wrote seven symphonies, sixconcertos for solo instruments and a large number of other works (includingmusic for the film The White Reindeer and for the play The Wall ofChina, the ballets Sinuhe and Odysseus (Ulysses), andnumerous chamber music and solo instrument works), He died on 27th June, 1999.



To sum up, we may quote what Englund hassaid about music' "Music on paper is nothing! It does not exist! Notes arestrange hieroglyphics, notated musical thoughts that have been created in the humanbrain, Music does not exist until the moment the musician makes those mysticalsigns come alive and turn into sound, As soon as the sound stops, the music nolonger exists - it reverts to strange hieroglyphics, To silence!"



Quotations from Einar Englund: Sibeliuksenvarjossa, Otava 1997



Niklas Sivelov


Niklas Sivelov was born in Sweden in1968, starting his career as an organist, winning awards and prizes throughoutSweden. At the age of fourteen he turned his attention to the piano and studiedat the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm as a student of Esther Bodin-Karpeand Laszlo Simon. He continued his studies in Helsinki with Liisa Pohjola andin Budapest with Gabriel Amiras. Niklas Sivelov has won prizes in internationalcompetitions both in Geneva and Cincinnati, and in 1994 he was awarded theGolden Apple Award in Sweden. He has given recitals throughout Europe, in SouthAmerica, in the USA as well as in Japan. As a soloist he has collaborated withsuch conductors as Paavo Berglund, Okko Kamu, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leif Segerstamand Niklas Willen. Besides being a pianist he has also won a gradual reputationas a composer. Niklas Sivelov has previously recorded for Naxos the pianoconcerto of Franz Berwald with Okko Kamu (Naxos 8.553052), and solo piano musicby Wilhelm Stenhammar (Naxos 8.553730).



Turku Philharmonic Orchestra


The Turku Philharmonic Orchestra tracesits roots back to the Turku Music Society, which was founded in 1790. It becamea municipal institution in 1927, growing from 27 musicians to 73, making ittoday the fourth largest symphony orchestra in Finland. Regular conductors ofthe Turku Philharmonic orchestra have included Tauno Hannikainen, ToivoHaapanen, Ole Edgren, Jorma Panula, Paavo Rautio, Pertti Pekkanen, IgorBezrodnyi and Jacques Mercier. Ralf Gothoni was appointed the new PrincipalGuest Conductor in 1995. The orchestra has toured throughout Europe and everyyear it takes part in an opera production in collaboration with the Turku CityTheatre and the Turku Opera Society, in addition to taking part in the bigopera gala concerts held at the Turku Hall. The orchestra has made a number ofrecordings, including Selim Palmgren's opera Daniel Hjort. In November1995 the orchestra released its first recording for the Naxos label, FinnishOrchestral Favourites, making recording history in Finland by sellingalmost 40,000 copies in a year.



Jorma Panula


Jorma Panula began his career as atheatre conductor in Lahti, Tampere and Helsinki. He was the conductor of theTurku Philharmonic Orchestra from 1963 to 1965. Subsequently he conducted theHelsinki Philharmonic and the Arhus City Orchestra. Panula became the mostinfluential figure in Finnish orchestral
Facts
Item number 8553758
Barcode 730099475822
Release date 12/01/1999
Category 20th Century
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Sivelov, Niklas
Sivelov, Niklas
Composers Englund, Einar
Englund, Einar
Conductors Panula, Jorma
Panula, Jorma
Orchestras Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Disc: 1
Symphony No. 4
1 Allegro moderato
2 Andante molto sostenuto
3 Finale (Allegro deciso)
4 Moderato
5 Larghissimo
6 Allegro ma non troppo
7 Prelude
8 Tempus fugit
9 Nostalgia
10 Intermezzo - Epilogue
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