The work of late-Romantic Norwegian composer Gerhard Schjelderup had not appeared in classical catalogs until CPO released this disc of his 1910 symphonic poem Brand, loosely based on a drama by Ibsen, and his 1924 Second Symphony, "To Norway," each movement of which depicts a different Norwegian scene. In these performances by Eivind Aadland and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Schjelderup demonstrates a more virile aesthetic than his Norwegian contemporary Johan Halvorsen. Brand is a big, burly work cast in a single half-hour movement featuring storm music, love music, battle music, and more storm music. "To Norway" is a program symphony in four movements illustrating The Sea, Spring, The Mountain Plateau, and The Highest Peaks in music that sounds strikingly similar to the storm music, battle music, and love music of Brand. Whatever it is meant to depict, Schjelderup's music sounds deeply derivative, with some passages strongly influenced by Strauss and others indebted to Wagner. For all Schjelderup's conspicuous energy, Halvorsen's more conservative but better defined artistic personality makes him the more appealing composer. Aadland and his Norwegian musicians are demonstrably doing all that can be done for Schjelderup, and anyone who absolutely has to hear every orchestral work produced in Scandinavia between 1850 and 1950 may not be overwhelmingly disappointed.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Brand, Symphonic drama|
Wanderung durch Nebel und Sturm nach dem höchsten Gipfel (Journey through fog and storm towards the highest peak)
|Symphony No. 2 "To Norway"|