The divertimento was originally an eighteenth century instrumental form derived in part from the Baroque concerto grosso and dance suite, but also having many points in common with the Classical symphony. Owing to the modernist tendency to reject Romantic models and to turn to earlier music for ideas, the divertimento reappeared in the twentieth century and became a versatile vehicle for lyrical or spirited music, often of a dance-like character but also offering the flair of the concerto and the development of the symphony. Thus, composers such as Benjamin Britten and Béla Bartók adopted the divertimento to suit their needs, for a playful display of neo-Baroque dances in the former's Simple Symphony, and a vigorous neo-Classical treatment of folk-like melodies and rhythms in the latter's Divertimento for strings. Grazyna Bacewicz found inspiration in the concerto grosso for the structure of her virtuosic Concerto for string orchestra, which is an excellent match for Bartók's Divertimento because it shares many of its moods and colors, as well as its strong eastern European flavor. Terje Bjørklund's Carmina, originally composed for string quartet but arranged here for string orchestra, is not a divertimento in the accepted sense but a single movement with alternating sections of slow and moderately fast music, yet it has a light, lyrical character that provides a nice contrast to the boisterous rhythms of the rest of the program. The Trondheim Soloists give full bow in these exciting performances, and the playing is steady and clear throughout, giving the music great consistency and focus. The reproduction is startling in its clarity and presence, and listeners have the choice of hearing these exceptional performances in either hybrid SACD or Blu-ray disc formats. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Simple Symphony, for string orchestra, Op. 4|
|Concerto for strings|
|Divertimento for string orchestra, Sz. 113, BB 118|