Mario Venzago / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Hilding Rosenberg: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6

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Let the Hilding Rosenberg revival begin! Rosenberg, inarguably the greatest Swedish symphonist of the middle years of the 20th century, has been shamefully neglected in the digital era. Although he composed eight symphonies between 1917 and 1980 and all of them were recorded in the stereo era, most have yet to be recorded in the digital era, and those that have been recorded are represented by only one or two performances. It is wonderful to have these first-class digital recordings of the Third from 1939 and the Sixth from 1951, with Mario Venzago and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra released on BIS. The symphonies are deservedly Rosenberg's most popular. The Sixth, subtitled "Sinfonia semplice," and the Third, subtitled "The Four Ages of Man," are not simply supremely well-composed examples of musical modernism, they are deeply expressive, highly dramatic, wholly compelling, and entirely characteristic pieces by a great composer. Written in a predominantly tonal style, though with strong modal undercurrents and dashes of piercing dissonances, Rosenberg's Third and Sixth are distinctive symphonies that deserve to be heard by anyone who is fond of Scandinavian modernism, and these performances are the ones to hear. Venzago, who has turned in staggeringly beautiful recordings of Berg's orchestral music with the same orchestra, clearly knows and admires Rosenberg's symphonies, and the Gothenburg Symphony, surely the finest orchestra in Sweden, plays the music as if it has had it under its fingertips for years. Recorded in brilliantly clear and vividly immediate digital sound, this disc will hopefully be the start of a complete set of Rosenberg's symphonies and the beginning of the Rosenberg revival.

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