Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 7
Sound Quality: 9
For decades now I’ve been listening to independent labels like BIS, who often do wonderful work, complain about the problems of producing and selling classical music, and most of the time I can only sympathize. Then they release two CDs of the same, relatively obscure work within mere months, never mind the fact that another recording already sits in their existing catalog, and the sympathy evaporates.
Lindberg leads an adequate, safe performance of Stenhammar’s splendid Second Symphony, but compared to Järvi’s more robust rhythmic impetus, or the new Blomstedt’s effortless organic cohesion, this version comes up short. Part of the problem stems from characterless playing by the Antwerp Symphony, a good but hardly great ensemble that offers little beyond basic professionalism. The finale, in particular, runs into some especially heavy weather. Can BIS sell three recordings of this symphony? Could anyone?
The coupling, Stenhammar’s evocative score to Strindberg’s “A Dream Play,” is interesting: eleven minutes of atmospheric, quasi-movie music, and it’s nice to have, but let’s not kid ourselves. The symphony’s the main thing, and there are better versions available, including two on this very label. Senseless.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: Blomstedt (BIS)
- STENHAMMAR, WILHELM:Symphony No. 2; Incidental Music to "A Dream Play"