Search - Lars-Erik Larsson, Bo Linde, Gustaf Nordqvist :: Watercolors: Swedish Songs

Watercolors: Swedish Songs
Lars-Erik Larsson, Bo Linde, Gustaf Nordqvist
Watercolors: Swedish Songs
Genres: World Music, Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (33) - Disc #1

Anne Sofie Von Otter is a born singer of songs, and this collection of Swedish miniatures dating from about 1910 to the 1950s are easy to relate to both in their Romanticism and the direct, unaffected manner in which the f...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
Anne Sofie Von Otter is a born singer of songs, and this collection of Swedish miniatures dating from about 1910 to the 1950s are easy to relate to both in their Romanticism and the direct, unaffected manner in which the fine mezzo puts each across. In Ture Rangström's "En gammal dansrytm" (Old Dance), she uncharacteristically slides into the song in a sultry fashion; it makes you sit up and listen. She rarely brings any darkness into her tone. In keeping with the CD's title, we get soft, Northern light in both her tone and pianist Bengt Forsberg's--and by so avoiding any false sense of drama, each song's subject, particularly the ones about nature are, well, natural. But when something else is called for, as in Bo Linde's "Är jag intill döden trött" ("I Am Tired to Death"), von Otter knows how to emphasize the text amost conversationally. This lovely collection of pastels occasionally threatens to evaporate, but close attention reveal true delights. The mezzo is in fine voice, with no "opera diva" behavior to get in the way of the songs' charms. A specialized collection, perhaps, but one which reaps fine rewards. --Robert Levine
 

CD Reviews

A magical disc
G.D. | Norway | 04/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are several extremely fine selections of Swedish songs out there - von Otter has made one previous to this one, and there are two excellent ones from Phono Sueciae focusing on even more obscure composers than the ones represented here - but this is probably overall the best introduction to the magical world of Swedish songs dating from the first half of the 20th century. And there really are some marvelous gems in this collection of mostly lyrical, wistful, usually slightly impressionist Swedish songs, and von Otter is an outstanding advocate. The sound-world here varies from the late romantic to the neo-classical, but the various atmospheres are variations on the same abstract mood; a Northern-tinged, nostalgic, colorful and slightly distanced temper with scents of springflowers, rustles of the brook running in misty meadows, pond-ripples, gently rolling waves, longing and halflights, some with a national tinge and some with a basis in folk songs. Only rarely does any of the songs hint at the grandiose (Nordqvist's "Till havs" a fine exception), but they add up to a truly rewarding collection.

Not all of the songs are masterpieces, but some of them come pretty close; especially the Aulin, Nystroem and Linde ones. And von Otter truly bring them all to life, with colors, magic and vibrance. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a more hypnotical performance. But the success of this disc is not only due to von Otter's marvelous characterizations - Forsberg's piano playing is outstandingly sensitive to details and colors and produces some magically evocative sounds. Sound quality is of course excellent as well. All in all, I'd say this is an unmissable issue, utterly magical and delightful, even though the repertoire will be completely unfamiliar to most listeners. Very strongly recommended."