Bengt Wilhelm Hallberg & Joseph Dente: Orchestral Works
Here is a disc I wanted to hear because it presented music that had been chosen by Bo Hyttner’s Sterling label. After all, Sterling have done so much for Europe’s romantic music. Indeed, the present disc is in Sterling’s Swedish Romantics stable. These two largely nineteenth-century Swedish composers are “early” and quite unknown - at least to me. We hear them in performances and tapes that sound enjoyably respectable if not of elite standards and which I take to be from Swedish Radio. Sterling are to be trusted in these things...
Hallberg’s brand of brassy, triumphant heroism tickles the ear agreeably... The first of these is a Symphony again by Hallberg and this dates from the second decade after his overture. It’s still recognisably in the same Beethovenian style as the overture. There are Jovian heights to be scaled in the opening Allegro but it ends in passive understatement before a stately and aspiring Menuetto scherzando that also ends amid a confidence that is quiet and feels unnerving. The Adagio (III), which is unexpectedly the shortest movement, swirls with modesty and grace. These qualities also distinguish the final bars of the previous two movements. The finale is a Scherzando e molto vivace which nicely counterpoints the lively pages of Beethoven symphonies 7 and 8 and Mendelssohn’s symphony 3. It’s not the most original of artefacts but within an expected style it does not waste your time.