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Stenhammar: Piano Music / Martin Sturfält

Album Summary

>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Sonata for Piano no 4 in G minor
>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Late Summer Nights, Op. 33
>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Fantasies (3) for piano, Op. 11
>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Sonata for Piano no 3 in A flat major, Op. 12
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Wilhelm Stenhammar was the most outstanding musical personality in Sweden of his time. As a pianist, he brought high-quality music-making to audiences throughout the country through several hundred solo recitals and chamber music concerts. As music director of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, he created Sweden's first truly professional ensemble. As a composer, he created some of the most important and carefully crafted music ever to come out of Sweden, ranging from symphonic works and operas to chamber music and lieder. This collection, featuring Martin Sturfalt, explores the riches of Stenhammar's music for piano. Of special note here is 'Nights of Late Summer', which was one of Stenhammar's last works. The pastoral title and miniaturist structure belie the enormous emotional range of the piece. It is a deeply romantic exploration of moods of introspective gloom and wandering desolation. This beautifully played disc is the perfect introduction to Sweden's "national composer".

'Sturfält plays all this music with powerful feeling and understanding, and great spontaneity - as at a live recital - and the recording is very real indeed. This is a disc well worth exploring' (Gramophone)

'Martin Sturfält's recording ... is the most significant tribute to Stenhammar's absolute understanding of the piano's voice. Subtle, agile and beautifully shaded' (Independent on Sunday)

'Sturfält is a most convincing ambassador for Stenhammar's music, the Beethovenian Molto vivace second movement to the A flat Sonata demonstrating a superlative command of the instrument and a capacity to extract all the Scandinavian vehemence from the music. Sturfält's booklet notes are commendably clear' (International Record Review)

'Martin Sturfält is clearly a brilliant pianist with plenty of power. These performances are very well recorded and immediately make a good impression' (American Record Guide, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Although Stenhammar's orchestral and concertante works are now quite well known, the music he wrote for the piano has, until recently, been unfamiliar. As a recitalist he seemed to value the music of others more than his own. He gave his splendid G minor Sonata (composed at 19) its premiere in May 1891 and then never played it again! Yet it is an ambitious, romantic work with an unforgettable main theme dominating its first movement, and in many ways it is an equivalent in its youthful ardour of the Brahms F minor work.

Stenhammar did, however, take the Three Fantasies, Op 11, of 1895 into his repertoire. They are Brahms-influenced, the first again boldly passionate, but the composer's own personality comes through, notably so in the ingenious Dolce scherzando and the closing Moltoespressivo. The five pieces which make up Nightsof Late Summer are certainly atmospheric but not overtly descriptive: their feeling is personal and introspective, although the exception is the closing charming Poco allegretto, which has almost a whiff of Grieg. But the late A major Sonata (composed in the same year) is a highly individual work balancing serious, even sombre, lyricism with drama and closing with a vibrant unpredictable finale. Martin Sturfält suggests it has an affinity with Beethoven.

He plays all this music with powerful feeling and understanding, and great spontaneity - as at a live recital - and the recording is very real indeed. Well worth exploring.



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Works Details

>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Sonata for Piano no 4 in G minor
  • Performer: Martin Sturfält (Piano)
  • Notes: St. George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol, England (04/15/2007-04/17/2007)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1890

>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Late Summer Nights, Op. 33
  • Performer: Martin Sturfält (Piano)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1914

>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Fantasies (3) for piano, Op. 11
  • Performer: Martin Sturfält (Piano)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1895

>Stenhammar, Wilhelm : Sonata for Piano no 3 in A flat major, Op. 12
  • Performer: Martin Sturfält (Piano)
  • Running Time: 23 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic