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CD Review

Franz Berwald

Symphonies, Volume 1

  • Symphony #3 "Symfonie Singuliere"
  • Elfenspiel: 'Play of the Elves'
  • Symphony #4 "Symfonie Naïve"
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard
Chandos CHAN9921 66m DDD
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Another coupling of the Berwald symphonies comes under my hands in less than a few months. This issue benefits from Chandos' splendid sound although I do have some reservations on Dausgaard's occasionally mannered interpretations. The playing of the DRSO is superb especially in the magical opening to the 'Singuliere', still they must yield to Markevitch's superb BO version on DG Originals which is still my perennial favourite here. Dausgaard's Finale is slightly too slow for my liking yet he manages to create a superb climax that concludes this favourite in virtuoso fashion.

The 'Sinfonie Naïve' is a flawed work, which includes a queer Allegro risoluto and a Finale that is utterly devoid of melodic interest. Dausgaard attempts to structure the work pleasantly enough but Bjorlin and Goodman (Hyperion) are more committed advocates.

The 'Elfenspiel' tone poem receives a splendid recording here, preferable to Bjorlin's limpid EMI account. As is expected, Chandos provide spectacular sound for the Danish setup and the notes are beautifully detailed.

You may not want to pay full price for these works, which are available in several excellent mid price versions but Dausgaard's recordings are certainly top-drawer in all departments.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech