Knut Håkanson (1887-1929) was somewhat of an outsider in Swedish music, a seeker off the beaten track, at a time of transition, from late Romanticism and Neo-Classicism. Born in Kinna, a little to the south of Borås, he came of a well-to-do family descended from the founders of Sweden’s textile industry. Johan Algot Håkanson, his father, died when Knut was little more than a year old, bequeathing him a fortune but also a kidney disorder which shortened his life. His artistic bent was probably inherited from his mother, Agda Håkanson, who came of the Stagnelius family, which had produced a famous poet, Erik Johan Stagnelius.


Gabriel Suovanen, baritone

Gabriel Suovanen was born in Stockholm and began playing the violin when he was 4. At an early age he began singing treble in the Adolf Fredrik Boys’ Choir and became treble soloist in the Royal Swedish Opera. He studied at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, and the University College of Opera, Stockholm, and in 1997 was appointed "Artist in Residence” by Swedish Radio P2.
He makes regular appearances on operatic stages in Sweden and Finland and has several times taken part in the Savonlinna Opera Festival, as well as giving guest performances at Komische Oper, Berlin, Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Gran Teatre de Liceu, Barcelona, Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp and elsewhere. Roles included in his repertoire and created with outstanding success include Eugene Onegin, Wozzek, Papageno in The Magic Flute and Günther in Götterdämmerung.
Lied singing is something he has very much at heart, and he is greatly in demand as a concert soloist. He has made several CD recordings and has garnered an impressive number of distinctions, among them first prize in the 1999 Timo Mustakallio Competition. A year later he became the first recipient of the newly endowed Karita Mattila Award.


Solveig Wikman, piano

Solveig Wikman grew up in Borås and re-ceived her basic piano education from Elisif Lundén and Carl Tillius in Gothenburg. After graduating from high school she pursued further studies under Gottfrid Boon, later taking part in international courses, e.g. conducted by Wilhelm Kempff in Positano, Italy. She has also studied lieder interpretation, has read musicology and holds a diploma in piano teaching.
She is active as soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. Together with her husband Bertil Wikman, she has also made a reputation for herself as a piano duettist, with several recordings and radio and television broadcasts to her credit. She has given concerts all over Sweden and abroad.
Both as pianist and as writer, Solveig Wikman takes a special interest in women in the history of music. The theatrical concert CLARA! – i första hand maka och mor (CLARA! – first and foremost wife and mother) is a dramatised portrait of Clara Schumann in which Solveig Wikman takes on the triple role of pianist, actress and script writer. In 2005 she produced a series of radio programmes, Året i Italien (The Year in Italy) to mark the bicentenary of the birth of Fanny Mendelssohn.

Piano music

Knut Håkanson was a man of many parts – not only a composer, but a pianist, viola player, conductor, writer and educator into the bargain. His piano output shows a distinct progress from a Nordic Romantic style with occasional elements of Expressionism to an increasingly Neo-Classical and polyphonic idiom.
Midsommarkransen (Midsummer garland), dated Rydboholm, 29th June 1921, with its idyllic evocation of early summer in Sweden, exemplifies the composer’s lyrical and romantic side.
Från Skogstemplet (From the Sylvan Temple), written between 1921 and 1924, is a collection of short piano pieces which are portrayals of nature and short musical narratives. Some of them allude to verses by Swedish poets. Five of them were orchestrated as a suite entitled Från Hembygden, performed in several Swedish towns and cities with Knut Håkanson himself conducting.
With his Tolv små tvåstämmiga Svenska Inventioner (Twelve Small Swedish Two-Part Inventions) from 1925, Håkanson has conclusively entered on the path which he was to follow more or less consistently ever thereafter, namely creating a polyphony in the spirit of Bach but based on Swedish folk music. He made an intense study of Bach and found a natural affinity between old, traditional Swedish fiddle music and the music of the Baroque. This collection includes gånglåt marches and polska dances from different parts of Sweden and can be termed a counterpart to Bach’s Two-Part Inventions. Sweden’s music now had “a Bach in Swedish broadcloth,” as William Seymer put it.
Tio Variationer och Fuga över en svensk folkvisa (Ten Variations and Fugue on a Swedish Folksong), completed in July 1929, is Knut Håkanson’s most important piano composition. He was now at the height of his creative powers, with folk music as his natural medium. The simple theme is varied both contrapuntally and homophonically with witty elegance and spicy intensity. In June 1929 he wrote, in a letter to William Seymer: “At present my hair is turning grey from a piano fugue (concluding a set of variations) which I have recklessly undertaken – and now it will not let go of me. I am like the Mountain King, shut up in the mountain, seeing neither sun nor moon and despairing of ever coming out on the other side, to the greenery and the violets. But it must be done.”

Songs

The Lied as a genre achieved its apogee in Sweden in about 1900 and during the early decades of the 20th century. Poets like Erik Axel Karlfeldt and Gustaf Fröding began using a bolder, more expressive language, inspiring composers to import a more personal tone to songs as well, and in this way enabling them to leave their own imprint on the content and interpretation of the poem.
Poetry and fiction were a lifelong interest of Knut Håkanson’s, and he considered the Lied an important part of his output. He produced something like a hundred songs, many of which were admired and frequently performed in their day. The Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad had several of them in her repertoire and performed them both in Sweden and abroad.
Five Songs, op. 1, composed during the first decade of the new century, is Håkanson’s first published work and contains settings of words by various poets. Here the composer is still rooted in the Romantic tradition, with its emphasis on full-bodied, variable harmony. He is alive to shifts of mood and meaning in the chosen texts, putting them, as it seems, quite effortlessly into a manifold musical garb.
De väntande (Those who wait), the final song in the collection, is one of Håkanson’s many settings of poems by Karlfeldt, a poet who accompanied him from early years to the end of his days: Kornknarr, sänghalm (Corncrake, straw bedding), for baritone and chorus, composed very shortly before his death, was Håkanson’s valediction.
Another poet who fascinated Knut Håkanson was Ola Hansson – “the poet who has most intensely and spiritually taught me to comprehend the nature of poetry and dream.” His poems often employ a bold, emancipated language, sometimes using a kind of rhythmic prose or blank verse instead of conventional verse forms. De bägge viljorna (The two wills) are portrayed with a fresh, tart humour – a trait also occurring in Håkanson’s later output.
Du livets eviga röda flamma (Thou eternal red flame of life) is about the miracle of creation, which, in Håkanson’s setting, fluctuates between a tranquil, hymn-like idiom and something more dramatic. In Dragspelet vinade (The accordion whined), voice and piano merge in a waltz-like structure.
Fall, fall ymniga snö (Fall, fall, copious snow) was written in December 1921 and included in the collection Danska bilder (Danish pictures), dedicated to the composer’s wife Omon.
The two songs op. 22 to words by Ernst Norlind take love as their theme – a restrained, melancholy love, urging reflection on times past. Någon har kysst min panna (Someone kissed my brow) is one of the most frequently performed of Håkanson’s songs – a jewel of poetical empathy and an exquisite marriage of voice and accompaniment.
Karlfeldt’s prominent position in Håkanson’s output is partly due to the humorous vein which they had in common and which can also be tart, nostalgic and ironic. In Slottstappning (Château bottled) he interprets the poem about the threatening demise of the nobility with pathos and a firm command of rhythm. It is, in Håkanson’s own words, “a song for you, me and other friends, companions old who understand the autumnal ecstasy of feasting and the bliss of withering, all us scions of the Burgundian line.”


STRANDHUGG I VÄSTSVENSKT MUSIKLIV (AIVCD005) only in Swedish


MANOUG PARIKIAN IN SWEDEN (AIVCD004)

Manoug Parikian and musicians from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded Mozart's Divertimento No 15 for the Swedish Radio (SR) in January 1971.
On January 1974, the same ensemble gave a concert from which this recording of Beethoven's Sextet in E-flat major, Op. 81 b is taken. The concert was produced by the Swedish Radio and took place in the hall of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music at Nybrokajen in Stockholm.

"These rare recordings date from the early 1970's and have Parikian playing with some top sewdish soloists of the time in repertoire by Mozart and Beethoven. The cultured nature of his playing is readily apparent in the Mozart Divertimento which sings along quite merrily and with panache, ably supported by Johnsen and Andersson who were also brilliant players themselves."
"The Beethoven Sextet is a lovely work, all too rarely heard these days and it comes across quite magically in this performance which truly belies its age"
Classical Net 2009, Gerald Fenech.

"The strong concertante first violin part is taken by Parikian with considerable dash - he was always a fine Mozartian in whatever context" "Good blend and a good balance are paramount - as is a fine colouration in the strings."
"The two horns are on rich and fine form and blend attractively - their ebullient hunting theme in the finale is very well brought off - whilst the strings phrase with sprightly assurance."
"we must thank Altfiol and encourage them to release more things from the vaults to sit alongside this pleasurable souvenir."
Jonathan Woolf in MusicWeb International, 9 May 2009

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) composed his Divertimento No. 15 in B-flat major (KV 287) in either 1776 or 77. Frequently calling it a 'cassation' in his letters, the work is dedicated to the Countess Antonia Lodron in Salzburg.
In a letter to his father Leopold dated October 6, 1777, Mozart describes a performance in Munich where he played first violin: "You cannot imagine how surprised everyone was! I played as if I were the greatest violinist in all of Europe." It is at once obvious that he was a skilful player since this divertimento places what for that time were virtuoso demands on the first violinist.

Manoug Parikian and Tore Johnsen violin
Bengt Andersson viola Jan Neander violoncello
Gunnar Wennberg and Bengt Sundberg horn

Ludvig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed the Sextet Op 81 b for string quartet and two horns in either 1794 or 95. The key is E-flat major and the relatively late opus number was chosen by the publisher when it was printed in 1810.
Not much is known about how the piece came to be written. The solo treatment requires much playing skill from the two horn voices and lends the impression of a concerto, rather than a sextet. And like a concerto, the sextet also has three movements.

Gunnar Wennberg and Bengt Sundberg horn
Manoug Parikian and Tore Johnsen violin
Bengt Andersson viola Jan Neander violoncello

SOUVENIRS FROM CONCERTS IN 1974 (AIVCD003)

On 12 January 1974 Manoug Parikian and some musicians from The Swedish Radio's Symphony Orchestra did a concert from which the recordings of Mozart's Divertimento in D major KV 334 and Terzetto by Dvorák originate. The concert was organised by the Swedish Radio and took place in the Great Hall of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music, at Nybrokajen Stockholm.
The Johnsen Trio's recording of String Trio by Bengt Hallberg was made at a concert at the Grünewald Hall in The Stockholm Concert Hall on 7 December 1974.

"He taught his nephew, the violinist Levon Chilingirian, so fans of the Chilingirian Quartet can trace a pedagogical lineage in which recordings like these play an important part."
"Manoug Parikian's solo violin in the Divertimento is the star of the show, with a sweet tone, needle-sharp intonation, a tight vibrato which doesn't draw attention to itself, and the concerto-like command which is a requirement of this music. We can be grateful to 'Altfiol' that students, historians and lovers of fine chamber music can now add these live recordings to their archives - though the dust is unlikely to be allowed to settle on them for long."
Dominy Clements in MusicWeb International

"a rarely heard string trio with its first performance by the distinguished Johnsen Trio the aforementioned year; and two pieces where the star violinist Manoug Parikian meets Swedish elite in Dvorák's Terzetto and Mozart's last, advanced Divertimento."
"Parikian is with exquisite technique and tone outstanding; and one can feel how he was able to inspire his Swedish colleagues and students - light and playful in Dvorák and with large music-making in Mozart. The Johnsen Trio gives a new and exiting view of Hallberg."
Rolf Haglund in Borås Tidning

"A string trio by Bengt Hallberg? The jazz pianist? But, of course! Don't forget that he studied composition for Professor Lars-Erik Larsson and that he wrote quite a number of pieces of "serious" music. The 20 minute long String Trio was composed in 1974 and is here reproduced in a recording from the first performance by the Johnsen Trio. Some jazz has found itself into the music."
"Many brilliant musicians participate, mostly Swedish, but also the legendary Armenian Manoug Parikian (1920-1987). The recordings were made live and there is some noise from the audience as well as applauses - but the music is just wonderful."
Stig Jacobsson in HiFi & Musik

Bengt Hallberg was born in Göteborg in 1932 and is one of Sweden's foremost jazz musicians. At the same time as he was playing jazz music, he studied classic piano in his native city with, among others, Sixten Eckerberg. In 1954, he moved to Stockholm where he studied at The Royal College of Music. He had the composer Lars-Erik Larsson as teacher in composition, as well as the composer and violist Åke Uddén in counterpoint.
Bengt Hallberg received a lot of attention as a jazz musician and played with the most famous artists in Sweden and abroad. He cooperated with, among others, Alice Babs and the vocal group Swe-Danes, with whom he toured in the US. He became the first Swedish jazz musician to be elected to The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In 1977, he was awarded the Litteris et Artibus medal by the Swedish King.
During 1956-57, Bengt Hallberg composed a string quartet that attracted a lot of attention at the Nordic Music Festival performance in 1958. Two members of The Johnsen Trio participated as well; the violinist Tore Johnsen and the cellist Jan Neander.
String Trio was composed by Bengt Hallberg in 1974 on the behalf of Rikskonserter (Concerts Sweden), and he dedicated it to the Johnsen Trio who made the first performance the same year. He writes himself about the piece: "The String Trio (1974) consists of four movements. The first, Moderato, is completely based on 6 bars in a melodious phrase in 2/4 time, where one motif is expanded in intervals while at the same time "reduced" in rhythmic (4/5 - 4/4 - 3/4). The second movement, Lento, is rather romantic with a light touch of folk tone. Scherzando, the third movement, contains some blues and pop elements, both rhythmically and melodiously, as an example, the cello solo in the middle of the movement. The last movement, Allegro con fuoco is, as the tempo marking indicates, energetic to its character. Hopefully, it should express the musicians' zest, as it can be manifested in both traditional and contemporary appearances".

Johnsen Trio:
Tore Johnsen
violin Bengt Andersson viola Jan Neander violoncello

Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904) was strongly influenced by Beethoven and Schubert in his composing. He was also highly supported by his friends Johannes Brahms and Bedrich Smetana. In the same way as Smetana, he was using the Czech-Slav tones and rhythms. This ambition corresponded to his inner personality, but it was also a part of the Czech liberation from the Austrian oppression.
Terzetto Op 74, from January 1887, is strongly influenced by Czech-Slav melodious and rhythmic elements. The piece is composed for two violins and viola. Dvorák intended to play the trio together with his violinist friends, as he played the viola himself. All three parts have individually strong roles and it was told at the time that the technical demands on the violin were too big for one of his friends so Dvorák quickly made a simpler trio for the same instruments, Bagatellen Op 75 a. The Terzetto Op 74 has four movements, Introduzione, that directly moves into Larghetto, Scherzo and the concluding Tema con variazioni.
Manoug Parikian and Tore Johnsen violin, Bengt Andersson viola

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), lost his mother in the summer of 1778, and in January 1779 the relationship with his love Aloysia Weber broke up. He felt tied up at his position with the Arch Bishop, and he did not feel comfortable at all in Salzburg. He wanted to break up to achieve a higher artistic freedom, but he did not get any understanding from his dominant father. Still, Mozart was very productive during 1779 with many wonderful pieces. Late summer that year, the beautiful Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, KV 364 for violin, viola and orchestra, serves as an example.
Divertimento No 17 in D major, KV 334, was written a couple of months earlier and was probably planned to be used at a festivity at the von Robinig Family in Salzburg. This is the last divertimento that Mozart composed. The character of the piece is much more than entertaining even if the minuets for example have parts with ländler character. The first violin part is often purely concertante and demanded very large skills at the time.
The Divertimento No 17 has four movements Allegro, Andante, Menuetto, Adagio, Menuetto, Rondo,

Manoug Parikian and Tore Johnsen violin
Bengt Andersson viola Jan Neander violoncello
Thorsten Sjögren double bass
Gunnar Wennberg and Bengt Sundberg horn

Manoug Parikian (1920-1987) was Armenian. He studied the violin in London and he was mainly active there. He was the first principal in The Philharmonia Orchestra in 1948-1957. This is the time when Herbert von Karajan was the principal conductor of the orchestra. It was an important time for the development of the orchestra, and it had many famous members, among them Dennis Brain. During the Karajan - Parikian period, the orchestra became famous, mainly for its beautiful strings.
Parikian was highly appreciated as violin soloist as well as teacher around the world, and he started to work as a music pedagogue at The Royal Academy of Music in London. He taught his nephew, the violinist Levon Chilingirian, today famous as quartet primarie; as well as inspired his son, Levon Parikian, a well-known conductor. Many Swedish violinists studied with Parikian in London and he visited Sweden several times as a soloist, conductor as well as a teacher. Parikian had a lot of compositions dedicated to him by contemporary English composers. He recorded and released some of the pieces on record. He also made a highly appreciated recording of The Four Seasons by Vivaldi with Carlo Maria Giulini as conductor.

The Johnsen Trio was active between 1968 and 1976. It consisted of Tore Johnsen, violin; Bengt Andersson, viola; and Jan Neander, violoncello. The trio performed, apart from the classical repertoire, also Swedish pieces, such as string trios by Åke Uddén, Hans Holewa and Arne Mellnäs. Manoug Parikian became a large source of inspiration for the Johnsen Trio, which studied with him both in the United Kingdom and in Sweden. Moreover, they also performed in ensembles with Parikian.
Tore Johnsen, born in 1937, started early to play the violin. He studied with Erling Carlsson at the Ingesund School of Music in Arvika, as well as with Charles Barkel at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He also studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, with Remy Principe in Rome, with Manoug Parikian in Oxford as well as with Endre Wolf in Stockholm.
He was primarie in the Johnsen Quartet, a string quartet that won First Prize in The Robert Schumann Contest in Berlin in 1960. In connection with this, the ensemble also recorded the Schumann String quartet in A minor. Johnsen was also primarie in the Stockholm Quartet in the years 1976-1982. Tore Johnsen was employed as the co-principal in The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm during the years 1960-2002. He is active as a soloist and as a teacher today.
Bengt Andersson, born in 1935, also studied the violin with Erling Carlsson at the Ingesund School of Music in Arvika. He continued with violin/viola studies with Endre Wolf at Edsberg's Castle, Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Moreover, he has also studied the viola with Renzo Sabatini in Rome and with Giovanni Leone at the Naples Music Conservatory.
In the beginning of the 1960s, he was co-principal at The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. After that, he played in The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. During 1976-1981, he was back at The Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, now as the principal. During 1986-1999 he was working with The Gothenburg Opera Orchestra. Bengt Andersson has been a member of the Stenhammar Quartet and The Gothenburg Chamber Soloists. He is currently working as a soloist and as a teacher.
Jan Neander (1935-1988) studied the violoncello with Gustav Gröndal at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm as well as with Enrico Mainardi in Rome. When working for The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, he was employed as principal at the The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Jan Neander was active as a soloist with many appearances at concerts and radio recordings. He was also working extensively as a teacher.
As Tore Johnsen, he participated at the first appearance of Bengt Hallberg's String Quartet in 1958 (see above). Jan Neander had a large experience as a jazz musician and there was no coincidence that Hallberg added several jazz solos in the string trio's cello part.

Thorsten Sjögren (1920-1991) studied the double bass with Knut Gullbrandsson at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm. From 1947, he was active as the principal in The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Sjögren performed with many ensembles and he was also working as a soloist. He made the first performance of Lars-Erik Larsson's Concertino for double bass and string orchestra. He was also teaching.
Gunnar Wennberg, born in 1928 started his career at the age of 14 as a military musician. After studies with Axel Malm at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he played the first horn in the Gävle Symphony Orchestra. In 1960, he joined The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra where he from 1964 also played the first horn.
Wennberg is often used as a soloist, as well as participating in many ensembles, among them Nationalmusei Kammarorkester and Stockholms Ensemblen. He is active as a teacher and is a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
Bengt Sundberg, born in 1929, started as a trumpeter at the F11 air base of The Swedish Air Force located in Nyköping, and he later played with Sam Samson's dance orchestra. He studied at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm with Axel Malm and Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto at The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He also played the piano with Stig Ribbing and he took a piano-tuner exam.
Sundberg played the first horn in the Gävle Orkesterförening and from 1960 he played the horn in The Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He is participating in many ensembles among them Nationalmusei Kammarorkester and FEM BLÅSARE.

Recordings by Swedish Radio.
String Trio by Bengt Hallberg. Producer: Stig Rybrant. Recording Engineer: Olle Bolander.
Mozart's Divertimento in D major KV 334 and Terzetto by Dvorák. Producer: Stig Rybrant. Recording Engineer: Bernt Berndtsson

Mastering 2006: SFZ Records - www.sfzrecords.com

Cover and Johnsen Trio
Photo: Per B Adolphson
Manoug Parikian
Photo:Tore Johnsen

Souvenirs from Concerts in 1974 can be ordered online or via e-mail from:
ingela.barbro.larsson@opera.se
www.bengans.se
klassiska@bengans.se
www.nordicsound.jp
info@nordicsound.jp
www.nosag.se
mail@nosag.se
bengt@altfiol.com


Project - Viola in Western Sweden
Elfrida Andrée
Gösta Nystroem

Beautiful music composed in Western Sweden

Altfiol i Väst (Viola in Western Sweden) is a project which tries to trace contacts and possible influences between violists and composers in Western Sweden. The project also intends to make known valuable music for strings from this part of the country.
It has established that the composer Josef Czapek, who played a leading role in the Göteborg music life during the second half of the 19th century, also was a leading violist.
Another interesting fact is that violists from Western Sweden often performed compositions by local composers. As examples, Heinz Freudenthal set up the first performance of a viola concert by Torsten Ahlberg, composed in 1934 which has since then unfortunately disappeared; Tage Broström was a brilliant interpreter of Gösta Nystroems concert Hommage à la France; and Henry Stenström was dedicated a number of viola compositions.

The CD/DVD Souvenirer från Västsverige (Souvenirs from Western Sweden) and the CD Souvenirer från Göteborg (Souvenirs from Gothenburg) are a soundig result of the project.
Altfiol i Väst has also published two sheet music; Josef Czapek (around 1850) for solo viola accompanied by low strings or piano; and Elfrida Andrées Andante quasi recitativo (1877) for string orchestra. These pieces are to be found on the CDs and are, like many of the other pieces, earlier unpublished.



Souvenirs from Western Sweden (AIVCD002-AIVDVD002)


"the record's best element: Erok's brilliant and intense performance of Gösta Nystroem's string quartet. Thanks to this, it stands out as one of Nystroem's principal pieces of all categories. Good booklet and a DVD with glimpses from the rehearsals and some of the pieces "visualised" enriches this just recently published CD." - P-G Bergfors, in GP 18 May 2006

Hifi & Musik
"Here is now Elfrida Andrée's Andante and Knut Håkanson's excellent first string quartet"
"a brilliant record musically." - SJ, Hifi & Musik, No 9, 7 September 2006

"A well initiated and well-written commentary tells about the recorded pieces by Elfrida Andrée; Knut Håkanson (whose presumably unfinished two movements for string quartet proves to be a genuine masterpiece); Birger Anrep-Nordin (very pleasant wedding music for viola and organ); Lille Bror Söderlundh (two very likeable string miniatures); and Gösta Nystroem (whose delightful string quartet previously was available on vinyl).
The pieces were written between 1877 and 1956. The record is in all respects a valuable and badly needed contribution to our knowledge about music from western Sweden." - Stig Jacobsson, BTJ-häftet, No 15, 2006

Souvenirs from Western Sweden
"More atmospheric music from Sweden on the Altfiol i Väst label, these works have all recently been recorded in pleasant church acoustics, and are sensitively and expressively performed by some of Sweden’s top string players."
Dominy Clements in MusicWeb International, 7 April 2007

All the works for the first time on CD and DVD.

Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929) was in 1867 appointed as organist to the Göteborg Cathedral, and she kept this position until her death. She was the first female organist in Sweden and as such, she met a lot of mistrust from the Western Swedish clergymen. After the death of the liberal dean Peter Wieselgren, it became very hard for her to carry on with her musical duties in the cathedral, and she was often forced to move her concerts to Christinae church instead. In a letter dated 1916, she writes "I wonder if any other organist has been under such a schartaun* (!) rule as I have!
The compositions of E A have received a lot of attention during the last decades.
Andante quasi recitativo för stråkorkester (Andante quasi recitativo for string orchestra) is firstly mentioned in 1877 when the piece was performed at a concert.
Strings from the Göteborg Opera
Leader: David Bergström
violin

Knut Håkanson (1887-1929) was born in Kinna, south of Borås. He was related to Sven Erikson, the founder of the Swedish textile industry, and his father was also active in this field. His father died young and mother and son moved to Stockholm. This is where K H studied piano, composition and counterpoint; all combined with language studies and philosophy at the University in Uppsala. He was a dedicated string quartet player where he performed the viola part.
K H moved back to his birthplace in 1916 when he settled in Rydboholm. He became the conductor for the Borås Orchestral Association and he also took part in the founding of the Borås Music Institute. During the last years of his life, he lived in Göteborg where he quickly established himself as a leading music journalist. K H died at the age of 42 in the same kidney disease that also took his father's life.
Stråkkvartett nr 1 (String quartet No 1) in A minor belongs to a period in time when only K H's vocal music is known.
EROK string quartet

Birger Anrep-Nordin (1888-1946) was born in Skara. After a short career in Kalmar, he established himself in Göteborg in 1924 as music teacher, organist and critic until his death. He was also a musicologist and wrote a doctor's thesis on Josef Martin Kraus.
Bröllopsmusik i en landskyrka om sommaren (Wedding music in a summer country church) is signed Pataholm, July 1940. The movements can partly be characterised as program music with names as Bröllopsparet tågar in (The Bridal procession) - Dialog inför altaret (Dialogue at the altar) - Lyckönskan (Best wishes) and Brudföljets uttåg (The Bridal train). This piece is typical for the composer with its mixture of folklore and influences of 17th and 18th century music.

Bengt Ersson viola
Ulrike Heider organ

Lille Bror Söderlundh (1912-1957) was born in Kristinehamn and spent his youth in Charlottenberg. He was early in touch with the Folk Music-School at Ingesund, Arvika (today The Ingesund School of Music, University of Karlstad) and was during this time, among other things, studying the violin and the viola.
Despite his early death, L B S enjoyed national celebrity for singing his own and others' songs accompanied by the lute. His more serious pieces were never recognised.
Lille Bror Söderlundh was mostly active in Stockholm and the Dalarna (Dalecarlia) district. He is still included on this CD with music from Western Sweden because of the publisher's interest for viola music; as well as a good example on how folkloric influences can successfully develop in artistic music. Both pieces underline Lille Bror Söderlundh's statement in a newspaper interview, that folk music was present in everything he composed.
Nattvisa till Lindelin (Lullaby for Lindelin) for strings was composed in 1946 and was intended to be part of a longer suite.
Siciliana seria för viola samt stråkar (Siciliana seria for viola and strings), also from 1946 firstly appeared in an elementary version for organ.

Bengt Andersson viola
Strings from the Göteborg Opera
Leader: David Bergström
violin

Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966) was born in Dalarna (Dalecarlia). After studies at The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he took up studies in composition and painting in Copenhagen and later in 1919, in Paris. G N returned from France in 1932 and later settled in Särö and during a later period also in Marstrand, close to Göteborg.
He was active as a music journalist for many years in the local newspaper Göteborgs Handels & Sjöfartstidning and as the curator of the Göteborg Arts Association.
Stråkkvartett (String quartet) (1956) has three strongly expressive movements.

EROK string quartet

EROK string quartet was formed during autumn 2002 and has the following members:
David Bergström, since mid-2001, the Concert Master of the Göteborg Opera Orchestra. Raised in a musical family, he started to play the violin at the age of five. Beginning in 1993, David studied for Per Enoksson and Professor Milan Vitek at the School of Music and Music Education at the University of Göteborg.
Mattias Johansson, since 2002 co-principal on violin at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra. From 1993, he studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm for Professor Leo Berlin. During 1998-2000, Mattias studied at the Indiana University, School of Music, in the US. He took his Performer's Diploma in violin for Professor Franco Gulli.
Bengt Ersson, since 1996 solo violist at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra. He took a violin pedagogic degree for Torsten Fåhraeus at the Ingesund School of Music, University of Karlstad. At the same time, Professor Tor Mann gave him inspiring lessons in orchestral and chamber music. Bengt became after graduation, principal on viola at the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra and he continued his violin and viola studies in Copenhagen for Professor Mogens Heymann.
Lars-Erik Persson, principal at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra since 2002. At the age of eight, he began to play the violoncello for his father and in 1993 he started his music studies at the School of Music and Music Education at the University of Göteborg. His teachers were Lars-Inge Bjärlestam and Mats Rondin.

Ulrike Heider was born in Erlangen, Germany and studied organ for Bert Matter and Hans van Nieuwkoop. She studied church music, choir mastering, conducting and singing early music in music colleges in Arnhem, Zwolle and Tilburg in the Netherlands. She took her Diploma in organ in 1989; and the following year she won the second prize in the International Organ Competition in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Bengt Andersson studied violin and viola at the Folk Music-School at Ingesund (today The Ingesund School of Music, University of Karlstad); as well as for Endre Wolf at Edsberg's Manor (at the time managed by Swedish Radio). He has also studied the viola in Rome and took his Diploma in viola at the Music Conservatory in Naples, Italy.
Urban Svensson is co-leader of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Örebro.
Viveka Rydén Mårtensson is violinist at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra and member of the Klara Quartet.
Johanna Fridolfsson is viola co-principal at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra and member of the Klara Quartet.
David Bukovinsky is violoncello principal at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra.
Mats Larsson is co-principal on contrabass at the Göteborg Opera Orchestra.

You can listen to extracts from the CD and the DVD on Musikillustrationer and look at extracts from the DVD on DVD-illustrationer

The CD & DVD can be ordered by e-mail from:
www.bengans.se
klassiska@bengans.se
www.nordicsound.jp
info@nordicsound.jp
www.nosag.se
mail@nosag.se
ingela.barbro.larsson@opera.se
bengt@altfiol.com


Souvenirs from Gothenburg (AIVCD001)
Beautiful music composed in Gothenburg 1850-1943 performed by musicians from Gothenburg

Klicka för att se större variant. CD SOUVENIRER FRÅN GÖTEBORG  består av kammarmusik för stråkinstrument samt piano komponerad i Göteborg från 1850 till 1943. Klicka för att se större variant. CD SOUVENIRER FRÅN GÖTEBORG  består av kammarmusik för stråkinstrument samt piano komponerad i Göteborg från 1850 till 1943.

"This CD is the first of a series of 'souvenirs' from Swedish label Altfiol i Väst, which cover a considerable amount of musical territory previously unknown to the record catalogue. For this reason alone they are deserving of interest, but with high quality performances and recordings I have found the experience to be a pleasantly entertaining one."
Dominy Clements in MusicWeb International, 7 April 2007

"Elfrida Andrée reworked her String Quartet in d-minor for string ensemble and renamed it Sommarminnen från Bjurslätt (Summer memories from Bjurslätt). The music profited from this! Last on this exiting record, Hilding Hallnäs' Violasonat (Sonata for viola and piano), which contains a lot of Hindemith as well as impressions of Swedish folk music." P-G Bergfors in Göteborgs-Posten 13 November 2004

"The Czechs Josef Czapek and Bedrich Smetana are real treasures, a dark shimmering Andante for three violas, two cellos and a contrabass of the former; and four Bohemian piano polkas of the latter." Rolf Haglund, Borås Tidning, 21 January 2004.

"His piano piece Erinnerungen an Böhmen in Polkaform, (Memories from Bohemia in polka form) is therefore a perfect choice, also well performed by Ingemar Edgren. Lesser known is perhaps that Smetana was not the only Bohemian in Göteborg. Even Josef Czapek was active there, and his Andante religioso (1850) is a masterpiece of beauty when Bengt Andersson is performing the solo viola. Elfrida Andrée's twenty-five minute long Sommarminnen från Bjurslätt (Summer memories from Bjurslätt) (1903) was a pleasant surprise, delightfully performed by string musicians from the Göteborg Opera." Stig Jacobsson, Bibliotekstjänst No 4, 2004.

Four works, three of them for the first time complete on CD

Most of the performing musicians are members of the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra, among them the latter's principal violinist David Bergström. Their recordings were made in Lundby New Church on the Island of Hisingen, Gothenburg. So was also the recording of Smetana-polkas played by the pianist Ingemar Edgren. The Hallnäs-sonata is perfor-med by Bengt Andersson, viola, and Agneta Ågren, piano, and was recorded by The Swedish Radio in the big hall of Gothenburg's Concert House.

Josef Czapek's (1825-1915) "Andante Religioso" is for viola solo and five low string instruments, written about 1850. Born in Bohemia Czapek moved to Gothenburg at the age of 22. Among his many engagements in this town was that of "Kapellmeister" 1859-69 at the new built Great Theatre. He has even been called "the creator of the music town Gothenburg". A curiosity is that, during a ceremony 1842 in Salzburg for W A Mozart, Josef Czapek played in an orchestra conducted by Mozarts son, Wolfgang Amadeus.

Bedrich Smetana's (1824-84) "Erinnerungen an Böhmen in Polkaform" were written 1859-60. Smetana lived 1856-61 in Gothenburg where he gave concerts as conductor and pianist, gave lessons and wrote critique.

Elfrida Andrée's (1841-1929) "Summer Memories from Bjurslätt" for strings (1903) is her rearrangement with added contrabass of a String Quartet from 1887. Andrée was cathedral organist in Gothenburg from 1867 to the end of her life. In summer-time she used to stay at the country house of the liberal politician and polemic newspaper man Sven Adolf Hedlund at Bjurslätt on the Island of Hisingen.

Hilding Hallnäs's (1903-84) "Sonata for viola and piano" op 19 was written in 1943 and has a nordic sound. Hallnäs was working in Gothenburg from 1933 until the middle of the 1970-ies. He had a great influence on the musical life of the city, for instance as organist in the Johanneberg parish, as a teacher at the Music College and as head of the Gothenburg Composers´ Association.

The three former composers were very influential in Gothenburg during the second half of the 19th century which was an economcally and culturally expansive period for the town. Many industrualists and business men supported an awakening cultural life. They financed concerts and members of their families toke music lessons and participated in choirs and orchestras.
The painting reproduced on the front page of the CD leaflet is from 1852 and shows the mouth of Gothenburg's harbour. In the foreground you can see a shipbuilding yard on the Island of Hisingen. "Souvenirs from Gothenburg" is edited with the support of the municipal board of culture in Gothenburg.

You can listen to extracts from the CD on Musikillustrationer
The record can be ordered online or via e-mail from:

www.bengans.se
klassiska@bengans.se
www.nordicsound.jp
info@nordicsound.jp
www.nosag.se
mail@nosag.se
ingela.barbro.larsson@opera.se
bengt@altfiol.com


Sheet music

Sommarminnen från Bjurslätt (Summer memories from Bjurslätt).

Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929) was cathedral organist in Gothenburg from 1867 to the end of her life. In the summer time she used to stay with the family Hedlund at their country house of the Bjurslätt on the island Hisingen.
Sven Adolf Hedlund was a famous liberal politician and polemic newspaper man.

"Elfrida Andrée's twenty-five minute long Sommarminnen från Bjurslätt (Summer memories from Bjurslätt) (1903) was a pleasant surprise, delightfully performed by string musicians from the Göteborg Opera."
Stig Jacobsson, Bibliotekstjänst No 4, 2004.

"Elfrida Andrée reworked her String Quartet in d-minor for string ensemble and renamed it Sommarminnen från Bjurslätt (Summer memories from Bjurslätt). The music profited from this! "
P-G Bergfors in Göteborgs-Posten 13 November 2004

Elfrida Andrée's Andante quasi recitativo for string orchestra is firstly mentioned in 1877 when the piece was performed at a concert. This piece is understood to be one of E A's favourites and she used it at many of her appearances. This version is founded on an autograph at The Musical Library of Sweden, which probably relates to when the music was reused in Svensk mässa nr 2 (Swedish Mass No 2), in 1903. At that time, the notation was Stilla betraktelse (Calm observation), but the heading Mellanspel (Interlude) has been added to the sheet music. She also used the music in her Orgelsymfoni (Organ Symphony) in B minor which had its first performance in 1890, and it was then headed Cantabile. With the title Andante Cantabile, the movement was also used for piano in Fyra stycken för piano (Four pieces for piano) from 1881. In a printed version of the same piano music from 1890, it was noted as Romance. Andante cantabile is also the heading on an undated version for violoncello and organ.

  Music Novelty
From the nineteenth century

Joseph Czapek was born in Prague in 1825. He settled in the Swedish town of Gothenburg in 1847 and managed to play an important role in the musical life of this town during a long half-a-century until his death in 1915. He collaborated with among others his more famous compatriot Bedrich Smetana during the latter's stay in Gothenburg in the eighteenfifties and he supported younger Swedish composers like Elfrida Andrée.

Czapek's Andante religioso, presented in this print, is a piece of romantic chamber music composed about 1850. It is a welcome contribution to the viola répertoire. It has a sombre and sonorous instrumentation with solely low strings (solo viola accompanied by two violas, two violoncellos and double bass). The solo part can also be accompanied by piano or organ according to the composer's score.
The composition is appropriate to professional as well as amateurish musicians and it supplies a want of répertoire for the deeper string instruments in music education.
The music print comprises piano part and six separate string parts. In addition Czapek's autograph score is reproduced i facsimile. A transcription of the solo part adapted for an alternative solo instrument like violin or flute is also available.


You can listen to extracts from the sheet music on the records Souvenirs from Gothenburg and Souvenirs from Western Sweden on Musikillustrationer.

The sheet music can be ordered online or by e-mail via Beställningar / Orders.


CD LEGEND
Ingemar Edgren
piano - Bengt Andersson viola

Music by Marco Ciannella and Argenzio Jorio from Naples, and Swedish music by Fredrik Sixten, Hilding Hallnäs, Olof Gullberg, Torsten Sörenson and Ture Rangström. On the CD are also two Violin Sonata movements by Mozart arranged for viola.
Bengt Andersson was born in Borås in 1935. He studied at Ingesund near Arvika and with Endre Wolf at Edsberg's Castle, Stockholm. After studies with Renzo Sabatini and Giovanni Leone in Italy Andersson received his diploma at Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella, Naples.
After working in the major symphony orchestras in Sweden, 1976-81 as first viola in the Gothenburg Symphonics, Andersson played in the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra 1986-99. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at concerts, broadcasts and recordings.
Ingemar Edgren, born in Dalsland 1944, studied with Ingemar Bergfelt in Gothenburg and Greta Erikson in Stockholm. After his diploma he attended Mozarteum in Salzburg. Since many years he is teaching piano at Hvitfeldska High School of Music.
Edgren has performed for radio and recordings, as a soloist with orchestras and at piano recitals. As a member of the Garcia Trio he has done many tours in Sweden and abroad. He has played duo with Bengt Andersson since several years.

The record can be ordered online or by e-mail via Beställningar / Orders.


ALTFIOL i VÄST Vindragaregatan 10 B, S-417 03 GOTHENBURG, Sweden
Tel.: 0046 (0)31 65 44 30
bengt@altfiol.com
http://www.altfiol.com/