PEDER GRAM (1881-1956): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 1, Op. 12, Overture in C, Op. 21, Prologue to a Drama by Shakespeare, Op. 27, Poème Lyrique, Op. 9.
Catalogue Number: 02I001
Description: Yet another forgotten Danish composer is rescued by Dacapo. A long career as a teacher and as head of the Danish Radio helped consign his orchestral works to oblivion. At the time this symphony was written - 1913 - Gram was identified as a modernist because he has effectively thinned out the late Romantic textures of, to use a Danish example, Louis Glass. The sound is less lush, the orchestration reduced for clarity, the length shorter (31 minutes here). Unfortunately, to post-World War II ears, he looked far more as a continuation of Romanticism than he did at the time he composed these pieces. The symphony is forceful and energetic in its outer movements with a cantabile slow movement which is nevertheless interrupted by muted but impetuous violin runs. The concert overture (1921) is very similar in manner but the 1911 Poème harks back to Glass in its darkness-and-light dichotomy which echoes the response of many Danish works of the 1890s which were influenced by Symbolist poetry. On the other hand, the 1928 Prologue is the most purely dramatic and episodic work here, in accordance with its inspiration. South Jutland Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Aeschbacher