JOHN FERNSTRÖM (1897-1961): Symphonies No. 11 "Utan mask", Op. 77 (Lund Academic Choir, Lund State Orchestra; John Fernström. rec. April 11, 1960) and No. 12, Op. 92 (Nordic Youth Orchestra in Lund; Fernström. rec. July 18, 1954).
Catalogue Number: 07P008
Label: db Productions
Reference: 7 393787 97035 6
Description: This limited edition historical issue of the composer conducting his final to symphonies is especially valuable. As Europe moved into post-war musical modernism, Fernström's unabashedly tonal neo-romantic idiom, drawing on influences as diverse as Dvorák, Franck, Bruckner, Prokofiev, Sibelius, French Impressionism and heaven knows what else besides, must have seemed hopelessly old-fashioned. Now it sounds appealingly and endearingly eccentric, emotionally open and direct, full of warmth and expressive vigor. The Eleventh, with its choral finale, runs the gamut of romantic expression in a wide-ranging first movement, slow movement and burlesque scherzo, ending with a wide-eyed, open-air last movement, comparatively straightforward in texture, with something of a folk-influenced feel to it. The Twelfth follows a similar pattern, this time in three movements, with perhaps a greater sense of conventional symphonic development in the substantial first movement. The fleet-footed scherzo is immensely attractive, and the finale, bracketed by an imposing, brooding Sibelian introduction and epilogue, gathers momentum in an energetic fugato exploring a rather Tchaikovskyan theme before abruptly subsiding into its somber conclusion with an air of bittersweet resignation. Mono.