News Column

Norgard: Symphonies Nos 1 and 8 Vienna PO/Oramo DA CAPO 32/40

August 15, 2014

Andrew Clements

More than half a century separates Per Norgard's First Symphony from his Eighth, which was first performed in 2012, the year of his 80th birthday; the BBC Symphony gave it a UK premiere last year. While the two works are recognisably the product of the same tough, determined creative personality, they are stylistically quite different. The First, very clearly written under the gigantic shadow of Sibelius, is dark and earthbound, a rather introspective, glowering work - Norgard's subtitle for it was Sinfonia Austera - that is easier to admire than to love; but the Eighth is buoyant and extrovert, a haze of independent musical layers, constantly looking outwards. It's a telling juxtaposition of old and nearly new. The performances are superb; while it's unusual to find the Vienna Philharmonic performing contemporary music at all, it's even odder to hear it playing Scandinavian new music, but under Sakari Oramo it shows just what it can do.

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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