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Frösöblomster I.1-4

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by troglodyte, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist

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    Summer has come to Sweden!

    Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867-1942) was born too late. His idioms are close to Grieg, sometimes embarrassingly so, with a knack for cute melodies. He was an outspoken conservative racist and anti-Semitic, and derided contemporary composers and modernist trends. As an influential critic in a major Swedish newspaper he alienated the more enlightened cultural elite. The large-scale works (among them five symphonies and a violin concerto) were moderately successful, but some of his incidental music has survived well. Best known by far is Frösöblomster (Flowers of Frösö), a collection of piano pieces depicting life in the Island of Frösö in the north of Sweden, his much beloved summer home (in a map of Sweden you find Frösö in almost the exact geographical center, in the lake Storsjön near Östersund). Frösöblomster contains three books, written 1896, 1900 and 1914, with in all 21 pieces.

    I here present the first four of book 1 (op 16). In Rentrée the jubilant feeling of returning to his summer paradise is very clear. The more peaceful Sommarsång (Summer song) is one of the best known Swedish piano pieces ever, almost a national anthem, played to death at school recitals. Perhaps this says more of the competition than of the piece itself, you decide. The charming Lawn Tennis depicts a relaxed and friendly game where the ball bounces back and forth, and only occasionally erupts in a heated argument. Then we go daydreaming at the flowerbed in Till Rosorna (For the Roses), a kind of unashamedly sentimental slow ballet.

    The pieces are great fun to play and not overly difficult. Numbers one and three are pieces of cake if you can do relaxed LH arpeggios repeatedly (otherwise they are great etudes for that purpose). Summer song is actually surprisingly difficult to play well, requiring a light touch and bringing out the melody over the chords. Till Rosorna needs constant attention to structure and pacing, or the piece will fall apart or become boring.

    Sheet music:
    http://imslp.org/wiki/Fr%C3%B6s%C3%B6bl ... Wilhelm%29

    Joachim

    Peterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.1 - Rentrée
    Peterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.2 - Sommarsång (Summer song)
    Peterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.3 - Lawn Tennis
    Peterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.4 - Till Rosorna (For the Roses)
     
  2. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Joachim,
    Very good job - great arpeggios as always - and a very enjoyable set except that I found #4 boring despite your admirable efforts.
    BTW: I never heard of this composer. Another introduction via the society's web site.

    Also BTW: The tag "Album Title", whose value should be "http://pianosociety.com", does not show up in my version of Audacity. The Title tag format should be (I believe) - Composer - Title of Piece, opus or catalog number. For instance,
    "Peterson-Berger - Till Rosorna, Op 16 No 4".

    Just a head's up on that, since the administrators might be mentioning it.
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Joachim,
    These are nice! I listened to all of them and your playing is very good. I've already processed and uploaded the files, but I won't be able to put them up on the main site for a couple days or so. Do you think you will record more? I'm just wondering if I need to make a new composer page....
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Joachim,

    I listened to all four pieces by Peterson-Berger. These are all very charming and descriptive character pieces. It was a pleasure to hear you play them. I had never heard of this composer, so I thank you for introducing him to Piano Society.

    David
     
  5. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks all for the kind words!

    About the tags: I really made an effort to get them right, though I forgot about "album title" - should I redo this?

    I intend to complete book I, ie four more pieces, reasonably soon.

    Joachim
     
  6. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Joachim, I had a listen to all of this set, and I must say you did a wonderful job. I feel a special bond to this set, being a Peterson :) Robert played Sommersang and so I've heard that, but these other pieces I haven't heard. I can also hear the similarity to Greig, of course, Greig was more influenced by Norwegian folk song, and Peterson-Berger the Swedish folk song. That said, those countries aren't too far apart... :wink:
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's right....we already had a page made for this set, so that made me very happy! :D
    Ok, Joachim, these are on the site now.
     
  8. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Joachim,

    I enjoyed listening to these refeshing, airy pieces, which seemed overall very well and expressively played. I especially liked many of your phrase endings (including the ends of pieces 2 and 4). This music reminds me also of Grieg, though perhaps more sentimental and much less forward-looking. Nevertheless, it's nice to hear a composer I'm not acquainted with who writes such appealing tunes.

    Not knowing the music at all, I can't listen as much for specifics. The only general thing that bothered me a little (mostly in piece 3) was that the underlying rhythmic pulse occasionally seemed a bit uneven and could be a little tighter. It probably struck me more in piece 3 because of the syncopated-sounding rhythm. A minor niggle, though, especially given these nicely nuanced performances.

    Thanks for presenting this beautiful music!

    Joe
     

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