PETERSON-BERGER:  Symphony No. 4 in A Major "Holmia".  T–ronrossagen (Orchestral Suite - The Story of the Sleeping Beauty).  Fr–s–blomster (Suite No. 1 - The Flowers of Fr–s–).
Norrk–ping Symphony Orch/Michail Jurowski, cond.

CPO 999 669 (F) (DDD) TT:  65:55


What I wrote a while back of earlier works by Peterson-Berger, the Swedish composer born in 1867 who lived till 1942 (see the index), pertains to these "later" works, although two of the three are either an arrangement or an orchestration of much earlier music. T–rnrossagen (The Story of Sleeping Beauty) is a 10-movement suite in two parts, assembled in 1934 from the 1903 opera, Lyckan, on the same fairy-tale subject. Fr–s–blomster Suite No. 1 (The Flowers of Fr–s–) is another 1934 work, the orchestration of piano pieces written back in 1896. Symphony No. 4, whose subtitle "Holmia" is the Latin for Stockholm, was composed in 1929—a three-movement work about the city that P-B called home for 35 years, where he was the most feared of music critics from 1896 until his retirement to the island of Fr–s– in 1930.

None of this music stays in the ear longer than Leonard's real-time memories in the film Memento. All of it is Grieg-ish and homespun-charming, the stuff that FM-broadcasters dream of for lunch-hour programming—not, in other words, really to be listened to any more than pink spun-candy on a stick is meant to be a meal. But soothing in the background, especially when the news on TV is forever promising to be somber or gorily sensational.

Again as before, performances are meticulous as well as affectionate, and the recording (co-produced by the Swedish Brodcasting Corporation between May 31 and June 4, 1999) sounds immaculate.

R.D. (March 2001)