David's Review Corner
, January 2007
Peder Gram is one of many North European composers that the
recording industry is bringing back to life after their music fell many years
ago into that large black hole of obscurity. Born in Copenhagen in 1881 he was
already in his early twenties before he embarked on a serious musical education
at the Conservatory in Leipzig. His return to his native city brought him modest
posts in music, but he was 56 before he gained his first influential position
as head of music of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. That his output as
a composer was infrequent is shown by the fact that his Third Symphony - completed
one year before his death in 1956 - carries the low opus number 35. Posterity
is cruel to those who write in a style that has long passed, and though Gram
certainly knew how to put a coherent symphony together, as the First Symphony
of 1913 showed, Raff had composed in this style forty years previous. There
was also in Denmark at the time a young man called Carl Nielsen who was taking
music into new and exciting horizons. It was the hurdle Gram simply could not
overcome, but don't let that put you off, just go to track 5 - the finale of
the symphony - and enjoy music as bracing as a spring wind. It is that immaculately
orchestrated music you will like when you explore the remainder of the disc.
The South Jutland Symphony acquits itself well enough, a few passing moments
of queasy string and horn intonation taking nothing from our enjoyment. Play
at a high volume to lift the sound from the disc.
11:58:40 PM, 9 March 2014
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