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Henry Fogel
Fanfare, November 2012

…two late-Romantic works combining elements of Brahms and Liszt, but in a way that is actually Stenhammar’s own…and enrich your collection in a major way. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, January 2012

This is a splendid recording of works that should be considered more than just a curiosity. Soloist Niklas Sivelöv is a gifted pianist with an impressive international resume and the Malmö Symphony under Swiss Mario Vanzago plays with energy and conviction. Kudos to Naxos for producing a fine series of recordings of Stenhammar’s music. Previously, I was only familiar with his Symphony No. 1. This recording makes a solid addition to a very valuable collection. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review, January 2012

Niklas Sivelöv plays both concertos with mastery and a fine sense of style, and the accompaniment by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Mario Venzago is sure-handed, idiomatic and convincing throughout. © 2012 Read complete review

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, December 2011

this is wonderfully attractive music of consummate skill that deserves to be far better known. Although there is recorded competition for this music…at the Naxos price advantage and deploying the idiomatic and ever excellent Malmö Symphony Orchestra this is a winner.

Sivelöv is absolutely superb here; all fleet gossamer passage-work and dextrous cross-rhythms. Conductor Mario Venzago is totally at home in this idiom and the Malmö orchestra sound very fine.

I would suggest this new release would be a fine place to start an investigation of Stenhammar’s music although the Symphony No.2…Certainly it remains both absurd and shameful that institutions like the Proms have yet fully to embrace the music of this most talented yet modest man.

For all lovers of romantic piano concertos this disc will bring great pleasure. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2011

Though composition had to take second place to a performing career as a pianist and conductor, Wilhelm Stenhammar left to the world two fine piano concertos. At the age of twenty-one he had given, as his concert debut, the first Swedish performance of the Brahms First Piano Concerto. It was probably his success on that evening that persuaded him to write his First Piano Concerto completed the following year in 1893. He was not regarded as a virtuoso, and his work omitted those big theatrical gestures of Brahms, though in all other respects it came from the same mould. His Second Concerto did not arrive for another fifteen years, by which time he was already established as a conductor who had taken charge of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. It was, however, together with his Second Symphony and the Serenade, to prove the peak of his compositional career. Whereas the First was a lengthy score, the Second was relatively short, its three movements linked to form one long span. It is a work full of joy, and though it was already in an outdated style for the early 20th century, it gives great pleasure in a style more related to Rachmaninov than Brahms. It was thought that the score and parts of the First Concerto were destroyed in a Second World War fire, until another copy was discovered in the 1990’s. I think I have heard all the recorded performances of both works, and would certainly place this one from Niklas Sivelov as my recommendation. He goes deep into both scores, with every dynamic and rhythmic nuance keenly observed. He also has the most persuasive partners in the Malmö Symphony and Mario Venzago, and if the recorded sound needed more air around it, it is cleanly defined and pleasing.

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