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
JoachimPeterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.1 - RentréePeterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.2 - Sommarsång (Summer song)Peterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.3 - Lawn TennisPeterson-Berger - Frösöblomster Op.16 no.4 - Till Rosorna (For the Roses)