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 Post subject: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:45 am 
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It is nice to record something that sounds good, does not take too long to record, and does not require months to prepare. In fact I only got to know these charming little ones yesterday :oops: Maybe not great music, but nice and tuneful. And we don't have all too much Swedish music on the site. Also, Stenhammar is a composer that deserves more exposure (and wrote far more substantial things than these).

Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces - 1: Molto tranquillo, semplice (2:22)
Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces - 2: Allegro (1:31)
Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces - 3: Polska (en miniature) (1:35)

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I'm unfamiliar with Stenhammar, but in listening to these character pieces he definitely has a very refined idiom--much craftsmanship there. Once in awhile I hear a fleeting, vague reference to Chopin, but still this composer is very original. I believe you played all of these piece very well.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:04 am 
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I don't know the composer. This music is okay; I think I liked the third one best. Or maybe the second one.

For only one day of practice, these sound very good! I wish I could do that!!

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:34 am 
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Hi Chris,

I had a listen to your recordings, nice playing and I agree they are tuneful. IMO especially the 2nd and 3rd of the three. Dynamics were brought out well and tempo did not seemed rushed or too slow. I have never heard of Stenhammar but this makes a good impression :P I'm swedish but to my shame I don't really know what to think of when I think of swedish music. Now I can claim something :lol:

-Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:51 am 
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Thanks all. Funny that you like nos. 2 and 3 best. I rate no. 1 much higher. Could not get the damn thing out of my head all day yesterday.
The 'problem' with Swedish music is that there was never a great Swedish composer to put it firmly on the map, like the other Scandinavian countries had Sibelius, Grieg, and Nielsen. Much Swedish music is too insistently jolly, light, and lyrical. While there's nothing wrong with that, one longs for more depth and a bit of struggle. But there are some good composers if you can find them, like Stenhammar, Larsson, Alfven, and Atterberg (the latter maybe the most distinctive, a composer I'd want to explore but he wrote very little for piano besides his marvellous concerto).

I never knew you were Swedish Riley !

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:54 pm 
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What put Sweden on the map is not their music (or their meatballs), you're right. It's their people! Among the fairest of all. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:08 am 
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Berwald?

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:13 am 
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Yes maybe. I don't think he wrote much, but his symphonies are real good.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:14 am 
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4 highly individual symphonies and very rewading too. He has also some "tone poems" and a wind sextet. He had quite an adventurous life, if I recall, doing all sorts of stunts to make ends meet.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:26 am 
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I'm afraid I'm going to have to go with the crowd and also prefer nos. 2 and 3. The first one seemed a bit nondescript but then again perhaps it needs more listening. The growling bass in no. 2 made me chuckle. The third was pleasingly rustic and spirited in character; if I remember rightly a polska is a Scandinavian dance. By association I've now been diverted into listening to his first piano concerto. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:52 pm 
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Thanks for listening Andrew. I am curious where you heard growling basses in no.2 ? Not aware of them - but if I'd done it subconsciously, all the better :D

How strange I prefer no.1 and everybody else nos. 2 and 3. Must be my bad taste :D
I find no.1 quite affecting and knew after hearing the first few bars I had to play it. The others, though nice enough, didn't quite do that for me.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:12 am 
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I hear four bass growls in the middle section. At any rate growling is what they made me think of!


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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:10 am 
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Maybe it was Chris thinking he was about to let a finger slip! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:57 am 
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I just got around to listening to these. They are charming little pieces. Nice playing as usual.

Of course Monica likes No. 3 best, it is essentially a Mazurka!! We know that she has a thing for those. :roll:

While I like all 3, I think that I will go with Chris on this one, I really like the first one. I guess it shows that Dutch blood is thicker than Absolut. 8)

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:38 am 
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RSPIll wrote:
While I like all 3, I think that I will go with Chris on this one, I really like the first one.

Thanks Scott. Glad someone agrees, I think no.1 is really sweet.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:42 pm 
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having listened to them some time ago but having little of new to say, I refrained from commenting but yes, No 1 is the best. I confess to have switched off the brain while No 3 was in progress.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:47 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
having listened to them some time ago but having little of new to say, I refrained from commenting but yes, No 1 is the best. I confess to have switched off the brain while No 3 was in progress.

That's ok, I had that while playing :P

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:31 pm 
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I have had bad luck with the link on imslp, I couldn´t open the link to the score, so I can not judge too much about your playing of these pieces.
These are nice sounding character pieces in late romantic style, may be a bit comparable with the Songs Without Words by Mendelssohn. I like especially the second piece, it has a good and pregnant theme. The last song is a nice valse. Sounds all well played to me and there are some expressive moments.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Thanks !

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:39 am 
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Hello,

oh, when I saw Stenhammar, I wanted to listen. I have not ever heard Stenhammar and my teacher is talking about that all the time how much swedish it is. Thanks for the recording. Good job.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:24 am 
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Thanks Bohumir. I don't think Stenhammar usually sounds especially 'Swedish', whatever that is. Maybe he does here,
but I think his big works are more influenced by Brahms and other mainstream composers. Actually Swedish native music does
not seem to have the distinctive sound of Norwegian and Finnish music. But there are some find Swedish composers I'd
like to explore - Atterberg, Larsson, Wiklund, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:35 pm 
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OT about swedish music. Have heard Rosenberg - quite cool music, really! And Mankel. Also played two preludes by Mankel. But just the "nice" ones (mostly romantic and not so complicated. It's interresting how Mankel was writing. When I saw his sketches there's normal nice music. But then in the final versions he tried to do something special. Sometimes it's quite exciting.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:31 am 
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I have not heard about Rosenberg and Mankel. Will check them out, thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:17 am 
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Hi Chris,

1: Molto tranquillo, semplice (2:22)
Very bell like tone. Your performance captures a pensive and yet hopeful character. There is such a beautiful approach to the left hand intervals. The balance between melody and harmony is superbly mastered.

2: Allegro (1:31)
Very beautiful approach to dynamics. There is a delicacy and yet a crispness and controlled buoyancy to the playing. I sense a relaxed technique and wonderful judgement in terms of the dynaimc level. Everything is in perspective in terms of timing, tone, dynamic level, interplay between hands. Thank you for a very enjoyable performance.

3: Polska (en miniature) (1:35)
Perhpas a pinch less subdued. The timing is excellent and the piece moves beautifully.

Kaila

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:07 am 
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Thank you Kaila :) Given that I did not spend much time on these, they came out well. They're very undemanding of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:27 pm 
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Thanks for bringing up Stenhammar, this is charming! The most often played piano piece by him here is the B minor fantasy, eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keSoGQFHiqc (sorry if I break a rule by posting a link, if so I'll remove it). It is apparently not as hard as it sounds (I never tried it). I does sound a bit like Brahms.

I'm not so sure about Swedish music being overly cheerful. Some folk music is but it is really dance music and is supposed to cheer people up. There is quite a wide spectrum. Sure we don't have a "defining" composer (unless you count Grieg, since Sweden and Norway were one country at the time) but I'm not sure that is a bad thing.

Chris, make sure you include Peterson-Berger in your list to try. In particular his suite Frösöblomster (flowers from Frösö) is charming and not too difficult. The piece "Sommarsång" in it is performed constantly at student recitals (at least that used to be the case when I attended such). Any Swedish pianist will know it, it almost has the same status as Fur Elise. Me, I never played either of them but I was kind of rebellious in some respects.

A Swedish favourite of mine is the Chaconne (op 8) by Gunnar de Frumerie, quite impressive but not too hard. A link where you can listen to some samples of his work is:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/w/1685 ... No-2-Op-65

Joachim


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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:29 pm 
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The opus number should by 8. Somehow when followed by a parenthesis it became a smiley. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:12 pm 
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troglodyte wrote:
The opus number should by 8. Somehow when followed by a parenthesis it became a smiley. :)

Yes, isn't our bulletin board clever ! There's a whole list of combinations it automagically converts to smilies. If you want to disable that you can tick
'Disable BBcode' or 'Disable smilies' underneath your posting. Or set these in your profile.
I'll check out that Stenhammar phantasie, and see what I can find by Gunnar de Frumerie, whose name I have heard but never his music.
As for Peterson-Berger, our site founder Robert Stahlbard recorded his Frosomblomster some years ago, but I was not much take with the piece, finding it rather trite. I may want to try out Atterberg's Hostballade no.1, the only of his pieces I can find online. Atterberg was such a great composer, easily Sweden's best IMO. He should be right up there with Nielsen and Sibelius.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:10 am 
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I think he only recorded sommarsång. There is a whole suite left to explore!


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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:41 am 
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I've sampled other items of Peterson Berger's Frosoblomster such as I could find on Youtube. All very pretty and charming but IMO a bit bland and clumsy, and lacking in any distinctive personality. Despite Olaf Hojer's excellent advocacy, it does not make me want to explore this composer.

The Stenhammar Fantasie is a very good work, with a most beautiful theme (though it seems he milks it just a little too long). This might be worth the
effort, and indeed from listening to it I would think it is effective and impressive without being extremely difficult.

Gunner de Frumerie is a real find ! I love what I heard of his etudes on that site you mentioned. Must see what is available of his scores. Drat, and I have so much to do already :x :D

Thanks for these tips Joachim, it is nice to discuss some 'off the beaten track' repertoire here.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:43 am 
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Great playing Chris and it is true that none of the Swedish classical composers have a distinctive Swedish style or sound. Actually, you have to search for Swedish folk music to find the true spirit of Swedish music and the closest match out of these three Stenhammar pieces is, according to my view, the third.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:03 am 
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Thanks Robert. There must be 'real' Swedish folk music but I think composers never took it at face value like Norwegian composers did (Grieg with the Slatter, Tveitt with the Hardanger Tunes). But it's probably not fair to always compare Swedish to Norwegian music. The Swedes have a mind and culture of their own.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:00 pm 
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I'll be interested in hearing these as I have some Swedish in me. It's only in my last name, but it's there. :) I will listen to them when I have some time.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:21 am 
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hey, Chris!

I love Stenhammar!
I have even imported from Sweden two piano sonatas' score, which I could find nowhere else (and it was really difficult to import these, since the website was in Swedish, and I know beans about it. But the most difficult part was to DISCOVER this website. hehe).

However I must admit I was a little disappointed, because I thought these were the 3 Pieces Op. 11. :x

Nice playing!
It even made me feel slightly like recording pieces again. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:57 am 
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Yes there is and I think its fair to say that classical composers never paid it much attention. A pity as many of these old folk songs are truly beautiful! I had an idea to take that up many years ago and I made some compositions which are very inspired by Swedish folk songs but as often, I cannot take the time needed and then I'm not sure I am talented enough to pull it off.

Comparing with Norway, it differs a bit but to be honest, not that much. We live very close and have almost the same language (we understand each other pretty well), share many parts of history and people move and work between our countries without restrictions.

techneut wrote:
Thanks Robert. There must be 'real' Swedish folk music but I think composers never took it at face value like Norwegian composers did (Grieg with the Slatter, Tveitt with the Hardanger Tunes). But it's probably not fair to always compare Swedish to Norwegian music. The Swedes have a mind and culture of their own.

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 Post subject: Re: Stenhammar - Three Small Piano Pieces
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:11 pm 
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felipesarro wrote:
Nice playing!
It even made me feel slightly like recording pieces again. :D

Hey Felipe, thanks ! Yeah, why not start again ! A little set like this is great - print out, sit down, record :lol:
Nice for a change not to have to sweat on a piece for months.

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