Both of these works date from the first decade of this century and both were inspired by the writings of August Strindberg. In the January/February 1990 edition of the American Record Guide, Carl Bauman reviewed a Musica Sveciae issue of Master Olof (conducted by Eri Klas), and he described the work as "well constructed absolute music that frequently rises to a high level of inspiration." I concur.
Aulin's enchanting suite is delicately scored and deftly played by the Örebro orchestra. I haven't heard Klas' disc, but Nilson's interpretation here is very fine. Rangström's Dithyramb is lushly orchestrated (in what was soon to become the Hollywood style) and highly dramatic, if not very deep – sort of an early 20th-century cousin of Liszt's Mazeppa, complete with galloping rhythms suggesting a wild ride on horseback. This time, Nilson's reading could use more fire and passion.
Notes are brief but informative; sound is warm and natural. Both works are well worth hearing, so look for this release, especially if you have any interest in Swedish orchestral music.
Copyright © 1996, Tom Godell