PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN (1944-2008): Symphonies Nos. 7, Op. 124 and No. 8, No. 140, Summer Music, Op. 34.
Catalogue Number: 03L103
Reference: ABCD 288
Description: The magnificent Seventh symphony (2004) is a work of extraordinary power and originality, even by this composer's standards. Opening with a lengthy introduction, stately and flowing over a somber tread, the work then introduces a persistent motif - Shostakovich's 'DSCH' (in transposition). Episodes with an autobiographical character; Japanese dance rhythms, recalling the composer's study in Japan in the 1970s; lively, rustic Scandinavian folk dances, and melancholy salon music with a link to Nordgren's early musical studies. These disparate elements are set in a granitic matrix related to the opening material, with a sense of inexorable progression through episodes in an eventful life nearing its end. If the Seventh looks backward, the Eighth seems to try to pierce the mists of the future, looking forward into expectations of another world. As in the Seventh, strong tonality is freely combined with atonality; its first section has a profoundly minor-key feel; the last movement strives for a triumphant major feel, with persistent flashbacks to the first movement. Summer Music, a much earlier piece from 1970, is a celebration of the folk-influences that the composer felt liberated him from academic dodecaphony - chromatic, but light and airy of texture, with an open-air sense of dance and folksong. Turku Philharmonic Orchestra; Juha Kangas.