Grammy Award nominee
A CD-album with songs by Gösta Nystroem. Featuring: Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano and Anders Kilström, piano.
Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966)
Charlotte Hellekant mezzo-soprano,
Anders Kilström piano
Sånger vid havet 1943 *
1. Ute i skären /Ebba Lindqvist/ [3.23]
2. Nocturne /Edith Södergarn [3.22]
3. Havets visa /Hjalmar Gullberg/ [2.45]
4. Jar har ett hem vid havet /Ragnar Jändel/ [4.48]
5. Jag väntar månen /Hjalmar Gullberg/ [2.37]
6. Hjärtat /Bo Bergman/ 1916 * [1.55]
7. Ord mot det tomma /Bertil Malmberg/ 1916 * [6.29]
8-15 Åtta dikter /Pär Lagerkvist/ 1923-28/**** [17.51]
16. Bön /Anders Österling] 1927 * [2.59]
17. Kärlekens visa /Pär Lagerkvist/ 1942 * [1.11]
18. Att älska i vårens tid (Forårsnat) /Originaltext dk: Morgens Lorentzen. sv: Gösta Rybrant/ 1949 ** [4.42]
19. Gubben och gumman skulle mota vall /trad/& 1927 **** [1.08]
20. Det satt en katt vid Kattegatt /Anna-Maria Roos/ 1946 **** [1.37]
Själ och Landskap (Nya sånger vid havet) /Ebba Lindqvist/ 1950 *
21. Vitt land [3.21]
22. Önskan [2.40]
23. Bara hos den [3.03]
24. Andakt /Jeanna Otterdahl/ 1914 *** [1.26]
25. Nocturne /Anders Österling/ 1924 **** 4.42]
Charlotte Hellekant clearly holds Nystroem’s music in a special affection, this being her second recording in two years of Songs by the Sea, his best-known song cycle. First with orchestral accompaniment, and now with pianist Anders Kilström. One wishes Hellekant would sometimes relax her vocal pressure, toning down the “operatic” in this more intimate context, but the overall impression remains impressive. The duo present several unusual Nystroem numbers, from The Heart (Bergman) via the hit-parading Att älska i vårens tid to the adroitly theatrical Det satt en katt vid Kattegatt. Ord mot det tomma(Bertil Malmberg) is brilliantly rendered, as are the eight poignant poems from Ångest (Pär Lagerkvist). Hellekant and Kilström communicate from the inside of this music. The Lagerkvist cycle is the disc’s epicentre.
Anders Kilström’s piano playing is brilliant, neither more nor less, and is something more than just an accompaniment. I don’t know how it’s done, but he extracts so much substance from the stiffest of chordal progressions, raising the piano to the same expressive pitch as the singing. A record for Nystroem aficionados. And there are quite a few of us.
Hellekant sings with a wonderful range of vocal color and inflection, a focused and steady mezzo tone that has a genuine glow to it. Kilström is a true partner, not just an accompanist, wwhich is crucial because of the importance of the piano parts. The text determine the musical shape of each song; never are the words given short shrift for musical means. Fortunately Daphne provides full texts and translations. The sound quality is also of the highest order - ideally balanced and with a very natural aura around it.
These are wonderful songs - beautifully performed. I recommend this disc with genuine enthusiasm.
Henry Fogel Fanfare
It has been a real joy hearing these heartfelt songs performed by such a sensitive pair of musicians. Charlotte Hellekant has an ideal recitalist's voice. She has a strong lower register, which retains its character and is never forced and a floaty higher register, which is perfect for such songs as the final, elegant ‘Nocturne’. Andreas Kilstrom is a superbly accomplished pianist whose role is certainly equal to that of Hellekant’s. The recorded balance is very natural.
All texts are translated into English and German but it is fun to follow the songs in Swedish and to enjoy the alliteration and percussiveness of the language and the singer’s fine way with diction and vocal colour.
And Rob Barnett writes:-
This is, I believe, the first CD dedicated entirely to the songs of the Swedish composer, Gösta Nystroem. There is a largely complementary Intim-Musik CD which is predominantly Nystroem songs but mixes in two piano solos. On the Daphne disc there are twenty-five songs in four cycles (or sets) and eight 'singletons'.
Hellekant, dark-hued of voice, evinces operatic credentials in the power she brings to forte passages. In this sense she is rather like Gunvor Nilsson on Intim. Hellekant manages expressionistic Nordic twilit romance quite naturally and she has the edge on Nilsson in having a steadier tone. Hellekant is no stranger to Nystroem having recorded for Phono-Suecia the Sinfonia del Mare and the orchestral version of Sånger vid havet (the first set - does anyone know if the second set was orchestrated?).
The two sets of Sånger vid havet are mood-related and certainly thematically linked to the Sinfonia del Mare (to follow three years after the first set and six years before the new set) - lyrical, strong, rather lonely in character. In the words of fellow composer, Moses Pergament, this is Nystroem '... profoundly moving elegiac and funereal ... much in it that expresses intense sorrow over the tragedy of living.'
The First World War Bergmann and Malmberg settings predate the Sånger vid havet by twenty seven years and lean more towards Sibelius's song style. Very different are the expressionist depressive mood-pictures of Ur Ångest (1923-8) and Nocturne (1924). Moments in this music reminded me of Schoenberg's Hanging Garden songs. Andakt of 1914 (the earliest song here) looks towards Ur Ångest.
Att älska i vårens tid (1949) is one of Nystroem's forays into popular music (rather like the instrumental solo Valse Marine on the Intim disc), drawing on echt-Wien coffee fragrance. This is Swedish song with a bow and a smiling flourish towards the world of Lehár, Tauber and Kiepura. Gubben och gumman and Det satt en katt vid Kattegatt (1927 and 1946 respectively) are lighter songs highly perfumed and imaginative in the case of the Kattegatt. They would go well in company with Copland's Old American Songs.
Plaudits to Daphne for printing the words of the songs and doing so legibly both in the sung Swedish and in English and German translation side by side with the original. A minor cavil: why not put the track numbers against the title of each song where the texts are printed.
Devotees of Scandinavian song and of Nystroem will need this. Also if your taste runs to Britten or Finzi you will find much stimulation in these most tender musicianly interpretations the success of which is as much due to Kilström as Hellekant.
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