Hilding Rosenberg Piano Pieces played by Anna Christensson

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In the deadlock of a continuing national-romanticism, Hilding Rosenberg (1892 – 1985) emerged as the “father of Swedish modernity”, though rather more infamously than famously due to the low regard for atonal music in Sweden at the time. A 20th century Swedish composer studying music in Stockholm, Rosenberg travelled to Vienna, Berlin and Dresden in 1920 where he encountered the music of Arnold Schoenberg and the techniques of the Second Viennese School. The revelation turned his concept of how to compose music upside down and upon returning to Stockholm, he premiered his first string quartet which was largely met with critical indignation.

All of the music on this Capriccio CD was put to paper following Rosenberg’s momentous visit to central Europe. While the influence of his experiences there can be heard, Rosenberg’s musical language in these pieces, one that is suggestive of Ravel, Hindemith and Bartok, is an amalgam of many different influences. Contrapuntal techniques inherited from his studies of the baroque, formal structures from the classical period and harmonic and melodic elements of romanticism and impressionism combine in Rosenberg’s unique and enjoyable art.

Capriccio has provided excellent sound for this program, performed beautifully by Swedish pianist Anna Christensson, a graduate of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Adventurous listeners who enjoy exploring some of the farther reaches of the repertoire will find very much to enjoy here from this composer whose status clearly lags his apparent gifts.

For a taste of Rosenberg’s music, below is a sample of the composer’s second violin sonata.