Author Topic: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede  (Read 11040 times)

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kyjo

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Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« on: September 06, 2013, 02:47:33 PM »
There appears to be no thread already on this composer, so here goes.....


Nystroem studied with d'Indy and Sabaneyev. Though regarded as a modernist in his home country, his music is actually quite conservative compared to the innovations of the Second Viennese School and others. He was also a painter, which explains the coloristic qualities of his music. His compositional style aligns with neither the neo-romantic school of Atterberg et al. nor the harder-edged styles of Blomdahl, Rosenberg or Pettersson. There are impressionistic influences in many of his works, but neoclassicism also rears its head from time to time, giving his music both color and clarity. Close points of comparison to his style include Martinu, Bax, Debussy, Ravel, Hindemith and Bartok. I would characterize his style as being a potent mixture of Nordic atmospherics and French color and refinement. Nystroem’s strongest works IMO are Sinfonia del mare (Symphony no. 3), Sinfonia espressiva (Symphony no. 2), Songs by the Sea and the tone poem Arctic Ocean (Ishavet). As you can see, a lot of Nystroem’s music has connections with the sea, and he paints it masterfully with darkly shimmering colors in these works. Sinfonia espressiva is a darkly powerful work with an opening Lento which approaches Shostakovich in its emotional intensity. There are Bartokian resonances in works such as Sinfonia Seria (Symphony no. 5) and the two Concertos for Strings, but Nystroem’s language is distinctively Nordic as ever.

Nystroem's music has been relatively well-served on record, but some major outstanding works from the his discography include the Concerto Ricercante for piano, strings, percussion, harp and celeste and the Symphonic Poem The Tower of Babel. Apparently, his VC has been recorded by Tibor Varga, but I am not sure where to locate the CD.

Anyone with even a passing interest in 20th century orchestral music should investigate Nystroem’s music. If you’re new to his music, start with these recordings:

   

   



Then, move on to these:

   

   

   

   



Any others Nystroem fans out there? :)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 02:50:32 PM by kyjo »

Offline lescamil

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 03:21:40 PM »
I heard a broadcast recording of the Concerto Ricercante once and it is a work I greatly look forward to seeing on disk. Admittedly, I haven't heard a ton of Nystroem's other music besides the symphonies, but those haven't connected with me as instantly. I plan to give some of them a spin again. First impressions were that it was great music in the moment, but I didn't remember them a whole lot after hearing them. The Concerto Ricercante is a work I really would like to hear again and often, though.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 04:55:06 PM »
Thanks for this thread, Kyle. I need to familiarize myself with Nystroem's music. I own all of the BIS recordings of his music and haven't heard a note of it (yet). :-\ Where should I start?
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 05:09:13 PM »
Thanks for this thread, Kyle. I need to familiarize myself with Nystroem's music. I own all of the BIS recordings of his music and haven't heard a note of it (yet). :-\ Where should I start?

Knowing your tastes, John, I think you'd really like Nystroem's music. Start with this disc, which contains a magnificent reading of the magical Sinfonia del mare:



If you only have the BIS recording of the Sinfonia del mare, by all means, listen to that, but try to get ahold of this one if you can!

Then, give this one a spin, which showcases Nystroem's darker side:



Next, try this one, which includes two fine concertos and what is the highlight of the disc, the darkly atmospheric tone poem Ishavet:



Finally, give this one a listen:



 :)


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 05:20:26 PM »
Thanks, Kyle. He's a composer I've been meaning to sit down and listen to but I always get distracted by some other composer. Right now, for example, I'm getting back into Latin American after a little hiatus.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 05:27:44 PM »
Thanks, Kyle. He's a composer I've been meaning to sit down and listen to but I always get distracted by some other composer. Right now, for example, I'm getting back into Latin American after a little hiatus.

Hopefully you can sneak Nystroem in there somehow (just don't expect any fiery Latin American rhythms in his music)! :D I look forward to hearing your thoughts on his music once you get a chance to absorb it. :)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2013, 05:36:18 PM »
Hopefully you can sneak Nystroem in there somehow (just don't expect any fiery Latin American rhythms in his music)! :D I look forward to hearing your thoughts on his music once you get a chance to absorb it. :)

No, but I do expect some of that Scandinavian angst and that icy chill you get from these composers that cuts right through you like a knife. :)
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2013, 05:43:52 PM »
No, but I do expect some of that Scandinavian angst and that icy chill you get from these composers that cuts right through you like a knife. :)

You won't be disappointed with what Nystroem brings to the table, then! :)

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2013, 05:56:17 PM »
You won't be disappointed with what Nystroem brings to the table, then! :)

Excellent! :D
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 12:38:13 PM »
Always looking for recommendations for new composers, and the Scandinavians in the C20 are pretty good.

However, can a composer who has this many quality recordings be described as "forgotten"?

 :)

kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 12:42:53 PM »
Always looking for recommendations for new composers, and the Scandinavians in the C20 are pretty good.

However, can a composer who has this many quality recordings be described as "forgotten"?

 :)

Well, maybe "forgotten" is a bit extreme to describe Nystroem's situation, but there's only a very small fraction of classical music enthusiasts familiar with his music.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 06:47:26 PM »
I listened to Sinfonia Seria and Sinfonia Expressiva earlier tonight and I have to say I wasn't too impressed. I got nothing from the music. There wasn't even one memorable motif in either symphony that stuck out to me. I also didn't really see where Nystroem was going with any of this music. I didn't hear one melody, harmony, or rhythm that made me think "I have to hear that again." I'll file Nystroem in the 'to explore later' cabinet.
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kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 01:40:21 AM »
I listened to Sinfonia Seria and Sinfonia Expressiva earlier tonight and I have to say I wasn't too impressed. I got nothing from the music. There wasn't even one memorable motif in either symphony that stuck out to me. I also didn't really see where Nystroem was going with any of this music. I didn't hear one melody, harmony, or rhythm that made me think "I have to hear that again." I'll file Nystroem in the 'to explore later' cabinet.

Oh dear, John, you're starting to worry me more every day! :( Please try Sinfonia del mare or Ishavet before you give up on Nystroem!

cilgwyn

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 02:19:40 AM »
Always looking for recommendations for new composers, and the Scandinavians in the C20 are pretty good.

However, can a composer who has this many quality recordings be described as "forgotten"?

 :)
Indeed! I know my local pub is chock full of Nystroem admirers! ;)
Gone but not forgotten,as they say! ;D

Offline North Star

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2013, 03:36:07 AM »
Oh dear, John, you're starting to worry me more every day! :( Please try Sinfonia del mare or Ishavet before you give up on Nystroem!
This must feel like seeing that your identical twin's earlobes are different from yours :D
It wouldn't be the first time John hasn't 'gotten' music, but later grows to like it.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 04:37:38 AM by North Star »
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cilgwyn

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2013, 05:27:51 AM »
This must feel like seeing that your identical twin's earlobes are different from yours :D
It wouldn't be the first time John hasn't 'gotten' music, but later grows to like it.
So,he'll be leaving allot of enthusiastic posts in the Roy Harris thread,I gather?!! ??? ;D

kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2013, 10:09:36 AM »
This must feel like seeing that your identical twin's earlobes are different from yours :D
It wouldn't be the first time John hasn't 'gotten' music, but later grows to like it.

Indeed. Believe it or not, he apparently didn't like Shostakovich that much when he first heard his music, but now he's his very favorite composer! Let's hope the same will happen with Nystroem! :) I'm just worried that I'll wake up tomorrow morning and John will be posting about how much he loves Stockhausen and how Shosty does nothing for him! :P

kyjo

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2013, 10:11:21 AM »
So,he'll be leaving allot of enthusiastic posts in the Roy Harris thread,I gather?!! ??? ;D

I wouldn't put it past him! :P

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2013, 05:17:09 PM »
Oh dear, John, you're starting to worry me more every day! :( Please try Sinfonia del mare or Ishavet before you give up on Nystroem!

I'm not going to give up on Nystroem, but I'm not going to be revisiting his music anytime soon. As for not liking Shostakovich initially, that's not necessarily true. I did like some works of his: Jazz Suites 1 & 2, Piano Concertos 1 & 2, and some of his film music. It was his more serious symphonic music that was giving me trouble, but my breakthrough was hearing Rattle's CBSO performance of Symphony No. 10 and then Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem followed that and I just was floored by this music. I've been hooked ever since.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

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Re: Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966), an unjustly forgotten Swede
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2013, 05:41:20 PM »
Indeed. Believe it or not, he apparently didn't like Shostakovich that much when he first heard his music, but now he's his very favorite composer! Let's hope the same will happen with Nystroem! :) I'm just worried that I'll wake up tomorrow morning and John will be posting about how much he loves Stockhausen and how Shosty does nothing for him! :P

Me like Stockhausen? ??? Umm...I don't think so. Like I said, nobody will dethrone Shostakovich. I feel a strong kinship with his music that goes well beyond merely 'liking' his music.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich