GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Elnimio on February 14, 2012, 05:13:30 PM

Title: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Elnimio on February 14, 2012, 05:13:30 PM
Any other fans of this Norwegian composer? Surprised there's no thread about him, he is arguably the greatest Norwegian composer after Edvard Grieg.

His music is hard to categorize, first of all. It is essentially tonal, sometimes even folkish and humorous, yet it uses a lot of dissonance, and is usually dark and thick in texture.




Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2012, 05:25:16 PM
Any other fans of this Norwegian composer? Surprised there's no thread about him, he is arguably the greatest Norwegian composer after Edvard Grieg.

His music is hard to categorize, first of all. It is essentially tonal, sometimes even folkish, yet it uses a lot of dissonance, and is usually dark and thick in texture.

Long time, no see! Good to see you back! Anyway, the Saeverud BIS series looks quite appealing. I don't think I've heard one note of his music though. What would you recommend a newbie to this composer start with?
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Elnimio on February 14, 2012, 06:04:05 PM
I love his one movement symphonies. The fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh. I would recommend to start with the fourth or the sixth, my two personal favorites. I also really love his violin and oboe concertos.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2012, 07:14:27 PM
I love his one movement symphonies. The fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh. I would recommend to start with the fourth or the sixth, my two personal favorites. I also really love his violin and oboe concertos.

Alright, thanks for the recommendations. Do you own any of the BIS recordings?
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Elnimio on February 14, 2012, 07:44:35 PM
Yep, 2  of them. The ones with Symphonies 2 & 4, and Symphony 3 + Violin Concerto.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2012, 07:54:31 PM
Okay, so I listened to Saeverud's Symphony No. 2 via YouTube and I have to say I'm not that impressed. I don't really hear anything distinctive in his music. There's nothing that stands out and beats me on the ear. The musical language just didn't seem that interesting. But this was my first listen...
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Elnimio on February 14, 2012, 08:49:14 PM
Yeah, I wasn't impressed with that symphony either when I heard it. The fourth (which was on that same CD) changed my mind, it displays a much leaner, contrapuntal sound. I actually didn't post any youtube clips because none of the stuff on there is his most interesting work. Although, I see the third one is on youtube as well, I'd say that one is much better than the second one, particularly the second and third movements.

Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2012, 09:04:59 PM
Yeah, I wasn't impressed with that symphony either when I heard it. The fourth (which was on that same CD) changed my mind. I actually didn't post any youtube clips because none of the stuff on there is his most interesting. Although, I see the third one is on youtube as well, I'd say that one is much better than the second one, particularly the second and third movements.

Thanks for the recommendations. Right now, I'm just going to clear my head of Saeverud's 2nd symphony and listen with, hopefully, fresher ears to the 3rd.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: The new erato on February 15, 2012, 04:02:23 AM
I would have started with the Peer Gynt suites even though I cannot offhand recommend a recording.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Dundonnell on February 15, 2012, 05:59:54 AM
Guess what ??? ;D I have the complete BIS set of recordings of Saeverud: all eight symphonies(Saeverud withdrew his first and reused the material). the piano, violin, cello, oboe, bassoon concertos and a host of smaller orchestral pieces: a total of eight cds.

It was one of BIS's most impressive recording projects alongside of their Sibelius and Holmboe recording projects. It is just a pity that the company has not done the same for more modern Swedish composers :(

I like Saeverud's quirky, craggy individualism :) Only the 3rd and 8th symphonies exceed 30 minutes in length and the 6th 'Sinfonia Dolorosa', which was my first introduction to Saeverud, is a mere 12 minutes long. For a time it seemed that Saeverud had attained the same sort of 'Grand Old Man' stature as Hilding Rosenberg in Sweden but I wonder how often his music is still played in concert in Norway ???
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: The new erato on February 15, 2012, 06:57:35 AM
Guess what ??? ;D I have the complete BIS set of recordings of Saeverud: all eight symphonies(Saeverud withdrew his first and reused the material). the piano, violin, cello, oboe, bassoon concertos and a host of smaller orchestral pieces: a total of eight cds.

It was one of BIS's most impressive recording projects alongside of their Sibelius and Holmboe recording projects. It is just a pity that the company has not done the same for more modern Swedish composers :(

I like Saeverud's quirky, craggy individualism :) Only the 3rd and 8th symphonies exceed 30 minutes in length and the 6th 'Sinfonia Dolorosa', which was my first introduction to Saeverud, is a mere 12 minutes long. For a time it seemed that Saeverud had attained the same sort of 'Grand Old Man' stature as Hilding Rosenberg in Sweden but I wonder how often his music is still played in concert in Norway ???
Not very often. Occasionally in Bergen, and I remeber well meeting him at various concerts.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: cilgwyn on February 16, 2012, 04:59:05 AM
Okay, so I listened to Saeverud's Symphony No. 2 via YouTube and I have to say I'm not that impressed. I don't really hear anything distinctive in his music. There's nothing that stands out and beats me on the ear. The musical language just didn't seem that interesting. But this was my first listen...
  Sounds intriguing enough to investigate! Saeverud is a composer I have been aware of for many years & but never heard!!! One thing I HAVE noticed,however,about Saeverud,which has struck me,is that I have never seen a bad review of a Saeverud cd. So,maybe I SHOULD take the plunge.
  As to his Second Symphony. It may be uninteresting,but I sometimes find that an earlier or weaker work can sometimes sound better when you become more familiar with a composer's idiom,and in the context of later & more mature works. Having said that,I think I will try one of the later ones first,if and when,I dip my proverbial toe in the water!
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Elnimio on February 16, 2012, 03:48:37 PM
His tone poem "Vade Mors" is also one of my favorites by him.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2012, 08:02:20 PM
  Sounds intriguing enough to investigate! Saeverud is a composer I have been aware of for many years & but never heard!!! One thing I HAVE noticed,however,about Saeverud,which has struck me,is that I have never seen a bad review of a Saeverud cd. So,maybe I SHOULD take the plunge.
  As to his Second Symphony. It may be uninteresting,but I sometimes find that an earlier or weaker work can sometimes sound better when you become more familiar with a composer's idiom,and in the context of later & more mature works. Having said that,I think I will try one of the later ones first,if and when,I dip my proverbial toe in the water!

I'm certainly not writing off Saeverud and I do plan on exploring his music at some point. Yes, there are many works by composers that don't do much for me on first hearing, but more familiarity with their compositional style will enable a listener to, hopefully, enjoy the work and understand it better.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 15, 2013, 09:08:37 PM
I can say I've really been enjoying Sæverud's music lately, especially since I actually got my hands on some (bought the sets Orchestral Music Vols. 1 & 2 on Simax).
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 16, 2013, 04:03:04 PM
I have the Bis CD of the Symphony No.9 and Piano Concerto and lsitening to it hasn't motivated me to buy any more.

The music seems rather directionless and lacking in individuality. After listening to these two pieces I can't remember anything anout them at all!

Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Harald Sæverud (1897-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on April 16, 2013, 04:20:50 PM
Nothing wrong with that opinion. You don't like something, nobody can force you to enjoy it. I find Sæverud, however, to be quite a distinctive composer. I think one of the most important aspects of his music is to simply keep listening. It doesn't jump out and grab you that's for sure although there are many striking passages in his music along the way. I find his Peer Gynt Suites to be the best place to start. These works are quite tuneful, although the music doesn't lose it's unmistakable roughness. Some of his other works I've heard have went in one ear and out the other but the same thing happened to me with Holmboe whose music I highly enjoy now.