Classical: New Releases

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Alfven Symphony No 3/Swedish Rhapsody No3/Legend of the Skerries

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Willen (Naxos)

Hugo Alfven is one of Sweden's best-kept secrets - but hopefully not for long, if the RSNO's Naxos series is anything to go by. This is lush Late Romanticism given a very northern twist - like early Sibelius meets Richard Strauss -- and it is the latter's playfulness which permeates the charming Rhapsody. The symphony is a magisterial piece, and the Scottish orchestra is on winning form here under Niklas Willen. Well worth investigating. HHHH

Krenek Complete works for cello Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin

Geringas, Schneidt (Koch Schwann)

Ernst Krenek made his name in the 1920s as the daring composer of the jazz-opera Jonny Speilt Auf, but was soon forced into US exile by the Nazis. The earliest piece here, the Suite for Cello Solo, dates from 1939 and, like the others - including the Second Cello Concerto of 1982 - demonstrates the influence of Krenek's studies with Schoenberg. But don't let that put you off; these are passionate, even beautiful works, especially when so persuasively played. HHHH

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