Orphei Drängar


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Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Schoenberg: Gurrelieder

Alwyn Mellor (soprano), Anna Larsson (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (tenor), James Creswell (bass) & Sir Thomas Allen (speaker)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm, Edvard Grieg Kor, Orphei Drängar, Students from the Royal Northern College of Music, Edward Gardner

Recorded live on SACD in the sumptuous acoustic of Grieghallen in Bergen, this mind-blowing interpretation of Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder involves 350 performers: large choral forces, six exceptional soloists, and the legendary Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra – extended for the occasion – all conducted by Edward Gardner.

Marking the pinnacle of the Orchestra’s 250th anniversary celebrations, the same forces offered two evening concerts that met with unanimous acclaim in the press, including a five-star review from The Daily Telegraph praising the ‘sweep of Gardner's conducting, by turns luminous and incisive’. It added, ‘He unleashed the piece’s volcanic passions while never becoming mired in its high-calorific density, and somehow avoided drowning the singers’, and also congratulated the ‘heroic’ Stuart Skelton, ‘warm’ Alwyn Mellor, ‘ethereal’ Anna Larsson, and ‘powerful’ Thomas Allen.

“Gardner’s grasp of scale and momentum is as strong as Stenz’s, and his cast is more balanced...Gardner has the thrillingly heroic Stuart Skelton in the work’s most prominent solo part, pouring out his love for Tove in ringing tones...The playing and singing of Gardner’s Bergen forces are as intoxicating as any I know on disc.” Sunday Times, 23rd October 2016

“The playing of the Bergen Philharmonic is rich, seductive and sensuous...Gardner’s operatic experience means he’s alive to the lyricism and drama of the piece in equal measure: there’s ardent longing aplenty and a real willingness to explore the sheer gorgeousness of the score.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

“although this account was recorded over four days, it rolls onwards with the dynamism of a single live performance...for luminous atmosphere and edge-of-the-seat excitement, Gardner’s Bergen forces offer something special.” The Times, 30th September 2016 ****

“The hero is Edward Gardner, under whose wonderfully flexible beat this hyper-Romantic music positively breathes in long lyrical phrases and paragraphs. Nor are the excitements lacking: the coda to the Klaus episodes fizzes with crazy virtuosity and the final sunrise is as grandly summatory as any” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

“There is an amplitude of tonal richness, against which Alwyn Mellor and Stuart Skelton sing on a heroic scale” Financial Times, 2nd December 2016

“A top class performance and magnificent recording of this vast piece.” MusicWeb International, 20th January 2017

Presto Discs of 2016


GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2016

Building a Library

Also Recommended - March 2017

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De Profundis: Sacred Repertoire for Male Choir

De Profundis: Sacred Repertoire for Male Choir


Ave Maria


Newton's Amazing Grace



Elin Rombo (soprano), Andrew Canning (organ)


Nattlig Madonna


Ave Maris Stella


Taaveti laulud


Psalm 150

Andrew Canning (organ)




Psaume 121


Daemon irrepit callidus


De profundis

Andrew Canning (organ)



Sandstrøm, S-D:




Elin Rombo (soprano)



Oh Kristus valgus oled sa

Andrew Canning (organ)

Estonia provides both starting point and goal for this disc of sacred music for male choir, with a traditional hymn followed by works by composers such as Kreek, Eespere and Lemba, and the closing De profundis by Arvo Pärt. But in between, Orphei Drängar and their conductor Cecilia Rydinger Alin make a grand tour of Europe, taking in music by composers from the Nordic countries, France, Italy, Central Europe and the UK. Biblical Psalms have provided many of these with their texts, such as Milhaud (in French), Langlais (in English), Kreek (in Estonian) and Pärt (in Latin). Others – Lemba, Söderman, Sandström – have set portions of the text of the Catholic mass. Grieg and Biebl were both inspired by prayers in Latin, while Rossini chose to set one in Italian. For Nattlig madonna ('Nocturnal Madonna') the Finnish composer Nils-Eric Fougstedt selected a poem depicting the Virgin Mary with her newborn child by his compatriot Edith Södergran, while Bob Chilcott has chosen one by the Guyanese-British poet John Aagard, whose version of John Newton's Amazing Grace gives the background to the conversion of this 18th-century slave-trader turned abolitionist. Throughout a programme ranging from Rossini's Preghiera from c. 1860 to Sven-David Sandström's Sanctus, composed for the choir in 2010, Orphei Drängar and Rydinger Alin once again demonstrate the versatility and exalted standards that habitually causes the choir to be described as the finest male-voice choir in the world.

“Orphei Drängar is a 160-year-old choir with a warm sound and a seeming inability to ever sound ugly, no matter the language they’re singing...Narrowing down my Recording of the Year list just got a lot harder.” MusicWeb International, 30th October 2013

“Mainly unfamiliar repertoire, in warmly blended performances by one of Sweden's oldest male-voice choirs. Rossini's Preghiera stands out for its charm and lightness of touch. The sound is plushly satisfying.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ****

“Orphei Drängar's rich, deep, enormously versatile sound is beautifully captured by BIS's engineers and sounds glorious on this SACD. Essential for any choral enthusiast.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

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The Unknown Sibelius

The Unknown Sibelius


Finland Awakes (1899)

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä

Aallottaret (The Oceanides - Yale Version)

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä

Jag kysser dig

Helena Juntunen (soprano), Folke Gräsbeck (piano)

Tule, tule kultani

Gabriel Suovanen (baritone), Folke Gräsbeck (piano)


Anne Sofie von Otter & Monika Groop (mezzos), Bengt Forsberg (piano)

Italian Folk Song Arrangements, JS 99

Jorma Hynninen (baritone), Folke Gräsbeck (piano)

Dominante Choir, Seppo Murto

Fridolins dårskap (Fridolin’s Folly), JS84

Orphei Drängar, Robert Sund

Jone havsfärd (Jonah’s Voyage), JS100

Orphei Drängar, Robert Sund

Serenata, JS169

Jaakko Kuusisto & Laura Vikman (violins), Taneli Turunen (cello)

Ödlan (The Lizard), Op. 8 - incidental music

Laura Vikman (solo violin), Jaakko Kuusisto (violin I), Jyrki Lasonpalo (violin II), Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic (viola), Taneli Turunen (cello), Eero Monter (double bass)

Andantino in D major

world premiere recording

Folke Gräsbeck (piano)

Impromptu in B minor, Op. 5, No. 5

world premiere recording

Folke Gräsbeck (piano)

Adagio in E major, JS13

world premiere recording

Folke Gräsbeck (piano)

Adagio, JS 161 ‘Rakkaalle Ainolle’ (‘To My Beloved Aino’) for piano four hands

Folke Gräsbeck (piano), Peter Lonnqvist (piano)

Fragments (4)

world premiere recording

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Okko Kamu

Processional (‘Onward, Ye Peoples'), Op. 113 No. 6

Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä

The Unknown Sibelius presents a spectrum of the music that is the least wide-spread of the Finnish master’s production, either because the pieces included belong to genres not usually associated with ‘Sibelius the symphonist’, or because they appear in versions that differ from the ones that are performed frequently all over the world. A case in point is the opening Finland Awakes, a rarely heard version of what is possibly Sibelius’ best-known piece, Finlandia, in which the famous ‘hymn’ tune is restated in full, scored with unashamed flamboyance for brass, at the end of the piece. That recording and others on this disc are culled from the complete SIBELIUS EDITION brought to a close in 2011 – but completeness is a relative concept: a ‘complete’ edition is only complete until the next mislaid manuscript or forgotten work is re-discovered. The present disc thus serves a dual purpose, as it also includes première recordings of works and fragments that have been discovered or otherwise have become available after the EDITION was brought to a close. Among these, the late orchestral fragments earned a certain celebrity in October 2011, as media across the world greeted the discovery of what was soon proclaimed to be sketches for the famed 8th Symphony – that elusive Holy Grail of all Sibelius-spotters. Dr. Timo Virtanen, the respected authority on Sibelius, has prepared the sketches for the present recording and also written a text – available on the BIS web site – discussing them and the context in which they may have been written. If the orchestral fragments generally tend towards the harmonically bold sound world that Sibelius explored in some of his very late works, the three piano pieces that have also come to recent light are earlier works which all in different ways are connected to other compositions by Sibelius.

“A fascinating, wintry Sibelius disc, including premiere recordings of some lovely solo piano works (my favorite is a noble Impromptu in B minor” New York Times, 4th December 2013

BIS - New Sibelius Complete Edition - BIS2065



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Veljo Tormis: Curse upon Iron

Veljo Tormis: Curse upon Iron


Incantation for a Stormy Sea

Kord me tuleme tagasi (Meie varjud) [Once We Will Reappear]

Kolm mul oli kaunist sõna (I Had Three Beautiful Words)


Litany to thunder (Pikse litaania)

Viru vanne [The Viru Oath]

Helletused [Childhood Memory – Herding Calls]

Raua Needmine

Muistse mere laulud (Songs of the Ancient Sea)

The Songs of Hamlet (text: Paul-Eerik Rummo)

Kaksikpühendus (Diptühhon) [Double Dedication (Diptych)]

Elin Rombo (soprano), Magnus Sjögren (tenor), Gunnar Sundberg (tenor), Henrik Stolare (baritone), Andreas Alin (flute), Magnus Einarsson (bass drum) & Folke Alin (shaman drum)

Orphei Drängar male-voice choir, Cecilia Rydinger Alin

BIS present a disc of works by the once-described “modern shaman” Veljo Tormis

His work is chiefly composed for a cappella choir, using ancient chants and magic charms. Much of his output mirrors his steadfast devotion to an Estonian identity in the face of Soviet occupation, with some illustrating his political leanings.

The disc closes on a more lyrical and personal note – another strand in the composer’s rich repertoire.

The works are performed by Cecilia Rydinger Alin and Orphei Drängar, described in Choir and Organ as ‘a tremendous choir, with superb technique and an immense, expressive range’.

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Folkmusik i forvandling

Folkmusik i forvandling

Pelle Jakobsson (horn), Anna Lindkvist (soprano), Fredrik De Jounge (tenor), Christer Fredriksson (trumpet), Diederik Meilink (cornet), Eric Scarby (piano), Dansar Edvard Jonsson (vocals), Hjort Anders Olsson (fiddle), Marten Landstrom (piano), Allida Gronlund (vocals), Karin Edvardsson Johansson (vocals), Ingvar Lidholm (instruments), Vickes Johan Persson (vocals), Maria Rojas (vocals), Lena Willemark (vocals), Susanne Rosenberg (vocals), Helena Gabrielsson (percussion), Thomas Egemyr Ponga (vocals), Katoi Vydrentytar (vocals), Hedningarna (vocals), Bjors Olof Larsson (vocals), Finn Jonas Jonsson (vocals), Johannes Degerman (piano), Ingrid Lindgren (piano), Solveig Faringer (soprano), Jan Wilhelm Morthenson (instruments)

Orphei Drangar, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Arne Domnerus Septet, Eric Ericson, Evgeny Svetlanov, Stig Westerberg

Caprice - CAP21548



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Christmas Songs

Christmas Songs

Gardner, John:

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day


Dostoyno Yest

Gruber, F:

Stille Nacht


Messiah: He shall feed His flock


Madonnans Vaggvisa

Martin, Hugh:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Mason, L:

Joy to the World


Hark! the herald angels sing




Forunderligt och markligt (Wonderful and strange), FS 83 No. 1


Jul, jul, strålande jul (text: Edvard Evers)



Praetorius, M:

Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen


Hodie Christus natus est


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire



Staffansvisa Fran Orust

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen


Lux aurumque

Ida Falk Winland (soprano)

Orphei Drängar male-voice choir, Linné Brass Quintet & Members of the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Cecilia Rydinger Alin

Described by Choir & Organ as ‘a tremendous choir, with superb technique and an immense, expressive range’, Orphei Drängar give proof of its versatility in a highly varied programme which still manages to stay within the theme of Christmas: original settings and new arrangements of Swedish folk songs and Christmas classics, English carols and Broadway songs – with Stille Nacht, a Russian hymn in praise of the Holy Virgin and Eric Whitacre’s widely admired Lux aurumque.

Early Music



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Sounds of Sund

Sounds of Sund

Folke Alin (piano), Peter Mattei (baritone), Jeanette Kohn (soprano), Per Johansson (double bass), Lennart Simonsson (piano), Stefan Parkman (tenor), Anders Astrand (percussion), Carl-Lennart Gustafsson (accordion), Lars-Erik Lidstrom (clarinet)

Orphei Drangar, Trio X, Robert Sund




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Christian Lindberg - A Composer's Portrait

Christian Lindberg - A Composer's Portrait

Lindberg, C:

Helikon Wasp for conducting trombonist and orchestra

The World of Montuagretta - Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra

Condor Canyon for trombone and brass quintet

'...ty solen är uppe!' for trombone and male-voice choir

Behac Munroh for trumpet, trombone and orchestra

Christian Lindberg (trombone/voice), Sharon Bezaly (flute/alto flute), Ole Edvard Antonsen (trumpet)

Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Stockholm Chamber Brass, Orphei Drängar, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Basque National Orchestra, Robert Sund, Christian Lindberg, Cristian Mandeal




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Capricer Med Od, Vol. 5 (1987-1990)

Capricer Med Od, Vol. 5 (1987-1990)

Georg Riedel (double bass), Johan Dielemans (drums), Thoots Thielemanns (guitar), Hakan Sund (piano), Andreas Alin (flute), Toots Thielemans (guitar), Gosta Ekman (vocals), Margaretha Krook (vocals), Bjorn Sjodin (percussion), Curt Andersson (double bass), Barbara Hendricks (soprano), Sture Akerberg (double bass), Bengt Hallberg (piano), Robert Broberg (vocals)

Orphei Drangar, Sophisticated Ladies, Robert Sund, Eric Ericson, Magnus Bergel


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Christmas Greetings - Sweden

Christmas Greetings - Sweden

Prophone - SCD1018E



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