Christopher Fifield: Andreas Hallén, Gustaf Wasas Saga

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Gustaf Wasas Saga by Andreas Hallén. Conducted by Christopher Fifield with the Gavle Symphony Orchestra.

I. Das Morgenroth (The Red Dawn of Freedom) - 00:00
II. Die Vision (The Vision) - 6:10
III. Aufruhr zur Wehr (Call To Arms) - 12:44
IV. Der Einzug (The Entry) - 18:49
V. Per Aspera ad astra (Through hardships to the Stars) - 22:37
Johan Andreas Hallén (22 December 1846 -- 11 March 1925) was a Swedish Romantic composer, conductor and music teacher, primarily known for his operas, which were heavily influenced by Richard Wagner's music dramas.

Gustaf Wasas Saga is an orchestral suite from an extensive score for soloists, choir and orchestra, written to tableaux by Daniel Fallström, from Gustaf Wasa's Saga for the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Gustaf Wasa, given at the Royal Opera.

The first movement, "The Red Dawn of Freedom", depicts a spectacular sunrise followed by a pastoral morning with prominent harp and woodwind. Little by little the sun climbs higher and higher and the light -- illustrated by the strings -- becomes brighter and brighter. "Vision" is calm, beautiful and melodious in a kind of folk-tone. In the martial "Call to Arms" there are fanfares en masse that in due time develop into a theme that is more or less a direct quotation of La Marseillaise. The fourth movement, "The Entry", also entitled "The Wasa March", opens with the same theme. This is a jubilant procession to celebrate that the Swedish have defeated the Danes. The long concluding movement, "Through Suffering to Renown", takes us from the triumphant victory that brought Gustaf Wasa to the throne, to the end of his life, where, after more than 35 years in power, he looks back on his career. The music very much reflects the mood of an old man: sad, maybe disappointed but still conscious of the great deeds he has done. Through the melancholy, light thoughts and reminiscences brighten his mood. Brooding brass harmonies alternate with sunny, transparent woodwind and ethereal strings