Symphony No. 3 in C major, Sinfonie singulière

berwsng.zipAugust 200373.4 kB00:29:15
  • 1st Movement00:11:10
  • 2nd Movement00:09:22
  • 3rd Movement00:08:40
Composer:Berwald, Franz Adolf (1796-1868), Swedish
Instruments:2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons; 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones; Timpani; Strings
Submitter:Hicks, Grant
Email:ghicks02 (e-mail)
The Sinfonie singulière is today probably Berwald's best-known work, but he never heard it performed. The premiere performance didn't happen until 1905, sixty years after the symphony was written.
Herbert Blomstedt, in his introduction to the Urtext score published by Bãrenreiter, has this to say about the work -
"The word 'singulière' means 'singular, original'. Berwald himself gives us a clue to his understanding of this term in a section of his 'Introduction to the Art of Composition', where we can read 'In order to give the pupil a reliable system of judging his work, I ask him to conduct the following survey of its contents, namely Is there a breath of originality in it? No! - Does the rhythm perhaps betray some kind of unique characteristic? No! - Perhaps there are sections of a particular polyphonic interest? No! - Then take the whole product and throw it into the all-engulfing sea of oblivion.'
"Although Berwald's Sinfonie singulière is undeniably 'singular' and 'individual', it too was destined to spend a good 60 years in the 'all-engulfing sea of oblivion'. The composer does not seem to have made any attempt to have the work performed or published. This was due not only to his rigorous sense of self-criticism, but undoubtedly also to the awareness that contemporary audiences - at least in Sweden - were not ready to accept his symphonic works. He still ruefully recalled the complete lack of comprehension which his Sinfonie sérieuse had met with at its Stockholm premiere in 1843. His Sinfonie singulière would undoubtedly have confused his contemporaries even more with the thematic conciseness of the first movement, the abrupt dynamic shifts in the other movements, the insertion of the Scherzo within the Adagio, the choice of a minor key for the finale of a symphony in a major key, and the quotation from the Adagio in the Finale."
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