Jussi Björling - Til havs
Heartening and heartfelt: very moving, I found, thanks partly to the sheer sound of that voice (not heard, as it happens, in recent listening, so freshly met with the instant recognition of old friendship), and partly because the voice and the songs go especially well together. Without knowing the language one can’t say for sure, but I always feel that Bjorling is a fuller man singing in his native Swedish. The song that provides this collection with its title is a fine example. Till havs (‘Toward the sea’) strikes up with orchestral vigour fit to introduce some mighty saga rather than a two-and-a-half-minute song, but the singing has a concentrated thrill that amply justifies the commotion, and the words are infused with real passion. All carry conviction; there are no routine jobs even though he must have sung many of the songs a hundred times. And some, though perhaps musically commonplace, are, I should think, impossible to hear without emotion: the wistful melody of Tonerna (‘Music’) and the broad, brave sweep of
It remains to be noted that there is nothing very new here. All of these recordings have been issued commercially before now, some of them several times, and all appear to be currently available on one label or another. The remastering has brought good results but hardly so as to warrant re-buying. The booklet contains previously unpublished photographs, along with texts and translations. Yet 52 minutes is not generous playing-time. Let’s say that if the description given above appeals in advance, so will the disc when heard. Otherwise I’d leave it to fate: it’s the kind of record which, found in a store by chance and reasonably priced, would be a nice thing to bring home from a morning’s shopping.