Jussi Björling - Til havs

The great Swedish tenor in a programme of [song] songs mostly from his native land: there’s nothing new, but much to enjoy

Author: 
jjolly

Jussi Björling - Til havs

  • Now take my heart (Så tag mit hjerte)
  • I yearn for you (Jag längtar dig)
  • (4) Swedish folk ballads, When I go myself in the dark forest
  • (4) Swedish folk ballads, Among the high pinewood trunks of the forest
  • Till havs (Towards the Sea)
  • Evening Mood
  • Sverige
  • (6) Songs, No. 4, Sigh, sedges, sigh (wds. Fröding)
  • (6) Songs, No. 6, The diamond on the March snow (wds. Wecksel
  • King Heimer and Aslög
  • Tonerna (Visions)
  • Land, du välsignade (Thou blessed land)
  • Trollsjön (The Enchanted Lake)
  • (6) Lieder, No. 4, Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur
  • Minuit, chrétiens, Cantique Noël

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 Land, du valsignade (‘Thou blessed land’) seem to know their way unerringly to that mysterious place behind the eyes whence the waters flow.
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 The booklet contains previously unpublished photographs, along with texts and translations.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.
John Steane
The CD-ROM element of this disc is one of the finest of its kind: a perfect use of technology to enhance the attractiveness of an already attractive programme. There are two six-minute guided tours of the late recording sessions, discographical information, song texts, details of the Jussi Bjorling Museum (with web links) and information about the Jussi Bjorling Society. It is easy to use and simply but imaginatively designed. In short, a model of what an enhanced CD should be.'

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019