Program notes: "Overture from Pastoral Suite", Op. 19
Overture from’ Pastoral Suite’ Lars Erik Larsson’s Pastoral Suite is music with a specific function. About the 1940’s Larsson, at the time in his thirties, was appointed by the Swedish Radio as a conductor, producer and composer. By this time, a type of literary-musical program called the "lyrical suite" was very much in demand. Lars Erik Larsson wrote many made-to-order compositions for this series, and from this abundant material the Pastoral Suite was put together. This music is no field for radical experiments - Larsson had by this time already left the Hindemith-polyphonic and 12-tone exercises behind him and was on his way towards a Nordic romantic expressiveness.
Program notes: "Little Serenade for String Orchestra", Op. 12
Lars-Erik Larsson is well known and loved by all Swedes for such compositions as the Pastoral Suite and Disguised God. But several years prior to these works he had made his mark internationally when his Sinfonietta op. 10 was played at the ISCM festival in Florence in 1934. In February of that highly successful year he completed his Little Serenade for string orchestra, op. 12; on March 7 it was given its first performance by the Gavleborg Orchestral Society under the composer’s direction.
Larsson’s compositions from this period pay tribute to neoclassicism. The music is alert and musicianly and has shaken off its romantic inheritance. There are obvious allusions both to simple sonata form in the spirit of Hayden and to the 18th-century serenade, which was so readily framed with movements "alla Marcia". Larsson makes a virtue of necessity and lets the first movement return unaltered as the finale. In spite of the classical form and the clarity of the writing, Larsson’s own personality shines through, not least in a melodious Adagio which reflects a more Nordic and elegiac mood.
Born on 15th May 1908 in Åkarp, died on December 27th 1986 in Helsingborg. After taking the organist examination in 1924, he studied composition with Ernst Ellberg at the Stockholm Conservatory between 1925 and 1929. He continued his studies with Alban Berg in Vienna the following year, and thereafter, 1930-1931, with Fritz Reuter in Leipzig. He was chorus master at the Royal Opera in Stockholm the same year, and between 1933 and 1937 he worked as music critic for Lunds Dagblad. He was a frequent conductor at Swedish Radio 1937-1954. Between 1947 and 1959 he was professor of composition at the State Academy of Music in Stockholm and was later (1961) appointed Director Musices at the University of Uppsala, where he worked until 1965.
The lyricist and writer of melodies, creator of works such as Förklädd gud (A God in Disguise) and the Pastoral Suite; the neo-classicist who wrote the well-known Concertino series with its twelve compositions for solo instrument and orchestra; the steadfast artist who nurtured the classical tradition and imparted his belief in precision and expressive restraint to many of his pupils - Lars-Erik Larsson’s significance can be described in many ways. His musical style includes clear forms, bright harmonies and a transparent part-writing. His use of stringent counterpoint and austere orchestration has led to a group of important, serious works such as the Music for Orchestra, Missa brevis and the Variations for Orchestra where he demonstrates his personal way of using some of the technical conquests of this century, such as the dodecaphonic method.