Author: sivelov

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Beethoven 4th concerto!

New reviews of the Naxos CD with Symphonies 1& 5

Politiken  4 STARS I did not know Sivelöv’s music. I have now discovered it, and he is a wonderful symphonist who can write broadly, darkly and compellingly for orchestra. A lone oriental voice emerges in the Nordic context, because today’s world is globalised. But gloominess and conciseness are quite clearly the music’s DNA, and to me this music concerns itself with inwardness. Soul and psyche are condensed into intense notes. After a scream that could have been painted by Edvard Munch, the symphony turns inwards – very Nordic, personal and private, it seems to me – before Sivelöv, inspired by good old Stravinsky, lets the music end in dancing, with neoclassical rhythmic features in an agitated, stomping harbinger of disaster – perhaps just formally long, but clearly an all the more genuinely felt finale ending. And of course, just as in Sivelöv’s expressive, fluid and bluesy Fifth Symphony, good use is made of the composer’s own instrument, the piano. Thomas Michelsen Sydsvenskan 4 STARS To define his artistic profile and stylistic framework, the recording delivers interesting material. It is a pleasure to hear the Malmö Opera Orchestra under the direction of Joachim Gustafsson in these symphonies, which are listener-friendly and accessible but not lacking in originality and substance. The First Symphony, vintage 2013, has been given a special label: “Nordico”. The tones of the northern winter and the deep forests allow the listener to engage in the landscape as a musical state of mind, not as program music but as emotional mood. That Jean Sibelius is a kind of godfather to this is evident. As well as lots of percussion there are sometimes interwoven piano sounds. This is not some refined chamber-music construction, it is nature in rebellion and eruption. The composer mentions Edvard Munch’s well-known picture “The Scream” as an explosive background. The Fifth Symphony was added in 2020. The author characterises the two-movement piece as “Concerto for orchestra”. The work does not have the same dramatic dimensions as the First Symphony; instead, it contains meditative moments, alternating with a certain jazz-inspired playfulness. Personally, I would like to return to “Nordico”, with its fresh weather and natural feeling, which should have the whole world as its domain. What is his motivation and his main characteristic? Perhaps: cross-border versatility and bold curiosity. Carlhåkan Larsén

Review of the Madison recital!

Concert Review: Niklas Sivelöv, September 18, 2022 By Paul Baker For his September 18 concert, Swedish virtuoso Niklas Sivelöv strode out in long tails and gray ascot looking not a little like a clean-shaven Beethoven. As he sat at the vintage Mason & Hamlin 1906 model AA piano I appreciated that nod to sartorial tradition. His concert of Bach, Beethoven, Schonberg, Scriabin, and his own compositions wove a musical thread that linked 400 years of musical styles. Each piece he played with physical passion, highlighting forceful movements by tapping his toes and heels, wincing, lunging, and raising his arms aloft. The man is not lost in the past. He reads his music on an iPad controlled by a floor pedal, and incorporates Scriabin and Schonberg into his own compositions. The concert program included Beethoven’s 6 Bagatelles, Op. 126, a demanding piece despite its name, with its dense harmonies and knotty rhythms, cross-hand playing, and several sustained trills that sprang airborne into flight. Compared to that harmonic and rhythmic density, J. S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 sounded translucent and sparse. But not cold, as Sivelov phrased some passages with Romantic hesitations. The left hand sometimes played counterpoint to the right, as in the two-part Inventions, then joined the right in close parallel passages. The Partita set the mood for Arnold Schoenberg’s challenging dodecaphonic Suite for Piano, Op. 25, with its six movements reflecting a Baroque suite. Its dissonant clusters and staccato rhythms suggested at times a scatter of birds, racing chipmunks, sometimes human speech. The resulting tensions were resolved by way of lyrical passages, dynamic contrasts, and motivic development. Sivelöv’s selection of Scriabin included preludes, etudes, and a mazurka. Following the Schoenberg, Scriabin sounded Romantically rich. The gentle swirls and clouds hinted at Debussy and Ravel; some phrasing and harmonies nodded to Chopin. Scriabin’s synthesis of Russian music with French Impressionism fed into his larger project of combining all art forms into an ultimate synthesis that would lead the listener/observer into states of mystic rapture. Sivelöv concluded with a selection from his composition, 24 Preludes (2010-2014). One noted the influence of jazz pianists like Cecil Taylor and Keith Jarrett, along with tokens from Schoenberg (clusters and sprinkles) and Beethoven (extended trills, dramatic pauses) and (!) Jerry Lee Lewis (swipes across the entire keyboard and heavy forearm clusters). A lengthy standing ovation inspired an encore, a wistful reading of a Swedish folk song, whose pastel lyricism recalled Debussy by way of pianist Bill Evans. Kudos to Sivelöv for an untiring virtuosic performance, and for programming such challenging works by Schoenberg, which the audience clearly enjoyed. How privileged we are to witness such talent. Paul Baker is the host of “Listen Adventurously,” a program of contemporary and 20th-Century classical music, streaming Mondays 5am to 8am at and over the air at 89.9 FM, Madison.

New review of the orchestral CD!

    Joachim Gustafsson | Sivelöv: Sinfonie Nr. 3 „Primavera“  05.03.2021 Ohne Corona würde es die vorliegende Aufnahme nicht geben. Da die schwedischen Musiker im Frühling vergangenen Jahres Pandemie-bedingt keine öffentlichen Konzerte geben konnten, hatten sie Zeit, die Partituren ihres Landsmanns zu studieren. Die Musik gefiel ihnen so gut, dass sie beschlossen, die Werke einzuspielen. Das immerhin war erlaubt, Gott sei Dank, wie man nach Anhören des Albums sagen muss. Sivelöv, der am Musikkonservatorium in Kopenhagen lehrt, hat sich vor allem als Pianist einen Namen gemacht; seit einigen Jahren reüssiert er aber auch zunehmend als Komponist. Die hier zu hörenden Werke könnten unterschiedlicher kaum sein, gemeinsam ist ihnen jedoch ihr gleichsam nordisch-klarer Grundton und ein Faible für formale Verläufe und rhythmische Finessen. Im faszinierend-verwirrenden, regelrecht überkomplexen und dabei letztlich doch hoch spielerisch empfundenen ersten Satz („Passacaglia“) der „Sinfonietta per archi“ (2019) kommt dieser Stilzug besonders eindrücklich zum Ausdruck. Die „Primavera“ titulierte Sinfonie Nr. 3 von 2018 macht ihrem vitalen Namen alle Ehre. Bezüge zur Natur wie etwa Tierstimmen oder ein durchziehendes Gewitter sind zwar hörbar, werden aber nahtlos in die zum Einsatz kommenden Sonaten- und Variationsformen integriert. Zu einem Höhepunkt des Albums geraten die „Five Pieces for String Orchestra“ (2016), insbesondere deren „Lamento“-Satz. Auch wenn Vorbilder wie Sibelius oder Strawinsky mitunter grüßen lassen: Sivelövs hier von den „Malmöern“ hoch engagiert dargebotene Tonsprache hat ihren sehr eigenen Sound & Drive. Burkhard Schäfer Bei unseren Partnern erhältlich als CD oder Download: Musik: 4 stars   Klang: 4 stars   Sivelöv: Sinfonie Nr. 3 „Primavera“, Five Pieces for String Orchestra, Sinfonietta per archi (Sinfonie Nr. 4); Malmö Opera Orchestra, Joachim Gustafsson (2020); Toccata Classics

New review about Bach vol. 2 & 3

Great review in the biggest newspaper in Sweden Dagens Nyheter  4 Stars!   In this incomparable music, it is as if Niklas Sivelöv celebrates that he is now the first Swede to record all piano works by Bach.And he does it in a splendid and swinging way! Martin Nyström Read more:

Success at the Schönberg Centre Vienna!

I never heard Schönberg played with so much elegance, “Schwung” – a favourite word of Sibelius which he often used in his diaries – and delicate touch.  Your whole recital was impressive – unobtrosively educational by erecting an arc from Bach to your great compatriot Eliasson, for whom Bach was “almost a god”, detecting almost jazzy passages in his early Disegno, and finally, both surprisingly and convincingly, linking Schönberg to sensual Scriabin – and whetting everbody´s appetite by playing some of your very own preludes.   Peter Kislinger ORF

5 STARS for Bach Partitas & English Suites vol 2 and 3!

The pianist does things with this music that you have never really heard before. Niklas Sivelöv turns an ear to the silent infinity Sivelöv is an insightful and original interpreter of Johann Sebastian Bach’s piano music. Sensitive and daring. Tobias Lund Sydsvenskan

New review of Inertia

Immediately, there is something exciting about the concept album, Inertia. For the idea of ​​putting two professors, two pianos, two temperaments together – that’s good. Especially when it comes to piano professors from two different worlds – improvisational music and score music. Inertia is recorded on neutral ground – in the Danish Radio Concert Hall – with Carsten Dahl at one piano, Niklas Sivelöv at the other. These are two egos that play up to each other, challenge and subtly also try to dominate. When one wants to play fast, the other will pull the tempo down. When one wants staccato, the other wants legato. And out of that comes a fascinating, challenging and in places very demanding album with improvised music by one of Denmark’s most uncompromising jazz pianists and one of Denmark’s most innovative classical pianists. It´s about the music – regardless of genre. That, in fact, is what Inertia’s quality is: that the two masters want the naked truth, despite all the vexing dissonance. Ivan Rod **** / Amchara Classical / Naxos / 46 min.  

New Beethoven video

New Beethoven promo video