Recent CD Reviews

Recent CD Reviews

Sivelov Symphonies no 1&5
Robert McQuiston

Swedish conductor Joachim Gustafsson and the Malmö Opera Orchestra…deliver superb accounts of both selections. In that regard, the MalOpO musicians deserve a big round of applause for the many, demanding, solo-instrumental passages they play so well, particularly in the later symphony. That said, both works will leave listeners with a strong desire to hear Sivelöv’s other five works in this genre. © 2023 Classical Lost and Found

Burkhard Schäfer
Fono Forum March 2023  (4,5 Stars)
Überhaupt is der Schwede ein Meister der Orkestrierung und Klangfarben auch in seiner “Concerto for Orchestra” betitelten Sinfonie Nr. 5 aus dem Jahr 2020. Das Werk versteht sich als ein Diptychon, dessen zwei Sätze nich konstrastieren, sondern ihr musikalisches Material wechselseitig spiegeln
Stephen Greenbank

The recorded sound is exemplary, allowing all the instrumental details to be fully savoured. The Malmö Opera Orchestra under the inspirational direction of Joachim Gustafsson offer enthusiastic and convincing performances… Sivelöv’s music has an appealing freshness and makes for a compelling listen. © 2023 MusicWeb International

Stephen Page
Lark Reviews, December 2022

Further exciting contemporary Swedish sounds are to be found on this CD. The two symphonies here by Sivelöv date from 2013 and 2020. Both make great use of variety of timbre, tonality and rhythm. There is a stark, stripped back feel to the opening of the 5th Symphony which contrasts hugely with some of the more energetic writing of other movements here. © 2022 Lark Reviews

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, November 2022

…it…rewards close attention, particularly performances as persuasive as they are here. Niklas Sivelöv has proved a prolific symphonist over the past ten years or so, with six completed symphonies and a seventh currently in progress. © 2022 Classical CD Choice

Thomas Michelsen
Politiken November 2022

Sivelövs musik kendte jeg ikke. Nu har jeg opdaget den, og han er en skøn symfoniker, der kan skrive bredt, mørkt og manende for orkester. En ensom orientalsk stemme dukker op i den nordiske kontekst, for verden i dag er globaliseret. Men det dystre og kompakte er helt tydeligt musikkens dna, og for mig at høre er denne musik et indre anliggende.

Sjæl og psyke er fortættet til intense noder. Efter et skrig, som kunne være malet af Edvard Munch, graver symfonien sig ind i sig selv – meget nordisk, personligt og privat forekommer det mig – inden Sivelöv med inspiration fra gode gamle Stravinsky lader musikken slutte dansende, med neoklassicistiske rytmiske træk i en stampende katastrofeopspændt og måske lige lovlig lang, men tydeligvis så meget desto mere ægte følt finaleafslutning.

Beethoven Concertos
Camilla Lundberg
Opus Magasin
Transatlantic Titan
Niklas Sivelov is a wide-ranging and creative pianist who is also successful as a composer.
I like his vigilant playing for example in the finale of the 4th concerto
It would be nice if this project could develop into a more extensive collaboration between Latin America and Scandinavia
Emilio Sanmiguel
El Semana
The performance of the pianist Sivelöv is excellent, managing to blend the piano with the orchestra. And Gustafsson knows exactly what he does; energetic enough in turning the Bogota Philharmonics into an international phenomenon.”
Bach WTC
Classics Today
Jed Distler
Collectors familiar with the subjective, Romantically tinged 5-CD WTC cycles by Roger Woodward and Andrei Vieru will find Lepauw’s likeminded conceptions more consistently thought out and sustained, as well as sonically superior. Consider Lepauw a fascinating antipode to the straightforward and stylistically grounded Schiff, Hewitt, Ashkenazy, and Koroliov references, with the compelling individuality of Niklas Sivelöv’s extraordinary “48” splitting the difference.
Sivelov Piano Concertos
Henry Fogel
Fanfare, January 2021

All three concertos should provide pleasure to just about any listener. They are clearly modern works, but they are also strongly tied to tradition. Sivelöv manages to find a balance between the serious and the entertaining. As a successful pianist whose playing has been very positively reviewed in Fanfare by many critics, Sivelöv clearly wrote these concertos for himself to perform, which he does with gusto and technique to spare. Both conductors and ensembles provide strong partnerships.

Let none of those small caveats discourage you from exploring Sivelöv’s highly engaging concertos. © 2021 Fanfare Read complete review

Steve Arloff  – MusicWeb International, October 2020

Niklas Sivelöv proves himself not just as a composer of huge creative talent but as a convincing exponent of his own music with pianistic gifts that are equal to his compositional ability. He is given great support from both conductors and musicians on a disc that is a revelatory introduction (for me at least) to a composer of considerable interest. © 2020 MusicWeb International

Azusa Ueno-  The Classic Review, October 2020

The “Concerto Classico” for Piano and Orchestra (1998) is his earliest large ensemble work, and reflects a composer in the process of integrating various influences. The first movement is somewhat reminiscent of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments with its punctuated phrasing and focus on wind instruments groups throughout. Jazz harmonies and rhythms drive the piece as a whole, giving it a tangible and sweeping energy.

The second movement is of a very different nature: thanks to fine playing from the Malmö’s Symphony Orchestra’s strings, it displays Sivelöv’s penchant for refined dissonances. The orchestral opening is captivating, with the resonant cello and basses creating an expansiveness reminiscent of Barber’s Adagio for Strings. © 2020 The Classic Review

Barry Forshaw

Effortlessly played by its composer, this is lively, colourful music which makes an attractive (if undemanding) package. There are echoes of Stravinsky and other composers, but in the final analysis, Sivelov is very much his own man. © 2020 Classical CD Choice

”Här finns en ostyrig påhittighet och vilja att utforska musikens briljanta möjligheter, särskilt beträffande rytmisk komplexitet och tvära kast.” Jörgen Lundmark, Opus

“Förutom att vara en flitig konsertpianist är Niklas Sivelöv också en kompositör vars pianokonserter är kul och drömmande på samma gång; en musik som svänger medan den tänker.” Martin Nyström,

Sivelöv Piano music

“His broad performing repertoire, from Bach to living composers, is reflected in his music for solo piano. This is not to say that Sivelöv does not write with original flair and energy, but it is probably most useful to consider this material as homage. The very choice of a set of 24 preludes is a strong nod towards Chopin and Bach, among others, and the ghosts of both of those giants appear in this music. The strongest flavor here is 20th-century Modernism, in the manner of Prokofiev or Hindemith, material that itself is often in a Neoclassical style. As a generalization, Sivelöv sounds like both a performer and composer who works in a joyous and even humorous way. This is heard in fast, loud music and a tendency to run up and down the keyboard. Some of the music is even a bit bangy, but in a fun way. One of the preludes is described in the composer’s notes as having no key signature, and he directs the pianist to use the forearms to create clusters of notes. …

He returns to a kind of Lisztian bravura in the Toccatina Feroce and finds entrancing sonorities in the Jeux de Cordes, which is played standing up so that the pianist can strike the strings of the piano by hand with a mallet. … It is a fittingly interesting and enjoyable way to conclude a delightful recital by this talented artist.” —

Peter Burwasser Fanfare Magazine, March/April 2016

“The major work here is the series of 24 Preludes, written between 2010 and 2015. Consciously seeking to write a cycle in the tradition of Chopin, Scriabin and Debussy is one thing but aligning, as Sivelöv says, with the influence Bach and jazz is another entirely and presents quite a potentially potent stylistic pottage. … There’s a tangy bite to some of these preludes – a brusque little March theme, a loquacious cantilena, a barbaro that suggests Bartók, virtuosic panache, terse romanticism in miniature, the use of the forearms to play clusters in a misterioso mood, harmonic wanderings, atmospheric quasi-improvisatory passages, and even the introduction of a French Overture [No.20] that has the effect of a similar contextual moment in the Goldberg Variations. As if all this wasn’t enough we find a few Arabic-inspired phrases in the penultimate Prelude and a fittingly dramatic conclusion. The composer is his own best executant but I hope pianists pick up on this cycle or cherry-pick from it. … The first of the Due Notturni shows the dreamier side of the composer’s muse whilst its companion gravitates to active intensification of material shared between the hands. There’s a brief Toccatina Feroce that certainly lives up to its name, and two Impromptus from 2015. The first is deliberately Satie-like though soon moves away from that rather stifling atmosphere. The second is rather quiet and showing once again the quasi-improvisatory qualities that must have been gleaned from jazz. Jeux de Cordes is all dynamism and rhythm. He plays with the mallet on the strings of the piano with one hand whilst the other takes a more conventional route via the keyboard. Exciting.” –

Jonathan Wolff

Music Web International, January 2016

Towards the C
music by J.S. Bach
Huntley Dent
Fanfare Magazine
“Outstanding performances for bringing out the music’s beauty” ★ ★ ★ ★