VON OTTER Watercolours

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ANNE SOFIE VON OTTER
Watercolours
Swedish Songs

Werke von / Works by
Hugo Alfvén · Tor Aulin
Gunnar de Frumerie · Lars-Erik Larsson
Bo Linde · Gustav Nordqvist
Gösta Nystroem · Ture Rangström
Bengt Forsberg
Int. Release 02 Jan. 2004
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CD DDD 0289 474 7002 1 GH


Track List

Lars-Erik Larsson (1908 - 1986)
Nio sånger (Nine Songs), Op. 35

Hugo Alfvén (1872 - 1960)
Gösta Nystroem (1890 - 1966)
På reveln (On the Reef)

Ture Rangström (1884 - 1947)
Gustav Nordqvist (1886 - 1949)
Tre Sånger (Three Songs)

Gunnar de Frumerie (1908 - 1987)
Hjärtats Sånger (Songs of the Heart), Op. 27

Bo Linde (1933 - 1970)
Två sånger (Two Songs)

Tor Aulin (1866 - 1914)
Den Fredlöse (The Outlaw)

Fyra Serbiska Folksånger (Four Serbian Folksongs)

Gunnar de Frumerie (1908 - 1987)
Aftonland (Evening Land)

Part 4

Ture Rangström (1884 - 1947)
Serenad

Bo Linde (1933 - 1970)
Fyra sånger (Four Songs)

Anne Sofie von Otter, Bengt Forsberg

Total Playing Time 1:12:56

Von Otter and Forsberg always come up with something new and unexpected.

Von Otter and Forsberg are in their element . . . Another hit from the outstanding art-song partnership.

A glorious and treasurable issue.

The clever title of von Otter's disc is "Watercolors", which captures exactly the favoured terrain of the songs -- dazzling sky and sea, merged by the wash of light -- and the bleached tonality of her voice . . . her sound is haunted by an undertone of darkness; a guttural catch in the voice further down allows her to plummet from jubilation to melancholy.

. . . she puts that mellow instrument to better use than ever, with exquisite taste and real feeling. Plus, her partnership with Forsberg makes for one of the great teams in contemporary music. This is a special recital, very much of a piece, and holds appeal for lovers of Schubert and Sibelius alike.

. . . an artfully selected recital of Swedish song . . . Anne Sofie von Otter presents yet another ravishing recital of under-sung Swedish song . . . These songs of the heart bring impassioned verbal response to Bengt Forsberg's virtuoso, Préludes-like accompaniments.

Von Otter has surely come up with another winner and lovers of the song repertoire will thank her for bringing to notice little-heard composers like Gunnar de Frumerie and Linde. The gentle nordic melancholy of this music lingers well after the final track has played. (CD of the month)

If anyone can make a convincing case for the unknown world of Swedish song, surely it is Swedish superstar Anne Sofie von Otter: her voice sounds more lustrous than ever, her interpretative powers feel honed and muscular, and there is not a hint of strain anywhere . . . Forsberg's piano playing is exquisite -- he can conjure up the sound of icicles thawing or fresh ocean breezes.

Sweden's own national vocal treasure, Anne Sofie von Otter . . . For all the sincere emotion, the recital is too absorbing to provoke gloom and doom, and there is enough musical and expressive variety here to cheer the heart, with von Otter and Forsberg proving enlightening guides through the Nordic landscapes of the mind.

. . . it is as wonderful as the first disc . . . von Otter has chosen well . . . I cannot imagine better performances. Von Otter's vocalism is matched by her deep identification with these songs; their language is her language, and the communication to us is complete. Forsberg is the perfect partner for her in this music, playing not only with sensitivity to her approach, but with his won ideas about the music that work in tandem with her. DG's balances and perspective are completely natural, and the notes are also superb . . . I would recommend seeking out this superb vocal recital ¿ one of the most compelling such CDs I've encountered in a long time.

Die Anthologie lädt alle Fans des Lied-Gesanges zu einer Entdeckungsreise in weithin unbekannte musikalische Gefilde ein. Zudem spiegelt das Programm die Erkenntnis wider, dass es eine Lied-Tradition auch neben schier übermächtigen Klassikern des deutschen Liedes wie Schubert, Schumann und Brahms gibt.

Anne Sofie von Otter war stets eine ernst zu nehmende Liedinterpretin und ihre langjährigen Erfahrungen kommen ihr bei diesen so unterschiedlichen kleinen Werken sehr zugute. Stets gestaltet sie inhaltsbetont und mit sicherem Gespür für den musikalischen Bogen . . . Die melodienreicheren Werke, die sich teilweise noch deutlich an der Tradition des spätromantischen Liedes orientieren, weiß die Sängerin je nach Anlage mit schlichtem Ton oder großer pathetischer Geste zu interpretieren. Die Bandbreite der Zwischentöne ist dabei sehr weit gefächert und stets in feinen Nuancen schattiert . . . Eine sehr hörenswerte CD für Freunde anspruchsvollen aber nicht verkopften, sondern zumeist direkt die Emotion ansprechenden Liedgesanges. Das hier vorgestellte Programm hat es durchaus verdient, einem breiten Publikum vorgestellt zu werden . . .

Gott sei Dank gibt es Sängerinnen wie Anne Sofie von Otter .

Anne Sofie von Otter wird dem Material großartig gerecht . . . Energieexplosionen auf engstem Raum . . . wie eine Wucht in kleinsten Dosen. Außerdem findet das persönliche Bekenntnis zum musikalischen Grundton ihrer Heimat auf diesem Album einleuchtende Illustration -- vor allem aber zum Tonfall der schwedischen Sprache, von der die Sängerin einmal sagte, daß sie sie sogar in ihren Muskeln spüren könne.

Es sind innige, lyrisch empfindsame Werke . . . Von Otter singt auf hohem Niveau; sie legt in die Texte von Malm, Gullberg & Co. kluge Verständnis-Fährten, sie verbindet Stimmung, prononciert subtil . . . Hier dominieren Hingabe und feine Schattierungen.

Auf ihrem neuen Album "Watercolours" sind nun, nachdem es vor Jahren schon mit "Wings in the Night" ein ähnliches Projekt gab, Werke für Klavier und Gesang aus ihrer schwedischen Heimat zu hören -- in schwedischer Sprache, und eben das ist der Genuss, ist das Geheimnis. Die Einspielung der in der ersten Hälfte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts geschriebenen Werke fließt so innig warm, so ruhig und ausbalanciert von Lied zu Lied, dass wirklich kein anderer Titel für die Aufnahme gefunden werden durfte als "Watercolours". Eine wundervolle CD.

Ach, wäre das Leben nur so einfach und logisch, wie es klingt, wenn Anne Sofie von Otter Lieder von Abba singt. Es ist die konsequente Weitung eines musikalischen Panoramas, das ihr ganz allein gehört. Die schwedische Mezzosopranistin, auf der Opernbühne zu Hause in Hosenrollen, im Liedgenre einsamer Leuchtturm im selbstentworfenen schwedischen Fach . . . Abba ist inzwischen also ernsthaft Kunst, schwedische dazu, und damit kennt sich von Otter quer durch die Epochen aus. In guter Erinnerung sind ihre Alben "Wings in the Night" von 1997 und "Watercolours" von 2004 . . . Schon die Eröffnung des Reigens zeigt die Entschiedenheit der Sängerin, kein Abba-Huldigungsalbum einzusingen: "The Day Before You Came" war der letzte Song, den die Band vor ihrer Trennung herausgebracht hatte. Er wurde kein Hit. Anne Sofie von Otter macht daraus einen Spaziergang mit hochgezogenen Schultern im Streicherflockenwirbel. Auch die beiden Beispiele aus dem außerhalb Schwedens erfolglosen Musical "Kristina Från Duvemåla" zeigen nicht die Hitmaschine Abba, sondern delikate Liedgestaltungskunst, nachgezeichnet mit schlanker Gesangsstimme und dezent agierendem Kammermusikensemble.


L'intérêt de ce projet mené en collaboration avec Bengt Forsberg - acteur à part entière bien plus qu'accompagnateur - excède sa valeur patrimoniale. Il y a ce timbre qui éclaire un ciel que de rares nuages (les failles désormais perceptibles dans certains aigus) ne peuvent assombrir. Et plus encore qu'une voix, c'est le chant qu'elle porte qui éblouit ici, dans son souci constant du verbe, son pouvoir de métamorphose, sa foncière liberté. Au gré de ses affinités et de ses humeurs, on pourra contempler la beauté simple de "Den enda stunden" ("Un court instant") de Rangström, entrevoir la force farouche de "Till havs" ("En mer") de Nordquist ou encore humer la fine rosée qui recouvre "Nu är det sommarmorgon" (Un matin d'été). Car derrière l'apparente unité du cadre, que l'on qualifierait de modérément moderne dans son estétique (Gunnar de Frumerie, compromis bien élevé entre Debussy et Duparc), bouillonnent des eaux d'une stimulante diversité, que nos deux interprètes entretiennent avec passion.

Tout l'art de la chanteuse et de son fidèle partenaire Bengt Forsberg est mis à contribution pour intéresser les béotiens que nous sommes à ces pièces parfois sensibles et habiles . . .

Con la virtuosa y exquisita respuesta de Forsberg, von Otter se encuentra idiomáticamente a sus anchas con un color de voz cálido y una madurez musical que aquí se muestra en su total apogeo ... Así pues, magnífico producto el de la compenetrada por sus largos años de maridaje artístico pareja von Otter-Forsberg en este disco revelación de los ocultos tesoros de la música sueca que nos permite acceder al mismo tiempo a la poesía de Runeberg y otros poetas aquí ignotos.

Como es lógico, el mar también está muy presente, como en sendas piezas de Gösta Nystroem y Gustaf Nordqvist, que von Otter aborda con su sensibilidad habitual, dejando que su voz fluya como un elemento integrado más de esta naturaleza. Un recital espléndido que confirma la posición de la mezzo como una de las mejores del panorama internacional.

canciones ... que encuentran en von Otter una intérprete ideal. La ... extraordinaria inteligencia artística de la mezzo, fraseadora sublime que explota a fondo la musicalidad de la lengua sueca y se sumerge en la casi inaprensible belleza de esta música. Sin duda ... un disco que, una vez descubierto, puede proporcionar muchos instantes de satisfacción.

Este disco y su cubierta son un colorido lienzo del romanticismo nórdico que surge a través de la música y hermosamente refleja su inspiración por el mar, el cielo y el sol. Anne Sofie von Otter disfruta cantándonos la belleza natural de su tierra natal y nos demuestra una vez más la musicalidad y la fuerte tradición vocal de este país.

Von Otter is de perfecte schoonheid in dit repertoire en Forsberg volgt met even betoverend spel. Een mens zou het er nog warm van krijgen.

Heel knap gedaan!
    Biography

Anne Sofie von Otter was born in Stockholm and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with Vera Rosza. She also attended classes in lied interpretation with Geoffrey Parsons in London and Erik Werba in Vienna. In 1980 she began her collaboration with the pianist Bengt Forsberg. Two years later she joined the ensemble of the Basle Opera, where she made her mark as an interpreter of Mozart (Cherubino, Dorabella, Sesto) and Richard Strauss (Composer). Now regarded as one of the finest singers of her generation, the internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano works with the pre-eminent conductors of the day, has sung with great success at the major opera houses of the world and is a regular guest at leading festivals. Anne Sofie von Otter has also achieved great success as a lieder interpreter, mostly in collaboration with Bengt Forsberg.

1984 Début with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Giuseppe Sinopoli; first appears at the Aix-en-Provence Festival
1985 Her Covent Garden début as Cherubino leads to appearances in that role in Munich as well as to a series of Berlioz performances, all under the direction of Sir Colin Davis; other important Berlioz appearances during these years include L'Enfance du Christ and La Damnation de Faust with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra de Lyon under John Eliot Gardiner; this year marks the beginning of her association with Deutsche Grammophon / Archiv Produktion
1987 CD releases on Archiv Produktion this year: Monteverdi's L'Orfeo (role of the Messenger) and Bach's Christmas Oratorio, both conducted by Gardiner with the English Baroque Soloists
1990 Named "Recording Artist of the Year" with an International Record Critics Award
1991 At Covent Garden, first sings the title role in La Cenerentola; CD releases: three Mozart operas - Idomeneo (Idamante) and La clemenza di Tito (Sesto) with Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists and Le nozze di Figaro in the Metropolitan Opera production under Levine; Brahms lieder with Bengt Forsberg (Grand Prix International du Disque, 1991)
1992 Début at the Salzburg Easter Festival in Wolf's Spanisches Liederbuch, which she also sings in London's Wigmore Hall in January 1993; at the Salzburg Festival in summer she appears with great success as Ramiro in Mozart's La finta giardiniera
1993 Release of Grieg songs with Bengt Forsberg (Gramophone Award, Prix Caecilia, Brussels, 1993; Edison Award, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 1994)
1994 Sings in Mozart's C minor Mass at the Salzburg Festival with John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists; tours Japan in October, appearing in Der Rosenkavalier with the Vienna State Opera company; CD releases this year: Speak Low (The Seven Deadly Sins & songs by Kurt Weill) with Gardiner and the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Bengt Forsberg; Handel's Marian Cantatas with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert (CD Compact Award, Barcelona, 1995); lieder by Berg, Korngold and Strauss with Forsberg
1995 Honoured as "Singer of the Year" at the Cannes Classical Awards and at Germany's Echo Awards; CD releases: Berg's orchestral lieder with Abbado and the Wiener Philharmoniker; lieder by Schumann with Forsberg (Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, Prix Caecilia, Brussels, 1995); Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Levine and Mélodies with Cord Garben at the piano; lieder by Haydn and Mozart with Melvyn Tan at the fortepiano
1996 First recital at the Salzburg Festival (Strauss lieder); extensive tour of Europe and North America during which she performs songs from her Deutsche Grammophon recording of Swedish songs, Wings in the Night; named "Artist of the Year" at the Gramophone Awards; CD releases this year: La bonne chanson and other French chamber songs with Forsberg and instrumental ensemble (Edison Award, Grand Prix du Disque, 1997); Wings in the Night with Forsberg (Echo Award, 1997); orchestral lieder by Mahler and Zemlinsky, and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea (Ottavia), both under Gardiner
1997 Enthusiastic press acclaim for her interpretation of Handel's Ariodante (under Marc Minkowski) throughout Europe in January; tour to Japan in the autumn with the Opéra de Lyon and Kent Nagano marks her début singing Carmen, performed again that same year at the Berliner Philharmoniker's New Year's Eve concert, conducted by Claudio Abbado, recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and telecast live throughout Europe; awarded a Diapason d'or in France as "Artist of the Year"; CD releases this year: Ariodante (title role) with Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre (Classic CD Award and Cannes Classical Award, 1999); Schubert lieder with Forsberg; arias by Mozart, Haydn and Gluck with Pinnock and The English Concert
1998 Creates the role of Sorl in Ståden by Sven-David Sandström at the Royal Swedish Opera; CD releases: La Damnation de Faust (Marguerite) with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Myung-Whun Chung; The Berlin Gala: Salute to Carmen (selections from Bizet's opera in the Berliner Philharmoniker's 1997 New Year's Eve concert); and Lamenti (Baroque vocal works) with Reinhard Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln
1999 Performs works by Korngold in New York and several European cities, including Paris and Vienna; appears in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea in Aix-en-Provence and in a programme of works by Bertali, Vivaldi and Ferrandi together with Musica Antiqua Köln in Canada and the USA; CD releases this year: Rendezvous with Korngold with Bengt Forsberg and Friends; Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Thomas Quasthoff, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Abbado (Grammy, 2000); Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress (Baba the Turk) with the London Symphony Orchestra under Gardiner (Grammy, 2000); and Home for Christmas - a compilation of Christmas carols and songs
1999 / 2000 Début as Debussy's Mélisande with Bernard Haitink and the Orchestre national de France; releases in 2000: Folksongs (settings by Britten, Dvorák, Grainger, G. and R. Hahn, Kodály and Larsson) with Forsberg
2001 Participates in the Stockholm concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in December before an audience of all living Nobel Prize winners; honoured again at the Echo Awards as "Singer of the Year"; CD releases this year: For the Stars, with Elvis Costello; a recital disc of lieder by Beethoven, Meyerbeer and Spohr with Melvyn Tan; Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (Composer) with the Dresden Staatskapelle under Sinopoli; and Mots d'Amour (Mélodies by Cécile Chaminade) with Forsberg
2002 Appearances include recitals in France, Great Britain, and the USA; concert performances of works by Rameau, Bach and Handel in France, and Handel's Giulio Cesare in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland under the direction of Marc Minkowski; sings Carmen at the Glyndebourne Festival; CD-releases this year: Handel's Hercules with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre
2003 Tours the Netherlands, Switzerland, and France (Lamenti) in January; Berlioz's Nuits d'été with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Germany and Belgium, recitals in Japan with Bengt Forsberg; Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina at the Drottningholm Slottsteater; performances in November of Handel’s Serse at Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Elysées under William Christie followed by a performance at London’s Barbican Centre. New CD releases this year: Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Pierre Boulez, orchestrated Schubert lieder with Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and Handel’s Giulio Cesare under Marc Minkowski
2004 Operatic commitments include Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict at the Châtelet, Clairon in Strauss’s Capriccio at the Paris Opéra-Bastille with Thielemann, and Monteverdi’s Ottavia in Poppea at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées with René Jacobs in a production by David McVicar. Releases this year include a Swedish song recital with Bengt Forsberg, following up their tremendously successful Wings in the Night, and a recording of works by Ravel and Debussy with Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra

    A Singing Country

"Over the generations," says Bengt Forsberg, "there have been so many great Swedish singers, all the way back to Jenny Lind [1820-1887], 'the Swedish Nightingale'. Sweden is a singing country, with a strong vocal tradition."

A strong vocal tradition grows, not only from great singers, but from composers able to supply them with a repertoire, and as Forsberg goes on to suggest: "Even if they have generally not been so successful in large-scale vocal forms, every major Swedish composer has written important songs." It may be that not much of this repertoire has reached non-Swedish listeners, but there is clearly a treasure trove available to the inquisitive singer.
It is hardly surprising, then, that Anne Sofie von Otter feels irresistibly drawn to the Swedish song repertoire. With the help of Bengt Forsberg as her pianist and fellow explorer, she set out some of its riches in the 1996 collection Wings in the Night. This new anthology has allowed her to dig further into the repertoire of her native land, and, no less important, her native language, which, she says, "falls into place for me, in my brain, mouth, heart, and soul, in a way that no other language does. I think it is a thoroughly musical language: even spoken Swedish has a singing quality".

Singer and pianist have relished the opportunity to range far and wide in their search for material. As von Otter says: "To begin with, we weren't thinking in terms of any particular era, so we started looking as far back as the early-19th century, where we found some lovely songs that could be accompanied by the fortepiano. Then we came right up to the present day, but didn't find anything that really spoke to us. When we began to select pieces which we felt strongly about, and which it would make sense to record together, we found ourselves looking, for the most part, at music written a few decades later than the songs we recorded on Wings in the Night, from about 1910 up until the 1950s."

The period covers the heyday of expressionism, modernism, and their aftermath following the Second World War. Von Otter suggests that "there is a darker feel to this collection than to Wings in the Night", and certainly the composers represented here were not untouched by modernism. At the end of the 1920s, Lars-Erik Larsson, for example, studied in Vienna with Alban Berg and was one of the first Swedish composers to use 12-tone serialism in his work. Yet by force of tradition and personal inclination, they allowed few traces of modernism into their music. Bo Linde, the most recent composer here, whom Forsberg describes as "a moderate modern", belonged to a group informally labelled "50-talisterna" ("Belonging to the '50s"), but its tutelary deities were Britten and Shostakovich, not Boulez and Stock-hausen.

However wedded to Scandinavian traditions, these composers were not narrowly nationalistic. They realized the importance of looking beyond the purely local, and, like Larsson, many of them studied abroad, in France, Germany, and Italy. That, of course, would have been considered a necessity for composers of whatever nationality, but perhaps Swedish com-posers felt the need with a particular urgency: Gösta Nystroem, for example, studied with Vincent d'Indy in Paris, Ture Rangström with Hans Pfitzner in Munich, Tor Aulin with Scharwenka in Berlin. Bo Linde studied conducting in Vienna; Gunnar de Frumerie, besides studying composition in Paris with Leonid Sabaneyev, was a sufficiently virtuosic pianist to become one of Alfred Cortot's students.

Nevertheless a specifically Nordic romanticism courses through the music here. As Bengt Forsberg puts it: "We have developed a kind of Swedish melancholy in the way we express ourselves in song." Anne Sofie von Otter suggests, "However influenced these composers were by what they learned abroad, you sense that Swedish nature, the seasons, the light, stayed with them, influencing them just as much as it did painters and writers."

A love of nature is not restricted to Scandinavian composers, but in von Otter and Forsberg's selection, it is more than a motif, it is almost an obsession amounting to a kind of pantheism. Scarcely a song here does not refer to sea or sky, to wind or sun, to flowers or birds. At times that feeling for nature takes on an almost onomatopoeic quality. The piano lines in Nystroem's På reveln ("On the Reef"), for example, evoke what von Otter describes as "the sea and the eternity of the horizon". One thinks, perhaps, of Debussy, and as Bengt Forsberg reminds us, "Nystroem lived in Paris for a long time. He heard everything that was new while he was there, and his writing is orientated towards a French style. He uses the piano almost in an orchestral way."

In På reveln, just as in songs like Larsson's För vilsna fötter sjunger gräset ("Grass sings under wandering feet") or Alfvén's Pioner ("Peonies"), the piano becomes, not merely an accompaniment, but an integral part of the narrative. Elsewhere the composers adopt an almost naïve simplicity, as in Bo Linde's Äppelträd och päronträd ("Apple-trees and pear-trees"), or in Tor Aulin's more deliberately balladeering Serbiska folksånger ("Serbian Folksongs"). Far from succumbing to false sentimentality, such songs put on a mask, a disguise even, for story-telling purposes.

The most prolific songwriter represented here was Ture Rangström, who, besides composing, was also a noted voice teacher. He wrote well over 200 songs, many of them adopting a kind of naturalistic "speech melody" that gives his work a moving directness. It may not be too evident in En gammal dansrytm ("Old Dance"), with its teasing melody and theatrical gestures, but the sparse piano accompaniment in Den enda stunden ("A Moment in Time") provides the perfect counterfoil to the understated resignation of the vocal line.

There is a similar lack of exaggeration in the four songs by Bo Linde which close the programme. The poems themselves (by Harriet Löwenhjelm, who died shortly after writing them) might invite the most overwrought expressionism. Instead Linde responds with music that is as restrained as it is angry. And there is something oddly affecting in the fact that the final song switches into English, its text all the more devastating for being so starkly simple. It closes the recital in the mood of completely Swedish melancholy to which Forsberg referred earlier, and shows both pianist and singer at their luminous best.

Nick Kimberley

    A Few Words on This Anthology's Poets

Of all the impulses that made Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877) into the Finnish national poet, the most important was a small book of Serbian folksongs that in 1828 he found lying on the floor at the home of a friend who had recently returned from Russia. In his Swedish adaptations of their epigrammatic acumen and naïve philosophy, he created a poetic art whose perfection became a model for many Swedish-speaking writers and the inspiration for countless musical settings (10, 23-26).

Many years later a student in Lund, Hjalmar Gullberg (1898-1961), was similarly inspired by the poems of Harriet Löwenhjelm (1887- 1918), produced out of her fight against tuberculosis and published posthumously in 1919 (30-33). Sharing with her a basis in Kierkegaard's conception of God's unrecognizable presence on Earth, Gullberg mixes ironically observed realistic details with Christian symbols (1-3).

Whereas Anders Österling (1884-1981) was forced to defend the romanticized worship of beauty of his youth (4) against the criticism of disabused younger poets (6), Erik Blomberg (1894-1965; 12, 21) and Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974) found common ground in the idea of universal reconciliation, the latter in works including a cycle that represents the high point of Swedish love poetry (14-19). The poems Lagerkvist wrote after winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1951 exude a deep resignation (27).

The popular Karin Boye (1900-1941), who would die early by her own hand, assumes an unyielding attitude in her oft-quoted poem of 1924 "The Amazon" (29), while Ebba Lindqvist (1908-1995) juxtaposes the power of the sea with human smallness (8). Today Jonatan Reuter (1859-1947) is best remembered for his hymn to the sea - immortalized by the tenor Jussi Björling (13) - which is really a paean to Finland's independence.

Carl-Gunnar Åhlén