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CD 1 [74:42]
Suite I in E flat Major, BeRI 225
1. Allegro [3:11]
2. Adagio [0:55]
3. Non tanto [0:46]
4. Vivace [3:26]
Suite II in D Major, BeRI 226
5. * [3:35]
6. Lento non troppo [1:44]
7. Allegro moderato [4:00]
8. Non troppo allegro [2:09]
9. Presto [0:53]
Suite III in G Major, BeRI 227
10. Largo [4:30]
11. * [2:31]
12. Allegretto [1:14]
13. Allegro assai [1:51]
14. Menuet [2:18]
Suite IV in D Major, BeRI 228
15. Lento [2:57]
16. Carillon Allegro [3:23]
17. Non troppo adagio [2:45]
18. * [1:52]
19. Allegretto [1:17]
20. Presto [1:10]
21. Villanella [3:27]
Suite V in G minor, BeRI 229
22. Con spirito [1:58]
23. * [2:46]
24. Lento [2:40]
25. Vivace [0:41]
26. Lento [2:15]
27. Andante [3:48]
Suite VI in B flat Major, BeRI 230
28. * [3:30]
29. Andante [3:20]
30. Vivace [1:27]

CD 2 [54:06]
Suite VII in F Major, BeRI 231
1. Moderato [3:22]
2. Vivace [1:25]
3. Allegro [2:31]
Suite VIII in A Major, BeRI 232
4. Commodo [3:57]
5. Lento [3:19]
6. Vivace [2:03]
7. Scozzese Vivace [0:16]
Suite IX in D Minor, BeRI 233
8. * [2:34]
9. Adagio [1:47]
10. * [2:35]
11. Lento [1:45]
Suite X in B Minor, BeRI 234
12. Adagio [3:30]
13. Come Alla breve [2:56]
14. * [0:47]
15. * [2:01]
16. Tempo di Minuetto [2:31]
Suite XI in F Minor, BeRI 235
17. * [1:19]
18. * [2:58]
19. Lento poco [1:55]
20. * [2:26]
Suite XII in E Minor, BeRI 236
21. Allegro [2:50]
22. * [1:31]
23. * [3:19]
* No tempo marking

Oskar Ekberg (piano) 

Recorded at the Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna, Sweden, 
1-2 February, 13-14 November, 11-12 December 2011.


In his exhaustive liner-notes Oskar Ekberg touches upon several aspects of Roman’s keyboard suites. Are they keyboard compositions or not? When were they written? Are they suites or sonatas? Should they be played on a modern piano? What about repeats, tempi and other expression marks - in manuscript 14 of the 53 movements have no tempo indications at all. To go into all these details in this review would, I believe, be of little interest, unless one wants to buy the discs and then one gets the full comments anyway. What I want to do is to convey some impressions from my listening.

Roman is known as ‘the father of Swedish music’ and even though there had been some fairly important composers in Sweden before his time they were all foreigners, mostly from German-speaking countries. Roman was born in Stockholm as son of a member of the Royal Orchestra. He learnt to play the violin very early, became a member of the orchestra when he was 17 and at the age of 22 was granted a scholarship to study in London, where he played in the King’s Theatre Orchestra under Handel. When he returned to Sweden he was the first to arrange public concerts. First and foremost he was a composer and though every music-lover in Sweden knows his Drottningholm Music he wrote so much else that gradually has been unearthed. Scholars still don’t have a full overview of his total oeuvre.

The keyboard suites have not been possible to date accurately but they must be from the later part of his life. Probably written for his own pleasure he had no obligation to adjust them to current taste, which he had to do when he had commissions. Technically these suites are no virtuoso pieces - Roman was primarily a violinist - and most of the movements are fairly brief. They are both rhythmically thrilling and melodically attractive. The opening Allegro of the first suite is nicely syncopated and is followed by a meditative Adagio, while the concluding Vivace is elegant. Among my notes I find comments like: ‘The presto finale [of suite II] should win many a cheer at a live performance’; ‘Wholly delightful!’ [Suite III]; ‘The Andante [suite VI] is a relaxed promenade through an autumnal landscape with water dripping from wet leaves’ and ‘The vivace finale is ‘a rollicking, rushing calf, tail in the air’.

Suite V in G Minor is possibly the bravest. The short vivace sounds to be from a much later period, and it is followed by a lento that is decidedly romantic in its melody. The concluding andante, on the other hand, is as noble as anything from Das wohltemperierte Klavier.

The longest of the twelve suites is the fourth with seven movements. It opens with a meditative Lento, followed by an explosive Carillon. This is a real showpiece! A calm and beautiful adagio cools down the temperature before the fourth movement - with no tempo marking - enlivens the atmosphere in what the next generation might have labelled a scherzo. An allegretto and an energetic presto take us to the beautiful and rather melancholy Villanella, with a short recurring phrase reminiscent of Don’t Cry for me, Argentina.

I could go on with similar comments on all the remaining suites but it’s fully enough to summarize my listening experience in three words: ‘full of surprises’. I wonder though what they would have sounded like when played on a harpsichord. A couple of decades ago pianos were almost banned in baroque repertoire, but today we tend to be much more liberal. I often prefer Bach on a concert grand. Played with such lightness of touch as Oskar Ekberg plays them on a Steinway D, these twelve suites become luminous little gems. The recording is spotless. ---Göran Forsling,

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]]> (bluesever) Roman Jan Helmich Thu, 19 Jul 2018 08:20:44 +0000
Johan Helmich Roman - A Musical Portrait (1996) Johan Helmich Roman - A Musical Portrait (1996)

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1. The Royal Wedding Music Of Drottningholm: I Allegro 
2. The Royal Wedding Music Of Drottningholm: II Allegretto 
3. The Royal Wedding Music Of Drottningholm: IV Poco Allegro
4. The Royal Wedding Music Of Drottningholm: XXIII Vivace
5. Violin Concerto in f: I (Allegro) - Elizabeth Wallfisch
6. Violin Concerto in f: II Larghetto - Elizabeth Wallfisch
7. Violin Concerto in f: III Allegro - Elizabeth Wallfisch
8. The Swedish Mass: II Glory To God In The Highest
9. The Swedish Mass: VIII Son Of The Father, Only Begotten 
10. Trio Son in b: I Larghetto - Trio Sonnerie
11. Trio Son in b: II (Allegro) - Trio Sonnerie
12. Trio Son in b: III Andante - Trio Sonnerie
13. Trio Son in b: IV (Allegro) - Trio Sonnerie
14. Assagio in A: I (Andante) - Jaap Schroder
15. Assagio in A: II (Allegro) - Jaap Schroder
16. Sinfonia e: I Allegro Staccato
17. Sinfonia e: II (Attaca Larghetto) 
18. Sinfonia e: III Allegro Assai 
19. Sinfonia e: IV Allegro 
20. Jubilate: I. Make A Joyful Noise 
21. Jubilate: II. Know Ye That The Lord Is God
22. Jubilate: III. Enter Into His Gates
23. Jubilate: IV. For The Lord Is Good
24. Jubilate: V. Glory Be To The Father

Christina Hogman 	Soprano 
Hillevi Martinpelto 	Soprano 
Susanne Ryden 		Soprano 
Anne Sofie von Otter 	Alto 
Par Lindskog 	Tenor 
Peter Mattei 	Bass 
Mikael Samuelson 	Bass

Lisa Beznosiuk 	Flute
Anthony Robson 	Oboe
Jaap Schröder 	Leader, Violin
Elizabeth Wallfisch 	Violin
Johann Sonnleitner 	Harpsichord

Eric Ericson Chamber Choir
Adolf Fredriks Bachkör 	
Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble 
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment 	Orchestra
Eric Ericson 	Conductor
Anthony Halstead 	Conductor
Anders Ohrwall 	Conductor


The "Father of Swedish Music," Johan Helmich Roman, was one of the most influential Swedish composers of his time, not only because of his numerous compositions, but also for his role in moving the music of the great composers from the royal court to public concerts in Stockholm. He was also influential in promoting the use of the Swedish language in sacred texts and in developing an indigenous tradition of vocal writing in secular and sacred music.

Roman spent a considerable part of his life and career in the courts of Sweden's royalty, from Charles XII to Adolph Fredrik and Lovisa Ulrica. Roman received an early education in music. His father served as a member of the court orchestra and at the age of seven, Roman performed as a violinist for the court. At the age of 16, he became a permanent member of the court orchestra. Roman is thought to have mastered many different instruments, but his primary interests were the violin and oboe.

Roman lived and worked in a time where music was in transition between Baroque and Classical styles. His music was influenced by the English and Italians, no doubt due to his contacts with Handel and Geminiani. However, there are also subtle flavors of French and German influence. He traveled abroad twice in his career; first to England from 1715 to 1721, and then an extensive tour of Europe from 1735 to 1737. During his European journey, Roman returned to England and then ventured on to Germany, Austria, France, and Italy. These travels allowed him to experience the music endemic to their region and to study with composers such as Pepusch.

During the reign of Charles XII, in 1721, Roman was appointed vice-kapellmeister of the royal chapel orchestra. On January 23, 1927, he achieved the position of kapellmeister under the reign of Fredrik and Ulrica. It was under this new authority that he instigated the transition of musical performances from the nobles' courts to the bourgeoisie public. In addition to providing a larger audience for his own compositions, these concerts for the common people also served as vehicles with which to introduce foreign musical works.

There is little written record available today that details Roman's compositional career; much of what is written has relied on sources whose accuracy has been called into question. It appears to have begun in the mid-1720s. Roman's earliest known composition is the cantata Festa musicale (1725). During this period (1725-1730), Roman produced a variety of cantatas, sonatas, and suites. In particular, he composed 12 Flute Sonatas (1727), which was followed by Golovin-musik in 1728 and the Suite 8, circa 1730. The 1730s and 1740s were perhaps his most productive years. The suite in E major, a suite in D major, and his most famous orchestral suite, Drottningholmsmusik, were products of this period. Beyond this, it appears that Roman focused on sacred songs.

Roman survived two wives who bore him seven children between them. His first wife, whom he married in 1730, died four years later. He married his second wife in 1738, who died two years after she gave birth to their fourth child. In addition to the burden of raising a household of small children, Roman was afflicted with increasing deafness and later, increasingly poor health. These burdens made it more difficult to continue his duties in the capital, so in the mid-1740s he moved to the Baltic coast, where he translated theoretical works about music into Swedish. ---Bruce Lundgren, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Roman Jan Helmich Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:47:12 +0000
Johan Helmich Roman – Solo Concertos (1994) Johan Helmich Roman – Solo Concertos (1994)

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Violin Concerto F minor BeRI 52
Oboe Concerto B-flat major BeRI 46
Flute Concerto G major BeRI 54
Violin Concerto D minor BeRI 49
Oboe d'Amore Concerto D major BeRI 53

Elisabeth Wallfisch (violin)
Lisa Beznosiuk (flute)
Anthony Robson (oboe)
Orchester of the Age of Enlightenment
Anthony Halstead (conductor & Harpsichord)


Johan Helmich Roman (October 26, 1694 - November 20, 1758), sometimes called the "Father of Swedish Music", brought the High Baroque style of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel north, synthesized what he knew of the new style gallant and trends in music making in Paris and Italy, and developed a style all his own. He is responsible for bringing large-scale, public concerts to Sweden, a country somewhat behind the times in those days. He became a violinist with the Swedish Court Orchestra in 1711. From 1716 to 1721, Roman studied in London where he was exposed to the music of Handel, Pepusch, Bononcini, Ariosti, etc.) Upon his return to Stockholm, he was named Assistant Court Conductor and by 1727 he was elevated to Prinicpal Court Conductor. Beginning in 1721, he instituted the first public performances of concertos, suites, and sinfonias, and by 1731 he was staging oratorios in Stockholm. In 1744, he wrote his most famous work – The Drottningholm Music. By 1745 deafness had forced him to resign his position at the court, though he remained an active composer. In 1751, following the death of King Fredrik I of Sweden, Roman composed and conducted the burial music as well as the coronation music for the new royal couple. In 1758, the "Father of Swedish Music" died of cancer.

He wrote seven solo concertos for violin, oboe, and flute, and more than three dozen extremely advanced sinfonias in addition to his more popular and better known festive suites for Drottningholm and Golovin. His mastery of contrapunctal writing is demonstrated in several of his wonderful trio sonatas. Roman's musical style was a unique combination of forwarded-looking elements and old-style forms.

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]]> (bluesever) Roman Jan Helmich Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:31:03 +0000