Recent ”Collector’s Classics”
Caprice CDs

For Vivaopera 28 June 2019 by Nils-Göran Olve

Dear international readers!

This brief note is intended for those of you who take an interest in historical recordings of classical music, and might otherwise miss some recent Swedish issues on CDs (and downloads). They come from the indefatigable veteran restorer of Swedish sound documents Carl-Gunnar Åhlén, whose website lists a huge range of his LP and CD issues now going back 50 years. Many of these have been on the Caprice label in a series called Collector’s Classics, whose issues always come with long and informative notes by Carl-Gunnar. In recent years, and like many small-label releases, you almost need to know about their existence to find them, and sadly the extensive texts are given only in Swedish.

Collector’s Classics Volume 15 can be translated “Under the composer’s baton” (“Under tonsättarens taktpinne”) and consists of one CD each for Swedish composers Kurt Atterberg, Lars-Erik Larsson and Ingvar Lidholm – three important figures in Swedish music during most of the 20th century.

Fortsätt läsa ”Recent ”Collector’s Classics”
Caprice CDs”

Physician, scientist, and globetrotter 200 years ago

Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) was not only the enigmatic Swedish chemist of his time. He was also an accomplished medical doctor, an active humanitarian, co-founder of the Karolinska Institute, and secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for 30 years.

From the left: Johan Olof Wallin, Frans Michael Franzén, Jöns Jacob Berzelius, Erik Gustaf Geijer and Esaias Tegnér.

Painting by Johan Gustaf Sandberg, 1843 – Nationalmuseum, Public Domain

TEXT: Frank Wollheim

In addition, he mastered the pen; he left 7000 letters, several books including diaries and an autobiography (1). Based on his humanitarian and literary merits, he became member of the Swedish Academy in 1822. We can follow his life in great detail through many documents of his hand. This story is based on his diaries from two journeys to Europe (2).

The sailing ship Diana had a crew of eight men and only three passengers when it started from the lighthouse Vinga, outside Gothenburg in June of 1812. The ship made 5 knot on the sunny first day. Then it hit a storm and all passengers became seasick. Later, it was approached by a pirate ship and they had to use their 6 canons to fight them  off. He was releived when  on 29. June he landed in Harwich and could take a coach to London. Fortsätt läsa ”Physician, scientist, and globetrotter 200 years ago”

Dr. Wedekind’s son: a Frank story

What is in a name, and how does it come to us? This vignette shares the story of the son of a German gynecologist and how his impact influenced two medical students in 1918 Munich, eventually leading to the name of my mother’s first child—also a physician—Frank.

 Denna ”story” är sagolik men sannerligen ingen saga.

Det är en högst seriös ”research”, som för oss rakt in i operakonstens hjärta. Spännande nog får vi aldrig riktigt veta varför, men vi skulle kunna fråga Kerstin Avemo. Det är Frank Wollheim som skriver på synnerligen elegant engelska. Frank Wollheim är 85 år och verkligen ”still going strong”. Professor emeritus, ledande läkare för Lund med omnejd och landsbygd och för hel värld, globetrotter. Prefererar klassisk musik och opera i synnerhet.

I sin framställning tangerar Frank Wollheim Alban Bergs opera Lulu. Men vi får också ta del av tillvaron på ett högt beläget slott i Schweiz. Samt en del detaljer om en libertins tillvaro. Bert Brecht kommer med på ett hörn. Det kommer i ett senare bloggkapitel att bli en del operaanknutna fotnötter av Nils-Göran Olve, Stefan Johansson och Ingemar Schmidt-Lagerholm. Men nu tar vi språnget rakt in i den kreativa kulturradikala värld som så levande skapas och beskrivs av Frank Wollheim. (Ingemar Schmidt-Lagerholm)

By Frank A. Wollheim,
MD, PhD, Lund University Hospital, Sweden

German-born American citizen and gynecologist Friedrich Wilhelm Wedekind (1816–1888) was born into a family of lawyers in what then was the kingdom of Hannover. He studied medicine in Göttingen and Würzburg, where he defended a PhD in 1839. In 1843 he graduated as MD in Hannover. Dr. Wedekind worked as a doctor for mining industries in several European countries, including Turkey, where it is said that he also served as the sultan’s physician. 1) Fortsätt läsa ”Dr. Wedekind’s son: a Frank story”

Glyndebourne’s new Hamlet

This year’s repertoire at Glyndebourne ranged from 1658 Cavalli to 2017 Brett Dean, by the latter a commissioned new version of Hamlet.

By Nils-Göran Olve

Dean is a 55-year-old Australian who spent 15 years as a violist in the Berlin Philharmonic. Dean has been a full-time composer since the year 2000. In that capacity he has become widely known, not least in Sweden where the Stockholm Concert Hall devoted its annual composer festival to him in 2011.

I liked this new Hamlet opera very much. There were several reasons for that, one of course being the quality of the play itself. But my main reason for enjoying this so much was that Dean’s Hamlet is a genuine opera Fortsätt läsa ”Glyndebourne’s new Hamlet”

JUSSI BJÖRLING: Copenhagen concert 1959

SKIVRECENSION: This concert was discovered only recently: 50 minutes in very good mono sound documenting Björling’s last concert in Denmark, a country where he had sung more than 60 concerts and opera performances beginning already in 1931 when he was just 20. No other live Danish recordings of Björling survive, and only three other full-length song recitals – all from the US.

This is a review for The Record Collector ( which was published in a somewhat abbreviated version in its September 2016 issue (Vol.61 No.3), p.199-200. There has now been a second issue from the tape collection mentioned at the end of the review: JSP 683 devoted to Marian Anderson’s 1961 Copenhagen concert, plus her concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial 1939.
Complete concert at Falkonercentret, Copenhagen, 15 October 1959: 16 arias and songs, with Bertil Bokstedt, pf. And bonus: complete Voice of Firestone broadcast 10 March 1952: 6 arias and songs plus announcements.
JSP records ( JSP 682   28 tracks	68 mins.

By Nils-Göran Olve

He is in exceptionally good voice, not least if we remember that he had to be hospitalized for his heart condition during his final operatic recording just a few weeks earlier (Madama Butterfly for EMI in Rome), and would die from it less than a year later. Fortsätt läsa ”JUSSI BJÖRLING: Copenhagen concert 1959”

For what do we listen?

Some of us collect scalps, ticking off the once-famous singers (or just rare recordings) we own – if only on CD. Others take an aesthetic pleasure in the sound of old recordings, like consumers of orange juice who preferred the metallic taste of tinned orange juice when frozen juice was introduced.

Published in The Record Collector (, March 2007 (Vol.52, No.1), p.58-60.
Se även artikeln Om det fanns Nobel-pris för utgåvor av gammalt ljud…

By Nils-Göran Olve

But for most of us there has to be other reasons for spending time on old recordings when there are so many new ones. It is dangerous to claim that some are more worth our attention than others. Confronted with the flood of new releases, and writing the occasional record review for the Record Collector, it becomes necessary. So what is it we are listening for? Fortsätt läsa ”For what do we listen?”