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Festival Overture (Festspel)

(Hugo Emil Alfven)

With its real name of Festspel, this overture was a commission for the opening of Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre in 1908.  He had initially found it hard to find an inspiration for the peace until there was a visit from the poet Verner von Heidenstam where they discussed what it was like in the time of Charles XII.  This immediately brought to mind thoughts of a polonaise rhythm and fanfares and in the end it was written in a day.  It opens with a series of fanfares, moves into a lyrical piece and closes with a triumphant “march”.  The celebratory piece is now often used for Swedish official occasions.

Royal Scottish National Orchestra recordings
Naxos 8.553962 (CD: Hugo Alfven: Symphony No. 1/Festival Overture/Uppsala Rhapsody/The Mountain King)
Conductor – Niklas Willen