Joachim Nikolas Eggert: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4

If Joseph Martin Kraus (1758-1792) is known as the “Swedish Mozart,” it might seem logical to consider his successor, Joachim Nikolas Eggert (1779-1813), the “Swedish Schubert.” While there’s a strong stylistic resemblance between Schubert and Eggert, to my ears Eggert’s music more closely resembles Beethoven’s.

That’s not surprising. Eggert was a forward-looking composer and music director. He introduced several of Beethoven’s important works to the Swedish court, sometimes shortly after their Viennese premiere. Like Schubert, Eggert used Beethoven as a starting point, rather than a model.

Symphony No. 2 was premiered in 1806 and reminds me somewhat of Schubert’s earliest symphonies (written in 1813-14). While there’s a certain Haydnesque elegance to the work and a healthy dose of Beethovenian drama, it’s a symphony that still looks ahead, rather than behind.

The same is true of Eggert’s last completed symphony, No. 4 “War and Peace.” It was written in 1810 after Sweden had lost her conflict with Napoleon. Eggert’s symphony has stormy sections (especially at the beginning), yet ultimately resolves peaceably. While Eggert didn’t quite have Schubert’s melodic gift, the themes easily flow one to another in a Schubertian fashion.

For those who love Beethoven and Schubert, I highly recommend Eggert. You’ll find stylistically he fits neatly between those two giants.

Joachim Nikolas Eggert: Symphony No. 4 in C minor; Alternative Second Movement to Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 2 in G minor
Gärard Symphony Orchestra; Gérard Korsten, conductor
Naxos 8.573378

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