Jouni Somero premieres more Selim Palmgren gems

Selim Palmgren was a virtuoso pianist and a prolific composer — particularly for his instrument. His catalog includes over 400 published works. 

Jouni Somero’s goal is to record all Palmgren’s solo piano works. This includes quite a few unpublished pieces. Not surprisingly, each volume of this series has several world premiere recordings. As does this volume.

The program on volume six is a cross-section of Palmgren’s short piano works. It has his first published pieces from 1898 through his mid-career works of the 1940s. 

As with the other volumes, Palmgren demonstrates his mastery of the miniature. Many of these pieces are less than two minutes in length. And yet each is a fully-developed idea. 

For me, one of the real standouts was “Youth,” published in 1908. This suite of six movements has a cohesive feel to it. And that’s no mean feat. The suite includes a Debussy-like Impressionist movement, as well as several based on Finnish folk songs. But it all works together. 

Jouni Somero continues to impress me with his phenomenal technique. Palmgren was a great pianist — and a good deal of his music was written for performers at his level. Somero is equal to the task. 

Plus, he gives the smaller, slighter pieces equal attention. Simple though some may be, Somero’s playing adds a bit of emotional weight.

Selim Palmgren: Complete Piano Works 6
Jouni Somero, piano
Grand Piano

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