Jouni Somero surveys Selim Palmgren piano repertoire

This volume in Grand Piano’s series spans fifty years of Selim Palmgren compositions. They show the development of the composer over time.

The album opens with Three Piano Pieces, Op. 4, written in 1893. Palmgren was 15. These are charming, unprepossessing pieces with traces of Brahms and Schumann.

Palmgren wrote his Lyrical Intermezzo, Op. 8 after he began his musical studies in Berlin. The music is more sophisticated, and the piano technique is also more challenging.

The latest work on the album is Sun and Clouds, Op. 102. It’s also the longest piece on the album. Each of the twelve movements depicts a different month of the year.

Though written during the height of the second world war, the music is sunny and optimistic. The textures are much thicker than those in Palmgren’s early works. And the technique more advanced — as befitting a student of Busoni.

Jouni Somero is an exceptional performer. And so are his interpretations of his fellow countryman’s music. Somero plays with authority. He brings out the simple charms of Palmgren’s early works. And delivers his mature pieces with power and verve.

The more of Palmgren’s music I hear, the more I want to hear. Looking forward to volume 4.

Selim Palmgren
Complete Piano Works 3
Jouni Somero, piano
Grand Piano GP869

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