Laura Netzel Chamber Portrait worth admiring

Laura Netzel is one of those composers who should be better known. And that’s what the artists on this release hope to do. Netzel (1839-1927) was from Finland, but her family moved to Sweden when she was an infant.

Netzel showed musical talent early on. She studied voice, piano, and composition (the latter with Charles-Marie Widor). As a teenager, she performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Many of her works were published under the pseudonym “N. Lago,” to avoid gender prejudice. And her music was quite popular, especially her piano miniatures.

Netzel was often compared with Edvard Grieg, as both were labeled Scandinavian composers. The comparisons were usually favorable. I did hear a certain similarity in style, especially in the pieces based on folk tunes.

This release provides an overview of Netzel’s catalog. The 1914 Suite for Violin and Strings provides a taste of her orchestral works. It’s a well-crafted piece, with engaging melodies and rich, complex harmonies.

The release also includes her Three Salon Pieces from 1880. These do remind me a little of Grieg. But they also seem to anticipate Debussy. Innovative for sure!

Netzel knew how to write for the voice. The selection of songs on this release demonstrates that quite well. The melodies just seem to flow.

Cudos to Malin Broman, Simon Crawford-Phillips, and Sabina Bisholt for their work on this album. Their performances are heartfelt and committed. And, at least with me, they succeed. I want to hear more of Netzel’s music.

Laura Netzel: Chamber Portrait
Suite for Violin and Strings; Suite for Violin and Piano; Selected Songs and Piano Pieces
Marlin Broman, violin; Simon Crawford-Phillips, piano
Sabina Bisholt, soprano
Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra
dB Productions

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