WorldView Episode 24: Kevin Puts & Wilhelm Stenhammar

      Episode twenty-four of WorldView features four artists from four different nations—Sweden, Japan, Great Britain, and the United States. The composer first heard in the hour is Kevin Puts, an American modernist and polystylist. He was born in St. Louis in 1972, though he was later raised in Michigan.  After studying composition at both Yale University and the Eastman School of Music, Puts slowly grew a national reputation. The composer has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and more, as well as iconic artists Marin Alsop and Renée Fleming.  

      Puts’s most well-known opera, “Silent Night”, was premiered in 2011 by the Minnesota Opera. The composer was awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for the work, which centers around the 1914 Christmas Truce.  In this episode, Bulgarian-American violinist Bella Hristova performs Kevin Puts’s solo work “Arches”. Completed in 2000, the piece contains five movements, each either a caprice or an aria

     The final artist whose work appears in the episode is Wilhelm Stenhammar, a Swedish composer born in Stockholm in 1871 (his brother, Ernst Stenhammar, was a famed architect of the 19th and 20th centuries). The composer began his career with a great admiration for the German classical style, but he later shifted to focus on the Scandinavian form displayed in the music of Nielsen and Sibelius. This shift is best highlighted by the differences between Stenhammar’s First and Second Symphonies, written fifteen years apart. 

     In 1892 he traveled to Berlin, where he devoted himself to musical and compositional training. Stemhammar became the artistic director and conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony (based in Gothenburg, Sweden), where he organized several concerts highlighting the works of Scandinavian contemporaries.  However, his burgeoning career was cut short by a sudden stroke at age 56. He died shortly thereafter, having completed almost one hundred opus works. 

     This WorldView episode includes the Fresk Quartet performing Wilhelm Stenhammar’s “String Quartet No. 5 in C Major, Op. 29”. It was completed in 1910. The recording was made by Caprice Records, a company that publishes mainly works by Swedish artists and composers. 

 

WorldView Episode Twenty-Four Playlist:

Kevin PUTS, “Arches”, {Bella Hristova (vn)} – A. W. Tonegold Records

Peter WARLOCK, “Capriol Suite”, {English String Orchestra, William Boughton} – Nimbus Records

Toru TAKEMITSU, “To the Edge of Dream for Guitar and Orchestra”, {John Williams (gtr), Sebastian Bell (fl), Gareth Hulse (ob), London Sinfonietta, Esa Pekka-Salonen} – Sony Classical

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR, “String Quartet No. 5 in C Major”, {The Fresk Quartet} – Caprice

 

WorldView is a classical music radio show featuring composers from everywhere in the world – except Western Europe. Tune in to hear works by lesser-known artists such as Gabriela Montero and Bright Sheng, and widen your knowledge of classical music. Hinke Younger hosts each week’s episode of WorldView on Mondays at 9AM and again at 6PM on Charlottesvilleclassical.org

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