Melcher Melchers

Symphony in D minor

La Kermesse


Gävle Symphony Orchestra
Jaime Martín, conductor



Sleeve notes in English

World première recordings of La Kermesse and Élégie


April 2023

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1418-2


Track listing

CD 61:06
Melcher Melchers (1882-1961)
1 La Kermesse, poème symphonique d'après Rubens (1920) 13:05
2 Élégie, Op. 15 (1919) 10:45
Symphony in D minor, Op. 19 (1925) 36:30
3 I. Allegro moderato 16:23
4 II. Andante molto sostenuto 10:34
5 III. Allegro molto brillante ed energico 9:22

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Complete description

Swedish composer Melcher Melchers (1882–1961) has been largely forgotten by music history. Melchers studied composition in Paris and his circle of friends included, among others, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinaire, Erik Satie, and members of Les Six. Among the Nordic composers he had the biggest impact on the French music life but his aesthetics in music were quite conservative: d’Indy, Chausson and César Franck were his greatest influences. This album by the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jaime Martín includes Melchers’ magnum opus, his finely crafted Symphony in D minor, Op. 19 together with world première recordings of two symphonic poems.


Melchers’s early compositions include some twenty songs, and it was only after his studies in France that he started to write music in larger forms. Melchers frequented the great art museums in Paris, including the Louvre, and became fascinated by an expansive painting by Peter Paul Rubens titled La Kermesse (1635–1638). The painting inspired Melchers to write a symphonic poem in 1919. Although not attempting to describe particular events of the scene in detail, the music does contain the same joy, positivity and diversity that can be found in the original painting. A completely different spirit prevails in the short and nostalgic Élégie, Op. 15 (1920), written “in memory of my mother”. Melchers’s most extensive and most important work is his only Symphony, which he completed during the summer of 1925. The three-movement Symphony in D minor, Op. 19 is scored for large orchestra with triple woodwinds, three trumpets and trombones, four horns, tuba, harp and strings. The result is powerful in multiple ways, and the orchestration evokes a shimmering, French-inspired soundscape with a wide range of variation.


The Gävle Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1912, has a long and exciting history, and the orchestra has played an obvious and significant role in the Swedish music scene. The orchestra takes on a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the latest contemporary music with equal curiosity and dedication. Through a series of acclaimed albums, the Gävle Symphony Orchestra has also brought many older Swedish composers into the limelight and given them well-deserved recognition. From 2013 to 2022, Gävle Symphony Orchestra has enjoyed a fruitful musical partnership with principal conductor Jaime Martín, but the orchestra has also collaborated regularly with renowned international conductors and such as Leif Segerstam, Sir Neville Marriner and among returning soloists you find international stars such as Isabelle van Keulen, François Leleux, Gabriela Montero and many others.


Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony 0rchestra since 2022, Jaime Martín is also Chief Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland) and Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España (Spanish National Orchestra) for the 22/23 season and was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Gävle Symphony Orchestra from 2013 to 2022. Martín has become very quickly sought after at the highest level. Recent and future engagements include his debuts with the Dresden, Netherlands Philharmonic and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, and return visits to the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Antwerp Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de RTVE (ORTVE) and Galicia Symphony orchestras, as well as a nine-city European tour with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Previously Martín has recorded a series of highly acclaimed Brahms albums for Ondine Records with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra.