Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra and their chief conductor Joachim Gustafsson have turned their attention towards the Danish composer August Enna (1859-1939) with new renderings of two of his most charming orchestral works, offering an overflood of good melodies and Nordic romanticism.
An international opera composer
No Danish composer had such great international success around the turn of the 20th century as August Enna. It was his operas that made him famous, with drama and colour in the international style inspired by Verdi, Wagner and French music, chiming perfectly with contemporary taste. Enna's works were performed as far away as the USA and Australia, but he struggled to establish his standing at home in Denmark, partly because of his non-Danish musical style and partly because of his unruly personality, which earned him many opponents.
The narrow view of him as only a composer of operas also meant that his other works failed to receive the attention they deserved. And time was short for Danish Romantic music: this did not just affect Enna, but many other Danish composers who were almost completely neglected for the rest of the 20th century.
A flow of good melodies
August Enna's endearing orchestral works share the effective handling of the orchestra, richness of melody, colour and of his operas. While his Symphony No. 2 is conservative for its time, it is abundantly rich in its continuous melodic flow, creating an immediately impactful experience.
One of Enna's most successful orchestral works is the Violin Concerto, in which his background as a violinist and his deep connection to opera meet the tradition of Nordic national romanticism with pastiches of folk music.
Conductor with Enna connections
The new release is recorded by violinist Anna Agafia and Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by their Swedish chief conductor Joachim Gustafsson. Gustafsson has an extensive knowledge of Enna's music, having previously conducted the critically acclaimed world premiere recording of the opera Kleopatra which was released on Dacapo Records in 2020.
Anna Agafia (b. 1996) acclaimed for her exceptional talent and captivating performances, has quickly gained international recognition as a young Danish violin soloist to watch. On the new album, you can experience her as solist in Enna's Violin Concerto.
Find the new album at Dacapo Records here.