Per August Ölander
String Sextet in D Major
Per August Ölander (1824-1886) was born in the Swedish town of Linköping. His early music lessons were with his father a violinist and parish organist. He attended the University of Uppsala and although he took some music lessons from the school’s music director, it was not his main area of study. Because it was virtually impossible for musicians in Sweden during this time to earn a living solely through music, like so many others, he supported himself by means of working in an entirely different area unrelated to music. He served for most of his life as a officer in the customs office. He did not ignore music altogether, working as a violinist and music critic. He played second violin in a prominent string quartet and may have had a few composition lessons from the first violinist but was largely self-taught as a composer. Hence, it was quite surprising when his opera Blenda won the first prize in the 1876 Royal Competition by acclamation; the jury were unanimous. He was not a prolific composer writing just the one opera, a few other vocal works, this string sextet and several string quartets.
His String Sextet in D Major dates from 1850. It begins with a substantial and very beautiful Andantino introduction which leads to the main section, a lively, Allegro full of fetching melodies. The second movement is an attractive Mendelssohnian Scherzo which is followed by a languid Intermezzo, showcasing the tonal qualities of the various voices, especially those of the cello and viola. The exciting finale, Allegro vivace, bursts out of the starting gate full of energy. Gorgeous cantilena melodies provide excellent contrast.
Here is an early, first rate string sextet, presenting no technical difficulties, from the time of Schumann and Mendelssohn which not only has wonderful melodies but also has excellent part-writing, with solos for all of the voices. We are proud to make it available and warmly recommend it to both professionals and amateurs.