Benny Anderssohn ● Piano

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Deutsche Grammophon 479 8143 (76:48)

I am quite an ABBA fan but had no idea of how fine a pianist Benny Anderssohn is. This is a beautiful 21-track album of songs he wrote mainly with his lyricist Bjőrn Ulvaeus but also solo.

There are, naturally, a number of the world storming Swedish pop group’s offerings, among them the opening Let The Music Speak;The Day Before You Came;I Wonder (Departure); My Love, My Life; Happy New Year, and the best known Thank You For the Music. There are then six songs from the musical ‘Chess’, which were written by the pair with our own Tim Rice – and on the evidence of this album rather underrated.

Benny evidently has a great love of Swedish folk music and there are two tracks Midnattsdans andFlickornas Rum, demonstrating how well suited his folk song compositions are to piano arrangements. Incidentally, Benny plays a Fazioli grand.

Other interesting works are Aldrig from ‘Kristina från Duvemåla’,a grand musical described in the booklet notes as “the crowning achievement of Benny’s musical output”, En Skrift I Snőn, written for the inauguration of the unique Studio Acousticum Organ in Piteå, Sweden, and Trőstevisa, a popular request at funerals.

This is an excellent album of simple original melodies (as Benny writes: “stripped of treatments and arrangements”) to play at any time of day but absolutely ideal for late night listening.

I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Peter Burt © 2018

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