Saturday, June 20, 2015

Classical Music - May 2015

Beethoven
  • Violin Sonatas 6 to 8 (two versions of each)
  • String Quartets 7 to 9
  • Serenade for flute, violin and viola
Bentzon - Two pieces for oboe and piano
Brahms - Cello Sonata No.2
Chopin
  • Piano Concerto No.1
  • Krakowiak
  • Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Dvorak - The Water Goblin
Haydn - Symphonies 83, 88 and 96
Holmboe
  • Requiem for Nietzsche
  • Concertos 1 (for piano), 2 (for flute and violin), 4 (for piano trio), 5 (for viola), 7 (for oboe), 8 ("Sinfonia Concertante), 10 ("Wood-Brass-Gut") and 11 (for trumpet)
  • Brass Quintets 1 and 2
  • Piano Trio
  • Nuigen 
  • Moya (7 Japanese Songs)
  • Sange mod Vårdybet (Songs Towards the Deep of Spring)
  • Jeg ved en urt så dejlig og bold (I know a plant so lovely and fine)
  • Two Border Ballads (two versions of each)
  • Romanian Suite for piano
  • Sonatina Briosa
Langgaard
  • Lokkende toner (Enchanting music)
  • Sæterjenten (The dairy maid)
  • Høstfuglen (The harvest bird)
Nielsen - Two Fantasy Pieces for oboe and piano
Nielsen, T. - Fields and Meadows
Schierbeck - The Chinese Flute
Snider - Penelope
Syberg - Prelude, Intermezzo and Fugato for organ

My travels in April took me, among other places, to a major source of Holmboe discs. And you can see the results here in May. Every recording here was a first listen, although for some of the concertos I already have another recording.

The Requiem for Nietzsche demanded to be listed first because it is both a large-scale work (at just over 50 minutes, it's one of Holmboe's longest) and a very fine one. It's very "modern" sounding by Holmboe's standards, coming from a period in the 1960s when he was experimenting more. The choir often speaks rather than sings, in some places to stunning effect.

This time the Holmboe love spilled out to other Danish composers, as a number of the discs I bought were Danish anthologies rather than being devoted to his music. I finally acquired some (Carl) Nielsen - perhaps I will one day not mystify people by passing over Denmark's most widely celebrated composer. Of the material I listened to in May, however, the highlight was Poul Schierbeck's song cycle The Chinese Flute (or more properly Den kinesiske fløjte), really marvellous and evocative music that makes me interested in hearing more of this particular composer.

A few non-Danes did get a listen as well, guys you might have heard of such as Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Haydn and Dvorak, and Sarah Kirkland Snider again. Perhaps the most notable thing here was my 'official' introduction to Beethoven's "Razumovsky" string quartets. All of them are up to his exalted standards.

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