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Dacapo - Danmarks Nationale Musikantologi

Format:  CD

Katalognummer:  8.207001

Stregkode:  636943700112

Udgivelsesmåned:  Jun 2010

Periode:  Sent 20. århundrede


Vagn Holmboe: Samlede strygekvartetter

04 March 2011  Classics Today (9/9)
David Hurwitz

Vagn Holmboe was a natural quartet composer. This set contains all 20 of his numbered works in the genre, plus two other pieces. Holmboe's original source of inspiration for these pieces was Bartók--you can hear this clearly in the Third quartet, with its five-movement "arch" form (slow-fast-moderate-fast-slow)--but he quickly moved beyond more obviously symmetrical structures as he developed the metamorphosis technique of his later style. In general, the harmonic idiom is tonal, though often widely expanded, with rugged rhythms in quick movements characteristic of Holmboe's fundamentally neoclassical outlook. The late works, not surprisingly, become more complex but also more personal and concentrated. None of them lasts longer than about 25 minutes.


All of these performances were previously released by Dacapo on seven individual discs, and having them all together in a box is certainly convenient. The performances are uniformly excellent. The Kontra Quartet fully enters into the spirit of the music, offering vibrant rhythms and fine ensemble balances. The timbre of this group always has been a touch edgy compared to, say, the best Czech quartets (my personal touchstone), but it suits the music's pungency, and the players relax nicely into Holmboe's many moments of lyricism and tranquility. The engineering throughout is bold and clear. This important set belongs in the collection of anyone who cares about good 20th-century chamber music.

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