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Dacapo - Danmarks Nationale Musikantologi

Format:  CD

Katalognummer:  8.226147

Stregkode:  636943614723

Udgivelsesmåned:  Apr 2013



Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2

01 May 2013  David's Review Corner
Davis Denton

Though Knudage Riisager spent much of his life as an important Danish civil servant, he had been a composition pupil of Albert Roussel in Paris in the 1920s. In his spare time he became a music journalist and a busy composer over a wide range of music. Maybe because his career was not solely in music, he remained a very enigmatic composer, and from my own limited experience, you certainly never know what to expect. Relying on the detailed notes with the disc, I learn that he wrote two symphonies, though, with the thought that the title 'symphony' was obsolete, he described the Third as a 'Sinfonia'. The Second, dating from 1927, lasts around fifteen minutes, and is in one movement divided into several varying moods, its content tonal and with its feet in the symphonies of the late 19th century. If that work is readily accessible, the Third, from eight years later, is largely atonal, and though seemingly wanting to join mainstream 20th-century compositions, it never quite understands how to get there. The result is a patchwork score that eventually arrives at a happy finale. Four years earlier came the Concerto for Orchestra, not a score that exhibits the virtuosity of the orchestra in the way that Bartok achieved, but is still often an exciting four-movement piece. Just to show he could compose in a purely commercial environment, the concert overture, Primavera, is a thoroughly attractive score that makes an ideal entry point into his world, while the T-DOXC -taking its name from a Japanese aeroplane type-is full of unusual sounds. What does sell the disc is the totally committed playing of the Aarhus Symphony with Bo Holten conducting. I don't know how well they knew the works before the recording sessions, but it sounds as if they are part of their standard repertoire. The recording is reliable and as a disc of world premiere recordings, I much commend it.

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