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Dacapo - Danmarks Nationale Musikantologi

Format:  CD

Katalognummer:  8.226175

Stregkode:  636943617526

Udgivelsesmåned:  Sep 2016

Periode:  21. århundrede

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SUNLEIF RASMUSSEN Symfoni nr. 2 The Earth Anew

30 September 2016  David’s Review Corner
David Denton

Born in the Faroe Islands, Sunleif Rasmussen was already fifty-four when he committed himself to write his Second Symphony subtitled ‘The Earth Anew’. Having spent some years working in the field of jazz, he was in his late twenties before he began serious compositional education, those studies soon resulting in his first symphony, Oceanic Days. It was to place him among the most promising Nordic composers of his time, and it was for a concert by the Helsinki Philharmonic to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sibelius’s birth, that he was offered the formidable task of composing a symphony to share the programme with Sibelius’s Kullervo tone-poem. 

For inspiration he turned to Old Norse folklore, and came up with the idea of a vocal symphony relating the legend of the ash, Yggdrasil. From that point I will have to leave you to read the disc’s programme notes, as the story would take up the remainder of this review. Suffice it to say that it is scored for soprano, baritone, chorus and large orchestra, and is shaped in a conventional four movements, the score as a whole falling within the orbit of accessible twentieth century Nordic music. Tonal colours are thickly daubed onto the musical canvass, often at length, the fourth movement unremittingly aggressive until peace is restored in the closing bars. For the soprano it is an exhausting score, often at the very top of her vocal range, the baritone having a much easier life, Bo Skovhus bringing a warmth to the music whenever he is allowed. For the Helsinki Philharmonic it was a test of stamina, as wave after wave of fortissimo writing is unleashed.

For the sound engineer it was no less a challenge, cataclysmic music accommodated in the most stunning sound, with due prominence given to the important timpani. At at the helm, and keeping everything together, the conductor, John Storgards, has enjoyed another major success. Finally, congratulations to Dacapo for making it all possible.



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