This album presents the world premiere recording of a unique new set of pieces by Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, written and dedicated to his GRAMMY®-winning playmates in the Kronos Quartet and Theatre of Voices with conductor Paul Hillier. Using a text from Henry VIII’s Songbook and taking musical inspiration from the old ‘ground’ technique and from a certain famous Baroque canon, Green Ground offers a kaleidoscopic trip through the enchanting world of PGH, offering independent layers of playful sounds for strings and voices and then merging them together to the accompaniment of wooden percussion instruments.
The concept of musical meetings – in Italian “incontri” – is a common denominator in the three orchestral pieces by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen on this CD, recorded in the presence of the composer by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Thomas Dausgaard. The fantastic hallucinogenic landscape of the title work, presented here in a live recording from the BBC Proms 2012, meets the pulsating irony of the two modern classics Symphony, Antiphony and Mirror II – all three works reflecting the composer’s lifelong fascination with the absurd.
The music of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen is at its most affecting when it is at its most absurd – like in the sinfonietta works on this recording by the composer’s longtime artistic accomplice Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen. The points of departure for the classically absurd PGH pieces on this album range from a red Skoda door, given to the composer by Athelas as a gift (Traffic), over randomly picked newspaper articles (Three Songs to Texts by Politiken) to general inspiration from Samuel Beckett (Repriser and Rerepriser) and Søren Kierkegaard (Og).
Even in its most expressive passages, the music of Peter Bruun (b. 1968) owns an innocence in tone that normally belongs to childhood; an innocence that is more common in folk music or pop songs, but one which Peter Bruun grafts on to chamber music by maintaining an intensity and energy of expression that few composers have at their disposal. This album presents four of Bruun’s most evocative chamber works in world premiere recordings by Danish Ensemble MidtVest.
The music of Ole Buck (b. 1945) is simple and beauty-seeking, sophisticated and surprising on its own terms. In some works he will make do with as few as five notes, but the composer’s incomparable sense of timing ensures that the listener never feels the need for more. This album presents premiere recordings of four of Buck’s works, of which three are inspired by nature: Fiori di ghiaccio (‘Ice Flowers’), A Tree and Flower Ornament Music – all recorded by Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen and conductor Jesper Nordin.
The Danish composer Gustav Helsted (1857-1924) was perceived by his contemporaries as modern and radical. As an advocate of the new, Late Romantic currents that he had encountered on his travels to Germany, France and Italy, he was described in his native Denmark as “...a questing artist who chooses his resources with extremely discerning taste, and who may therefore seem odd and unapproachable”. Today, however, Helsted’s music sounds both charming and accommodating with its strong Romantic expression, and despite the Continental inspiration it is clearly rooted in the Danish tradition and character. On this premiere recording The Danish Sinfonietta and David Riddell present Helsted’s symphonically conceived Decet feom 1891 and the dramatic string quintet in F minor, composed in c. 1917.
“I feel each of my symphonies is a whole continent in itself,” the Danish composer Per Nørgård (b. 1932) has said. His music stems from an insatiable urge to explore the phe no mena of the world and the possibilities of music, and his eight symphonies stand as milestones along the course of six decades. This recording with the Oslo Philharmonic conducted by John Storgårds presents Per Nørgård’s Second Symphony, in which the composer unfolds his famous ‘infinity principle’ euphorically and almost psychedelically, and his Sixth Symphony, in which the mature composer proves more exploratory and playful than ever.
Per Nørgård’s music originates in an inextinguishable desire to explore the marvels of the world and the powers of music. His eight symphonies stand as milestones, composed through six decades, each with its own unique musical world. This recording by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds presents two of Nørgård’s most dramatic works; the chaotic and troubled Symphony No. 4 inspired by the schizophrenic Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli, and the fearless Symphony No. 5, in which the composer seems to embrace violent forces of nature.
The office is closed until August 1. Throughout July until 1 August orders to be shipped can take longer for us to handle.
The Kronos Quartet have changed their European tour plans to give a special memorial and CD release concert at the Copenhagen Opera on 9 July, together with Theatre of Voices and Paul Hillier.
Gramophone Editor's Choice and four stars in the Guardian for our new Nørgård albums with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and John Storgårds!
Niels Rønsholdts song cycle "Me Quitte" will be released on Saturday 14 May during the SPOR Festival in Århus.
View the incredible story about the find of Paul von Klenau's grandiose 9th symphony from 1945
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