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Bo Holten   (Born 1948)

composer, conductor

Bo Holten (conductor) is equally recognized as a conductor and composer. In 1979 he founded Ars Nova Copenhagen which he conducted until 1996, when he founded the vocal ensemble Musica Ficta for whom he is conducter, composer and artistic director. Holten regularly conducts the best choirs in Europe; from 1990 to 2006 he was one of the principal conductors of the BBC Singers, and from 2008 to the end of 2010 he was the chief conductor of the Flemmish Radio Choir in Brussels.

Bo Holten's work with Danish orchestras is constantly on the increase and has earned him praise for recorded interpretations of music by Carl Nielsen, Frederick Delius, Thomas Koppel, Emil Hartmann, Knudåge Riisager and Emil Reesen. As a composer Holten has produced no fewer than six operas, five solo concertos, two symphonies, various orchestral and chamber works, film music and some 35 choral pieces. In 2002 Dacapo issued a CD with a selection of his music for voices a cappella sung by the BBC Singers. In the spring of 2009 Holten had a major success at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen with his opera The Visit of the Royal Physician, which he conducted himself, and which is available on DVD from Dacapo.

Live Dates

07/09/2012   Discreet orchestral virtuosos
We caught up with conductor Bo Holten for a short chat about his two new CD releases with music by Erik Norby and Poul Rovsing Olsen
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15/11/2011   Bo Holten anbefaler
Dirigent og komponist Bo Holten anbefaler tre Dacapo-CD'er, som han selv har lyttet ivrigt til.
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10/11/2011   10/10 for Riisager on Classics Today
Dacapo's new Riisager series gets top marks 10/10 on Classics Today.
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18/10/2011   New video: Riisager Symphonic Edition
Video trailer for Dacapo's new series featuring the world premiere recording of Riisager's complete symphonies
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10/10/2011   From the Gramophone blog: Send in the Danes
As Dacapo's new Knudåge Riisager cycle launches, Andrew Mellor surveys Danish music's long affair with the funny
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04/10/2010   DR P2 Prize 2010 – Danish Vocal Release of the Year
En håndfuld sjældent hørte Nielsen-kantater løb med P2 Prisen for Årets Vokaludgivelse 2010
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29/09/2010   DR P2 Prisen 2010

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09/09/2010   The Royal Physician hits in UK and the US
The DVD release of Bo Holten's opera gets top marks in the world's leading opera periodicals
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10/06/2010   Bent G. recommends
This spring Danish radio listeners have been able to hear a discreet gentleman called Bent G. every Sunday morning in the popular classical programme "Open House". We reveal his identity here, along with three of his Dacapo favourites
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08/04/2010   New videos: The Visit of the Royal Physician
View promotion trailer and artists' interviews from our spectacular new DVD production of Bo Holten's opera "The Visit of the Royal Physician"
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07/04/2014   Audiophile Audition

KNUDÅGE RIISAGER: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
4/5 Stars

"The Aarhus Orchestra, led by Bo Holten, is fully in control of these difficult works ... an excellent recording."
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25/02/2014   MusicWeb International

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
"Riisager might be said to have a very 19th-century 'sound', yet in fact the neo-Classical, even neo-Baroque, textures that characterise large sections of these scores hark back further still."
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25/02/2014   Classica

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
4/4 Stars

"Le label Dacapo a engagé un Orchestre symphonique d'Aarhus impliqué, aux pupitres remarquables, correctement stimulés par le chef et compositeur Bo Holten qui, d'année en année, accumule de fines performances."
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25/02/2014   MusicWeb International

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
"The performances by the Aarhus Orchestra, ably directed by Bo Holten, sound fine and enthusiastic."
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05/02/2014   Kristeligt Dagblad

KNUDÅGE RIISAGER: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
4/6 Stars

"Det er en væsentlig cd, der her er kommet på markedet."
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01/01/2014   Listen Magazine

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
"It's gratufying to come across an excellent piano concerto never heard before."
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13/10/2013   Expedition Audio

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
RECOMMENDATION: "I've spun this CD many times - these are substantial and intriguing works, given exceptional performances and captured in excellent sound."
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01/10/2013   International Record Review

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"The performances are very fine.", "The recording is excellent.", "Well worth your time."
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16/09/2013   Concertonet.com

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"Bo Holten brosse le portrait d’une personnalité musicale d’une grande diversité."
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01/09/2013   Gramophone

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"There is something about Riisager's habitual short-windedness that suggests an individual sensibility and invites one to persist.", "As usual with Dacapo, recording and documentation are exemplary."
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03/08/2013   Audiophile Audition

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"I enjoyed Volume 1 in this series; I really dig Volume 2. What’s next, Dacapo?"
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01/08/2013   Classics Today

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"Snappy, spirited, and full of energy. The Aarhus Symphony and Bo Holten capture the rhythmic ebullience of Riisager’s inspiration effortlessly." Artistic Quality: 9. Sound Quality: 9.
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10/07/2013   classicalmodernmusic.blogspot.dk

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"I am glad to have it and will continue listening with absorption."
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03/07/2013   Infodad.com

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"A chance to hear just how varied his productions could be.", "The Aarhus Symphony Orchestra under Bo Holten plays all the works idiomatically and with fine attention to detail".
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01/07/2013   WFMT (Chicago)

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"Highly original and imaginative."
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09/05/2013   Århus Stiftstidende

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"En oplevelsesrig lytning værd."
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06/05/2013   Klassisk

Bo Holten: Venus' Wheel
4/6 Stars

"Der er ikke mange nulevende komponister, der formår at arbejde med teksten med en sådan naturlig brillans."
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02/05/2013   MusicWeb International

Bo Holten: Venus' Wheel
"Original, inventive choral music by Bo Holten in splendid performances."
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01/05/2013   Gramophone

Bo Holten: Venus' Wheel
"Well worth exploring."
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01/05/2013   David's Review Corner

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
"As a disc of world premiere recordings, I much commend it."
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05/04/2013   GregersDH

Bo Holten: Venus' Wheel
5/5 Stars

"Den Reumert-vindende komponist til ’Livlægens besøg’ er på eksklusive stier i jagten på skønhed, vid og nye dybder."
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01/04/2013   Expedition Audio

Erik Norby: The Rainbow Snake - Orchestral Songs and Symphonic Works
RECOMMENDATION: "This is definitely one for the adventurer."
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21/03/2013   Gramophone

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
"Dacapo’s sound is excellent."
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19/03/2013   American Record Guide

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
"Exceptionally-well-played-and-recorded."
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19/03/2013   American Record Guide

Erik Norby: The Rainbow Snake - Orchestral Songs and Symphonic Works
"A find for serious listeners seeking a powerful voice.", "Performances are excellent."
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14/03/2013   MusicWeb International

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
"Christina Bjørkøe handles the wide changes of tempo and mood with great aplomb and subtlety."
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08/03/2013   Aarhus Stiftstidende

Bo Holten: Venus' Wheel
5/6 Stars

"Det Flamske Radiokor er professionelt til fingerspidserne, og de medvirkende solister fortrinlige."
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08/03/2013   Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten

Bo Holten: Venus' Wheel
4/6 Stars

"Med tilbageholdt attitude driver ømheden igennem værkerne og får Holtens kærlighedshjul til at snurre velgørende rundt i hovedet."
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26/02/2013   Fanfare

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
"All I can say is grab it, sit back, and close your eyes when listening: The music will do the rest."
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04/01/2013   OPUS

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
5/6 Stars

"... makalöst spel av Christina Bjørkøe ... en omistlig kulturgärning från Bo Holten och Dacapo".
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28/11/2012   Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten

Erik Norby: The Rainbow Snake - Orchestral Songs and Symphonic Works
4/6 Stars

"Bo Holten har skabt et album, der svøber lytteren i raffinerede og smukke orkesterklange."
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01/11/2012   Records International

Poul Rovsing Olsen: Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
"Clear-cut rhythms, expressive melodic lines and colorful tonal effects."
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29/02/2012   OPUS

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
5/6 Stars

"Helt oemotståndlig cd. Bo Holten och århusianerna är strålande, upptagningen utmärkt. Nog den viktigaste av Dacapos alla fina Riisager-utgåvor hittills"
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02/01/2012   Gramophone

Knud Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
"The Aarhus Symphony Orchestra acquits itself bravely under Bo Holten's firm direction and, as usual from this source, recording quality and documentation are first-rate"
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02/01/2012   International Record Review

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
"...very good fun, with occasional depths, and some roller-coaster handling of the orchestra. Worth your time"
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12/12/2011   MusicWeb International

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
"Playful, chivalrous, impulsive and ending in a grand symphonic glow ... a most impressive and sensitive portrayal of pastoral beauties."
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05/12/2011   American Record Guide

Bo Holten: The Visit of the Royal Physician
"The performance and production are beyond reproach. Camera work keeps the singers in almost constant close-ups, and their acting is compelling. So is their singing."
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28/11/2011   Klassisk

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
5/6 Stars

"Riisager blander respektløshed med kærlighed og viser sig dermed som den ægte arvtager fra Carl Nielsen."
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28/11/2011   Cinemusical (amerikansk blog)

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
4/4 Stars

"This first volume is easily recommended to the curious and those who appreciate the art of the 1920s."
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21/11/2011   Gramophone

Bo Holten: The Visit of the Royal Physician
"Holten has produced a serious, thought-provoking drama and as such it is not to be underestimated."
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10/11/2011   Classics Today (10/10)

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
"I can only welcome this release with great enthusiasm and high hopes for the series as a whole."
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01/09/2011   Fyens Stiftstidende

Knudåge Riisager: The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
4/6 Stars

"Et af Riisagers særkender var hans næsten eksperimenterende orkestrering ... Aarhus-symfonikerne viser det med tydelighed"
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04/10/2010   DR P2

DR P2 Prize 2010 – Danish Vocal Release of the Year

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06/09/2010   Opera News

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"All four works on this disc receive first-rate performances."
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02/09/2010   Opera Magazine

Bo Holten: The Visit of the Royal Physician
"The performances are admirable, without exception." DISC OF THE MONTH September 2010
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19/07/2010   Records International

Bo Holten: The Visit of the Royal Physician
"A compelling and emotionally gripping opera in the finest tradition of the genre."
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11/06/2010   Nordjyske Stiftstidende

Bo Holten: The Visit of the Royal Physician
5 Stars

"Man kan kun glæde sig over DVD'ens udsøgte kvalitet."
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07/05/2010   Klassisk

Bo Holten: The Visit of the Royal Physician
4 Stars

"Smukkere kærlighedshistorie skal man lede længe efter"
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18/04/2010   Dansk Musik Tidsskrift

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"Den entusiasme, der præger indspilningen, og den klingende tidsånd fra begyndelsen af det 20. århundrede berettiger fuldt ud udgivelsen."
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04/04/2010   Diapason

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas

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01/04/2010   Classics Today

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"All of the music here is well sung, played, and recorded"
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26/03/2010   Classical Lost and Found

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"The substantial combined forces (...) under conductor Bo Holten are perfectly suited to this celebratory music."
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09/03/2010   allmusic.com

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
4 Stars

"The performances led by Bo Holten are sincere, heartfelt, and determined."
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04/03/2010   OPUS

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
4½ Stars

"Framförandena är goda. Mathias Hedegaards tenor påminner om tenorlegenden (och lansmannen) Aksel Schiøtz."
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09/02/2010   Musicweb International

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"The pleasure is enhanced by some wonderfully well-rehearsed singing - burnished and superbly drilled."
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02/01/2010   Jyllands-Posten

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"Den er forfriskende dansk med folkehøjskolen på sidelinjen."
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31/10/2009   Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten

Carl Nielsen: Cantatas
"Bo Holten får alt ud af musikken"
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07/05/2007   Musicweb International

Emil Reesen: Orchestral Works
"The music heard here is superbly played in a warm acoustic and most enjoyable for all listeners. What a fine recording this is and how affectionately the individual works are handled by orchestra and Bo Holten alike."
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22/07/2005   Politiken

Knudåge Riisager: Ballet Music
4/6 Stars

”Holtens vitale og billedskabende fortolkning fremsuggererer så meget af eventyrets dynamik og trylleri, at man mener at kunne følge det i detaljer ... orkestret spiller stramt, veloplagt og farverigt"
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Photo: Agnete Schlichtkrull

Discography

The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3
Knudåge Riisager

CD 8.226148 (2014)

Riisager’s Fourth and Fifth Symphony and other orchestral works from the 1940s. Witty, provocative and scintillating neoclassicism

The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
The Symphonic Edition Vol. 2
Knudåge Riisager

CD 8.226147 (2013)

Riisager’s orchestral music from the 1920s and 1930s is a virtuosic jumble of moods. Festive, cheeky and enthusiastic about the future

Venus' Wheel - Works for Choir
Venus' Wheel - Works for Choir
Bo Holten

CD 8.226062 (2012)

New works by Bo Holten, one of the ablest choral composers and directors of our time, here fronting the Flemish Radio Choir

The Rainbow Snake - Orchestral Songs and Symphonic Works
The Rainbow Snake - Orchestral Songs and Symphonic Works
Erik Norby

CD 8.226096 (2012)

Orchestral magic in one of the most impressive orchestra pieces of the 1970s with sophisticated, almost Late Romantic sounds.

Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
Piano Concerto and Orchestral Works
Poul Rovsing Olsen

CD 8.226038 (2012)

Brilliant music from the 1950s by a composer with an unusually international outlook. A real discovery!

The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
The Symphonic Edition Vol. 1
Knudåge Riisager

CD 8.226146 (2011)

Hymn to the Sun - Works for a cappella choir
Hymn to the Sun - Works for a cappella choir
Holmboe, Bruun, Nørgård, Holten, Koppel, Jersild, Ruders

CD 8.226051 (2010)

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble in newer works by some of Denmark’s internationally renowned composers

The Visit of the Royal Physician (DVD)
The Visit of the Royal Physician (DVD)
Bo Holten

DVD 2.110408 (2010)

Bo Holten's new and greatly received opera on DVD recorded live from the Royal Opera in Copenhagen

Cantatas
Cantatas
Carl Nielsen

CD 8.226079 (2009)

First recordings of newly unveiled and festive works by the great Danish composer

Orkesterværker
Orkesterværker
Erik Bach

CD 8.226527 (2007)

Classics and popular culture join hands in the orchestral music of Erik Bach

Orchestral Works
Orchestral Works
Emil Reesen

CD 8.226031 (2007)

A Danish composer like no other: virtuosic, intriguing and bold

Orchestral Works
Orchestral Works
Emil Hartmann

CD 8.226041 (2006)

Fuldmoden nationalromantik i største målestok

Los Angeles Street Concerto - Petri plays Koppel
Los Angeles Street Concerto - Petri plays Koppel
Thomas Koppel

CD 8.226021 (2006)

The unique collaboration between the recorder virtuoso Michala Petri and the crossover composer Thom

Ballet Music
Ballet Music
Knudåge Riisager

CD 8.226022 (2005)

The Greenlandic orchestral explosion Qarrtsiluni and the masterpiece Moon Reindeer

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Bo Holten

CD 8.224214 (2004)

Virtuoso, ecstatic choral music by a master of the art

Madrigaler
Madrigaler
Mogens Pedersøn

CD 8.990101 (2002)

Madrigals
Madrigals
Mogens Pedersøn

CD 8.224219 (2002)

Denmark’s first international composer wrote his madrigals in 1608 as a pupil of Gabrieli

Medieval Music in Denmark
Medieval Music in Denmark

CD 8.224133 (1999)

Den rå lyd af Danmarks ældste musik fra 800-tallet til 1400-tallet

Winds and Voices II
Winds and Voices II
Music at the Danish Court Chapel in the 1540's

CD 8.224077 (1998)

Music from the Danish Court in the mid-1500s played from the original part-books

Winds and Voices. Music at the Court of King Christian III
Winds and Voices. Music at the Court of King Christian III
Music at the Court of King Christian III

CD 8.224029 (1995)


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