Vagn Holmboe: Chamber Music (I)
16 January 2012
performed by his Danish compatriots
fine string quartets cycle with the Kontra Quartet, Dacapo is evidently turning
its attention to the substantial body of Holmboe's remaining chamber music.
This first volume gives us five representative samples spanning more than 30
years, from the genial and somewhat Nielsenesque Primavera for flute with piano
trio of 1951 to the altogether grittier Gioco for string trio and Ballata for
piano quartet (1983 and 1984 respectively).
As with all
Holmboe's music, there are rewards in store for anyone who delights in
following lines of pure musical thought. Nothing is
gratuitous or extraneous; nor can the musical character ever be completely
taken for granted. In Primavera, the austere central slow movement touches
unexpected depths, while in the late works, hints of humour flash across the
spiky surfaces. In all such cases, Shostakovich comes to mind as a kindred
one might suspect that compositional resourcefulness has become the
be-all-and-end-all, at the expence of more urgent communicative values. The
Sonata for solo flute is no doubt a good workout for the player but remains a
rather arid experience for the listener. However, the Quartetto for flute and
string trio proves once again that musical conversation is Holmboe's strong
point, as it is for the excellent players on this cleanly recorded disc.