Wood Works: The Danish String Quartet
18 November 2014
Sometimes I will grab a disc off our to-be-reviewed list because it’s something I know and I want to hear a new recording and performance of the work. In this case, I grabbed Wood Works because I knew I wouldn’t have ever heard anything that is on the disc before, and that was merit enough.
Wood Works is a collection of Nordic folk tunes arranged for string quartet. The ‘wood’ referred to is the wood of the stringed instruments. This is a fine disc, with precise and upbeat performances. The music is clearly from the folk idiom, and yet put into this more formal classical setting the works are full bodied and very listenable. Of course nothing on the disc is familiar to me melodically, but no matter. These are passionate performances and melodies you will remember long after the disc has been put away.
The Danish String Quartet is continuing its upward climb and becoming more and more visible in musical circles. The quartet has been working as Ensemble-In-Residence for the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society in New York, it is also part of the BBC New Generation Programme in England.
This CD is likely to garner new fans. This is the second CD for the group, the first being a collection of music by Carl Nielsen. The 13 tracks are a cohesive program, and I won’t comment track-by-track, except to say each piece is played with precision and emotion. I thought a standout track is the emotional Waltz after Lasse in Lyby, which is exceedingly beautiful in performance by the Danes.
From an audio standpoint, the stereo tracks are miked from a midpoint in a fairly large recording space. There is plenty of ambiance in this stereo recording, yet the placement of instruments in space have a solid image. This is the kind of recording that would benefit from a high resolution transfer and mix, but the stereo CD is just fine.