Wood Works: The Danish String Quartet
22 August 2014
Infodad.comFolk music’s influence on classical works is longstanding, but classical ensembles that actually perform folk music are far more unusual.
The Danish String Quartet’s new Dacapo release is therefore something of a rarity. There are 13 tracks here, three of them being the three parts of Ye Honest Bridal Couple/Sønderho Bridal Trilogy,
from Denmark’s Faroe Islands – the islands to which Carl Nielsen once took an imaginary journey about which he composed a rhapsody overture. The music here is far more straightforward than Nielsen’s 10-minute work, although the three parts combined last just about as long. Here the folk elements predominate and there is no attempt at tone-painting. Nor, indeed, is there anything especially “classical” in approach or intent in the 10 remaining pieces on the disc, of which four are from Denmark, three from Norway and three from Sweden. Many classical composers have been inspired by folk music
and have incorporated it into their works to a greater or lesser degree. But what the performers do here is simply arrange a variety of folk tunes for string quartet, not attempting to make them grander or more complex than they already are. This is therefore a straightforward presentation of some very listenable but scarcely compelling music – everything is very well played, and the quartet members seem to be enjoying themselves, but the music itself has little staying power and is largely inconsequential despite its manifest pleasantries.