Vagn Holmboe: Solo and Chamber Works for Guitar
01 May 2013
Fruits of Holmboe's attraction to the guitar
Holmboe came late to the guitar but, as was the case with the accordion and recorder, once one piece was written more followed. He started in 1979 with a Sonata - other composers might have preferred to work up to that! - and wrote the Second immediately afterwards because he 'did not consider [one] enough'; the pair are liketwo sides of a coin, fully complementary yet presenting quite different aspects.
Maria Kämmerling recorded the sonatas, and the delightful Five Intermezzi (1981; with its infectious, Spanish finale), for the Paula label in the 1980s, interpretations that hold up well although Dacapo's sound has more presence. Sivebæk similarly penetrates beneath the surface of these works to their inner quiet - and, despite their surface activity, this music inhabits a world of deep, psychological peace - ceding nothing in nimbleness of finger to his rival.
Where Dacapo's disc scores especially over Paula's is in making available four further works - most written after Kämmerling's recording - taking up half the playing time of the whole CD. Parlare del piu e del meno ('To talk about this or that', 1988) is another five-movement (or six, depending on one's view of the compound-form Lento-Allegro finale) partita which, like the Intermezzi, might almost be another sonata. (Formal designations, like movement divisions, in late Holmboe are not always what they seem!) Three duos complete the programme, a rather fine Duo concertato (1986) with violin and a brace of previously unissued suites with recorder suffused with the Nordic sunlight that radiated through so much of his late output.
If you are searching - in terms of music and its presentation - for exemplary craftsmanship, subtlety of nuance and a profoundly satisfying experience, you need hear no further.