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Dacapo - The National Music Anthology of Denmark

Format:  CD

Catalogue Number:  8.226523

Barcode:  636943652329

Release month:  Jan 2011

Period:  21st Century


Simon Steen-Andersen: Pretty Sound - Solo and chamber works

01 February 2011  David's Review Corner
David Denton

"In recent years the young Danish composer has made his name internationally with totally surprising ways of thinking and a great talent for transforming these ideas into original music". I quote from the sleeve note on my first encounter with Simon Steen-Andersen, though I would question whether anything on this disc is music-in the generally accepted use of that word-or whether ‘sounds' would be a more appropriate description. The sleeve explains that ‘the microphones are placed right up against the instruments so that all the small sounds and noises one normally tries to suppress take on a central role in the music'. The disc contains five ‘works', ‘pieces' or ‘experiments', whichever description you find most appropriate, and calls for a diverse group of performers from the ‘saxophone, cello and three players with megaphones' employed in the extended On And Off And To And Fro, to the solo piano for Pretty Sound (Up And Down) .The contents range from heavy sexy breathing to the more normal sounds of someone attacking the piano keyboard and its inner parts in Pretty Sound (Up And Down). Such ‘works' have become the accepted norm in today's contemporary scene that I often review, and poses questions as to where ‘music' is going. Don't knock it, as once upon a time people booed Stravinsky's music, but you have to be heavily committed to experimentation to enter Steen-Andersen's world, the final Study for String Instruments sounding as if an old LP is being quickly rotated backwards and forwards before eventually blowing the fuse. Listen, be pleased, annoyed or just purely inquisitive.

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