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Dacapo - The National Music Anthology of Denmark

Format:  CD

Catalogue Number:  8.226549

Barcode:  636943654927

Release month:  May 2011

Period:  Late 20th Century


Ruders, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Eichberg: Distant Still - Trios for violin, horn and piano

01 October 2011  Gramophone
David Fanning

Of the three works here for the horn trio combination made classic by the masterpieces of Brahms and Ligeti (recorded some 10 years ago by the wonderful Danish Horn Trio - Chandos, 9/02), none appears overawed by the possible comparisons. Taken together, they offer a fascinating cross-section of the diversity of temperament among Danish composers.

Pride of place goes to the best-known figure of Poul Ruders. His Horn Trio dares to shadow the classic four-movement design, starting with a lengthy phase of rarefied Webernesque linearity, before a Bartókian perpetuum mobile and a horn solo with microtonal bendings (coloured by freely vibrating piano strings) provide polarized contrasts that the finale then juggles and re-balances. To those familiar with Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's work, the pared-down abstraction of Near Distant Still will come as no surprise. Here is music that derives maximum effect from minimal means in a non-glamorous yet fascinating dialect of minimalism.

More orientated towards conventional performative virtuosity and audience expectation is the Horn Trio of Søren Eichberg, a new figure to me. From moment to moment this highly engaging music in a polystylistic Messiaen-to-MacMillan way. On the broader level it satisfies less than the other two pieces, precisely because it seems unable to resist the urge to please. It is a talented piece nevertheless, and worth its place on a disc that is as finely recorded as it is played.



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