Gem of an album with Danish romances
A new release that comprises Danish violin romances, played by the Danish violinist Christina Åstrand, together with the Finnish Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. Many of the works have never been recorded before.
Christina Åstrand’s new album Romance, which is to be released on 20 November, is a personal selection of rarely heard works from the violin repertoire from the decades around the year 1900, a time when the violin had a star-time as the ‘singing’ instrument par excellence. The music has been recorded by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra and Christina Åstrand, with Jukka Iisakkila as the conductor.
Obsessed by the history of Danish music
Christina Åstrand, who has been active as concertmaster of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, soloist and chamber musician, has throughout her long professional career always placed great emphasis on performing and documenting Danish music. Originally, her wish was to understand all kinds of music by delving deep into the music that has been written in our own latitudes and thereby to place all of it in a historical context. Over time, her interest has developed into a genuine love of and respect for Danish music in particular – as well as surprise at the fact that such music is not played nearly as often as she feels it deserves.
“I have always had an urge to understand the world, understand music, understand history as seen from my own musical and graphical standpoint. At The Royal Library there is a comprehensive collection of Danish music and I have gradually managed to play most of what exists there for my own instrument. Everything from Kuhlau to living composers. What started out as a curiosity to see what might be hidden there has almost become an obsession! A sort of life’s work for me”, Christina Åstrand tells.
Gems that are given a new lease of life
Romance is an extremely personal release for Christina Åstrand. For a number of years she has delved deep into the archives at The Royal Library and in the DR archives of musical scores in search of unknown and rarely performed works, and while doing so she has, among other things, discovered works by Danish composers who, in the spirits of the time around the turn of the 20th century, allowed the violin to take over musical genres that had previously belonged to the human voice, including the romance, berceuse (lullaby) and barcarole (gondola song) – violin genres that have since been consigned to oblivion.
Christina Åstrand called the recoding her ‘gem of an album’: “The pieces have lain forgotten and lost their lustre. Like gems when touched by human hand, they are now given a new lease of life.”
The new release includes first recordings of romances by Carl Nielsen, August Enna and Louis Glass.
The Corona Age has led to introspection
At a time when musical life has been hard hit by corona restrictions and limited possibilities for holding concerts, the new release is a way of continuing to present new music and of providing people with musical experiences. And the Danish sound produces resonances in such a time, Christina Åstrand remarks:
“Here in the “corona year” 2020, it suddenly feels more important than ever to turn inwards and consider own our rich legacy. Both in nature and art. I can sense a general curiosity and joy about our own country and hope that I can contribute further by means of this release which contains works of some of the best-known Danish composers of the Golden Age.”
Listen to the works played in DR Koncertsalen and on P2
On 22 November at 11am, Christina Åstrand will be playing a selection of romances together with the pianist Per Salo at a concert in DR Koncertsalen which is also being broadcast live on P2. The two musicians make up one of Denmark’s leading chamber ensembles, Duo Åstrand/Salo, and at the concert they are presenting works by August Enna, Niels W. Gade, Carl Nielsen and Ludolf Nielsen – all of them works that can also be heard on the new release.