New album with wind quintets by the colourful multitalent of Danish music life, Niels Viggo Bentzon
On 13 May a new album will be released, presenting wind works by Niels Viggo Bentzon performed by the Carl Nielsen Quintet.
Niels Viggo Bentzon (1919-2000) must be said to be one of the most important and colourful figures in twentieth-century Danish musical history, as both a pianist, writer and composer of almost 1,000 works. Now the young Carl Nielsen Quintet has turned its attention to Bentzon's five known wind quintets, including four works that has never been recorded before, on a new album which will be released on 13 May.
An unusual and colourful figure
Niels Viggo Bentzon enjoys the status of a kind of cultural phenomenon in Danish cultural life because of his many interests and talents: he was a teacher, wrote books on music, reviews and fiction, participated in happenings, flirted with the fluxus movement and was an excellent pianist and improviser.
His activities as a composer extended over more than sixty years. He had no fear in tackling the greatest music forms, and produced an unceasing stream of symphonies, instrumental concertos, operas, ballets and chamber music.
Through the decades, Bentzon experimented with both serialism, neoclassicism, New Simplicity, postmodernism and sound collages, but his personal Bentzonesque expression always remained stronger than the –isms he flirted with. His music bears witness to the inspiration from the contemporary scene which he openly debated, but also ignored when necessary.
Great ingenuity and distinctive virtuosity
The new album presents five works for wind quintet by Bentzon, including four world premiere recordings, composed in the early years from 1943 to 1958. Prior to the recording, the Carl Nielsen Quintet has worked with Bentzon's hand-written scores which has been dug out and restored.
The new album includes his Variations for Wind Quintet, Op. 21, which explore a series of ‘moods’, where the five wind players in turn are challenged in terms of virtuosity while also being asked to ‘show off’ various faces and grimaces. Bentzon's big interest in jazz can be heard in his Bop Quintet, as a stylistic mask and an almost cliché like charachter.
His Wind Quintets Nos. 3-5 are beautifully crafted, filled with contrasts and with an unmistakable tonal language witnessing the inspiration from both Carl Nielsen, Jacques Ibert and Darius Milhaud.
The Carl Nielsen Quintet
The Carl Nielsen Quintet was formed in 2006 and has since given countless concerts both at home and abroad. All the members of The Carl Nielsen Quintet studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Today the members of the quintet have positions in Danish and Swedish symphony orchestras alongside their career in The Carl Nielsen Quintet.
The quintet consists of solo flautist in Malmö Opera Orchestra, Kenny Staškus Larsen; contract employed solo oboist in the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Carl Julius Lefebvre Hansen; solo clarinettist in Copenhagen Phil, August Finkas; hornist in Copenhagen Phil, Christian Vinther and alternating solo bassoonist in the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Herjö.